If ever a team needed a big win it was the Quince Orchard boys’ basketball team on Monday night. Sitting with a 9-9 record and coming off a disappointing loss last Friday against Springbrook, the players and their coach were unhappy and looking for something positive to build on.
Enter a Seneca Valley team that had lost 11 of its last 13 games and was missing two of its starters, and unfortunately for the Screaming Eagles but good for the Cougars, they seemed to be just the cure for QO’s confidence.
QO won, 71-41, raising their record to 10-9 and keeping them in position to secure a seeding in the upcoming playoffs.
“We needed this win,” said senior forward Nate Dorsey, “because we were down a little bit on ourselves. But we got back up … for this game.”
It didn’t start easy. QO, as has been their habit, came out slowly in the first quarter and fell behind. But they exploded in the second quarter for 26 points to take a 35-25 lead into the halftime locker room.
“Again we came out lethargic,” coach Paul Foringer said after the game. “And then—thank goodness the bench goes in and plays with some intensity and gets us going.”
Foringer praised junior guard Noah Adnan, who came off the bench to score seven points in the second quarter to spark the Cougars.
“When Noah goes in everything settles down,” said Foringer. “The kids just really like when he’s on the court. He communicates well, does a lot of things well. So having him come in off the bench is a bonus.” QO continued its run in the third period behind eight points from Dorsey, combining it with stifling defense to outscore Seneca 22-4 and open a 57-29 lead.
Dorsey led the Cougars with 15 points, Adnan had 11, and junior Brian Ropelewski came off the bench for 10.
“It was an overall team win, everybody did their thing, everybody contributed and that’s what we love to see,” said Dorsey.
Against a tough Springbrook squad on Friday, the boys fell behind 14-3 in the first quarter until a three-pointer by Adnan near the end cut the gap to eight. They continued pecking away in the second period behind Adnan and senior Johnny Hodges’s tenacious rebounding against taller opponents, and were down only 27-22 at the half.
The Cougars clawed away in the third, parlaying their trapping defense into turnovers, and a steal and a layup by sophomore guard Drew Parisotto gave them a 31-29 lead with 5:24 left.
But then the young Cougars stalled, seemingly trying to force plays that weren’t there, resulting in missed shots or turnovers. They fell behind 43-39 at the end of the third and watched Springbrook’s size and speed take over and pull away in the fourth.
“We were playing steady,” QO coach Paul Foringer said. “We weren’t turning the ball over, and then in the fourth quarter we started doing our own little thing there,” he said of ill-advised shots and other breakdowns on both sides of the court. “We can’t afford to do those things. Some of the shots we took were not shots that we wanted. Defensively we allowed them to get to the middle.”
The Cougars were without sophomore guard Andy Wexler, their leading rebounder and scorer, against Springbrook, further hampering them against the 11-7 team.
“I kind of thought it would be a complete blowout” without Wexler, Foringer said. “I’m very pleased about the first three quarters … (but) I kind of thought we needed some kids to step up.”
QO is in position for a third-place seeding in the playoffs that begin on March 1, which would give them a first-round bye and home court in the second round. They need victories this week at Kennedy and Watkins Mill to get there.
“Those are going to be two important games to win,” Foringer said. “I told the kids, ‘you got to win these games this week so you can make sure we have a home game in the playoffs.’”
Dorsey thinks he and his teammates can capitalize on their success against Seneca. “We just take this momentum and we run with it all the way to the playoffs and see how far we can go.”