Even After Last Season's Postseason Run, Seneca Valley Still Likes Underdog Status
Coming off of a one-win season in 2013-2014, last year’s 12-5 Seneca Valley team was the surprise team representing Montgomery County in the Regional Finals against Linganore in March. A young team returning most of their starters, should be considered a target, but second-year head coach Brian Humphries disagrees.
“We will be considered underdogs in our first several games of the season with our difficult schedule this year, so the underdog tag still works for us,” said Humphrey. “And we like our guys to play with a chip on their shoulder.”
Indeed, Seneca opens the season against some of the best team in the County last season. They open on the road against Bethesda-Chevy Chase, who finished the year 20-5, host three games against; Springbrook who ended the 2014-2015 campaign at 19-4; followed by 12-12 Sherwood, 9-13 Rockville. Seneca is back on the road for 14-10 Wheaton.
“Our schedule this year is very difficult,” according to Humphrey, “but we teach our guys to focus on what they can control, which is the next game on the schedule. The most important thing is that we continue to improve throughout the season, so we are playing our best heading into playoffs.”
The second half of the schedule sees the Screaming Eagles playing local rivals more than last year, including Northwest and Damascus. “The local rivalries are always fun for the fans,” said Humphrey. “But, I also coached at Damascus for eight seasons, so that is always a big game for me as well.”
Seneca Valley will return just three starters from last year’s playoff team. The Eagles lost Djuan Smith to graduation, and junior Will Craig moved out of state over the summer. Humphrey says last year’s taste of post-season success has left this team wanting more.
“The returning players we do have are hungry for success, and work really hard in practice,” said Humphrey. “Brandon Simpson, Quentin Twyman, and Triston Price all have the ability to score in double figures. Most importantly, however, we would like to see them set the tone early in the season, especially on the defensive side of the floor.”
Humphrey is looking to senior center Terry Millburne to become a force in the paint. “Dejaun Smith was our main ball-handler last year,” said Humphery, “so that will certainly be different this season. However, our main philosophy will not change. We want to play great team defense, and move the ball offensively to get the best shot possible.” Senior guard Andrew Dantzler will need to carry more of the ball handling responsibilities last year. Both of those Millburne and Dantzler saw significant minutes last season.
Seneca Valley begins their season tonight on the road versus Bethesda-Chevy Chase at 7:15 pm.
Top: Seneca Valley’s senior guard Deonte Nelson (1) was an important part of last year’s team that made a deep run into the postseason.
Next: Quentin Twyman (10), who will wear number 11 this season, will be called upon to deliver more double-doubles if Seneca Valley hopes to return to the regional finals game.
Next: Junior guard Kareem Matthew (4) is among the returning underclassman who saw playoff playing time last season.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.