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Fourth Quarter Comeback Clinches Division Title For Seneca Valley

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By Kevin O’Rourke

At halftime of Tuesday night’s basketball game between Seneca Valley and Damascus, it did not look good for the Seneca Valley boys team. They were down 27-19 and struggling to put the ball in the hoop from long range.

Seneca Valley came into the Damascus gym with a target on their backs. The Screamin’ Eagles have been soaring of late. They were riding a five-game win-streak with back-to-back-back victories over Einstein, Rockville and Wheaton. One might assume that they 10-6 Eagles were due for a break down.

However, a 25-point fourth-quarter performance brought Seneca back. The fourth quarter saw Seneca Valley eat away at the six-point lead that Damascus held to start the quarter. As the quarter rolled on, Seneca Valley would cut the lead to four or three and the Hornets would manage to pull away again.

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“I thought we were allowing them to dictate the game,” said Seneca Valley Head Coach Brian Humphrey of his team’s play in the first half. “(Damascus) was running a little box and one. We were taking soft shots, long jumpers and runners. I talked to my guys about some alignment things and where to be and to attack the basket. If are attacking the basket, we are a much better team than when we are settling for shots.”

Damascus led by six points, 56-50, with 1:30 remaining in the fourth, when Seneca Valley’s Humphrey called a time-out. Seneca Valley came out of the time-out and sophomore guard Kareem Mathew attacked the basket for a layup which narrowed the lead to four, 56-52.

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On the next trip, Damascus’s Matthew Torrence would get fouled by Seneca’s freshman guard Triston Price. Torrence, who finished the game with nine points, would make only the back-end of the two foul shots, but extended the lead 57-52.

Seneca Valley’s Dejaun Smith would sink a three-point jumper from the top of the key. They would be the junior point guard’s only points of the game but they would be huge and cut the lead to just two, with :52 seconds remaining.

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The game would be tied after Seneca Valley’s Quenton Twyman, who had 13 of his 20 points in the last stanza, put back a rebound with :43 seconds to go.

The Eagles would foul down the stretch. Kareem Mathew put the Hornet’s Duane Davis on the line, but he was only able to convert one of the two shots. Damascus would the lead back 58-57 with just :32.6 seconds remaining.

Seneca Valley’s next possession would kill 23 seconds, as Price dribbled in and dished to Twyman under the basket. Twyman would dribble out to the left and throw a long dangerous pass across court. The pass would be corralled by sophomore Brandon Simpson.