For the QO boys’ basketball team this season, their challenge is clear: They’ve got to find some firepower. The Cougars are now 1-2 after losing a low-scoring 42-38 tussle in overtime to Rockville Friday night, Dec. 13, at the Cougar Den.
Down by 5 at the start of the fourth quarter, QO held Rockville scoreless for the first six-and-half minutes of the final frame and scored 12 unanswered points to open a 36-29 lead. But Rockville fought back to tie at 37, helped by three free throws on a late foul call on a missed three-pointer. In overtime, Rockville outscored the Cougars 5-1 as QO missed some open shots.
“We need to shoot the ball better,” said QO Coach Paul Foringer after the Rockville game. “We had opportunities, we had layups, we had all sorts of things that we can’t make. … We have to make the easy shots, because the hard shots are going to be hard for us.”
QO’s most reliable inside and outside scorer so far has been senior Jake Seiniger. But Seiniger could only muster six points against Rockville. Matt Shirvani led QO with 7. “Some of these other kids are going to have to score because Jake can’t carry the load every night,” Foringer said.
Earlier in the week, QO lost 60-50 to a tough, undefeated Blake squad. Seiniger was the only Cougar in double figures with 11. The previous Friday night, QO opened their season at home with a 54-43 victory over Seneca Valley. Seiniger tallied 18 points that included two three-pointers, and Tobin Pagley scored 12, half of them on free throws.
Help for QO’s scoring may depend on the continued development of their young point guards, Damon Daniel, a sophomore transfer from Paint Branch, and freshman Johnny Feirstein. Daniel is averaging 6 points per game and Feirstein, after a scoreless opener, has notched 9 and 6 points and dished to teammates for open shots, many of which have been missed.
Foringer said he likes the team’s defense, particularly their willingness to take charges. “We hustle, we fight for things, we get after it. … The kids understand that we’re not big, we’re not stronger than most of the teams that we play, we have to give up our body and make them run us over. … Our kids love that.” He goes on to caution, “if you can’t score, you can’t win.”
The QO girls are also 1-2 after beating Rockville on the road on Friday, Dec. 13, 40-36, for their first win. They were down by as many as 13 in the first half but held Rockville to two points in the fourth quarter and came back to win. “We played a dreadful first half,” said Coach Ken Buffum. Seniors Brittany Beckwith and Babette Sanmartin led the Lady Cougars in scoring, as they have all season. (Sanmartin scored 11 points, and Beckwith added 10.)
The girls lost a tough 54-52 overtime game to Blake earlier in the week, and opened their season the previous Friday falling to Seneca Valley, 74-46. Beckwith scored 16 and 20 points in the first two games and Sanmartin added 12 and 16. They are being helped by Jasmine Chang, who Buffum said “is doing a nice job running point guard for us.”
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Buffum. “We need to tighten things up defensively. With my coaching style, I try to force the other team to turn the ball over, and we haven’t been doing that very well. We also need to move the ball around better offensively.”