Both the boys’ and the girls’ Quince Orchard basketball teams seem to be on similar tracks this season. They play good defense, work hard and are usually in games. But mistakes down the stretch and difficulty scoring plague them in close games, and wins have been hard to get.
Last Friday night, the boys ended a six-game losing streak, beating Wootton at the Cougar Den, 57-41, and lifting their record to 5-11. It was QO’s second win over Wootton this season.
“The pattern with our team is play tough defense and hope to get some scoring,” said Coach Paul Foringer. “The five wins this year have only happened when we have two players in double figures.” On Friday, the Cougars’ leading scorer, senior Jake Seiniger, had 24 points and sophomore Damon Daniel had 12. “If we can continue to get that kind of scoring from at least two players, we should be hard to beat,” Foringer said.
Earlier in the week, the boys lost a tough one to a 12-win Clarksburg team. The Cougars had two chances to tie in the closing seconds, but an offensive foul and a missed layup at the buzzer ended their hopes and Clarksburg escaped QO with a 42-40 win. Seiniger was the leading scorer with 9.
“Same game, different day,” Foringer said, referring to the number of close-but-not quite games QO has lost this season. Foringer cited a revealing statistic. Through QO’s first 14 games, they took 178 more shots than their opponents, but their opponents made two more shots than QO. “Our opponents are being held to 51 points per game,” Foringer said, praising his team’s defense, but bemoaning their lack of scoring. “Got to have somebody put the ball in the basket,” he said.
Lady Cougars Coach Ken Buffum could say pretty much the same about his squad, and has. Two weeks ago, the girls ended a 10-game losing streak by defeating Northwest on the road, 46-30. But last week they were unable to build on their success, dropping close games at home to Clarksburg and Wootton and their record to 2-14.
Playing against Clarksburg without second leading scorer Babette Sanmartin, who was ill, the girls jumped out to an early 6-1 lead by pounding the ball inside to leading scorer Brittany Beckwith. But Clarksburg clamped down and forced turnovers, and led 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
QO fought the rest of the game to narrow the score and got to 37-34 with 5 minutes left when point guard Jasmine Chang hit one of two free throws. But their offense stalled and Clarksburg pulled away for the 48-41 win.
“We had opportunities,” Buffum said. “When we need shots, we can’t hit shots. But give them credit. They keep on fighting. They do what they’re told to do.” Beckwith, one of the area’s leading scorers, finished with 21 points while Chang had 12.
Sanmartin returned to the lineup against Wootton on Friday, but her 9 points weren’t enough to keep Wootton from winning, 55-50. “The girls played a great first half,” said Buffum. “That first 16 minutes was probably the best I have seen them play all year,” and they went into the locker room leading, 27-26.
But, as has happened several times this season, “we had our typical letdown after half-time. … I think fatigue has a lot to do with it. Obviously, we really rely on Brittany (19 points) and Babette, and when I ask them to play 28 minutes a game, that is tough to do. Jasmine (12 points) is also playing well and is finding her groove.”
Beckwith said, “Hopefully, we’ll just put all of our pieces together and pull it through toward the end” of the season.