Riding a four-game winning streak, the Screaming Eagles made the trip up the hill to play rival Damascus for the second time this season. Seneca defeated the Hornets 77-44 to improve their overall record to 14-4. Seneca Valley’s balanced approach has been pivotal during the two-week long win streak.
With a sixth straight win on Friday, the Eagles will complete the Upcounty sweep, defeating all of their closest neighbors, within a two-week span of time. The streak began with an emotional 70-58 home win over Clarksburg, they then hosted cross-town rivals Northwest and came away 70-49 winners. Seneca went on to defeat Watkins Mill on the road 61-44 and earned a strong road win over Gaithersburg 81-74 on Monday night. One day later, the Eagles were on the road for last night’s win at Damascus.
The Screaming Eagles have won 10 of the last 11 games dating back to December 29, 2015. Their one loss in 2016 came to 15-2 Quince Orchard fresh off an unplanned week of vacation due to the blizzard and reeling from the news about the sudden death of Coach Brian Humphrey’s father. Seneca was out of practice, and clearly out of sorts during that 60-43 loss to Quince Orchard.
“We have played pretty well over the last two weeks,” admitted Coach Humphrey after Tuesday’s win, “but we will continue to take it one at a time. The guys are really coming together. It starts on defense. We are moving the ball around offensively and really playing as a team. ”
During this five-game win streak, the Eagles defense has held opponents to an average of 54 points, while offensively, the Seneca has been able to post an average of 71 points per game.
The win over Northwest was satisfying for the Seneca Valley faithful, as Seneca has now beaten Northwest twice in basketball and once in football in the 2015-2016 school year.
After the Northwest game, Humphrey said that the Eagles team defense is the secret sauce which is allowing the Eagles to continue to win. “Team defense stood out for us tonight,” said Humphrey last Wednesday after the Northwest game. “I thought Terry Milburne did an excellent job rebounding especially on defense,” said Humphrey of Milburne’s efforts against Northwest.
“Terry has really improved from the beginning of the season until now,” said Humphrey. “He is really good defensively. He knows how to be in help and he knows how to deny. For his size, he is able to keep the dribbler outside of the three-point line and guard players on the perimeter better than a lot of post players. That allows us to do different things defensively.”
One of the things that Humphrey preaches to his team is the need for balanced team wins. While senior Quentin Twyman and junior Brandon Simpson have the ability to dominate games, and both have done so this season for Seneca, each player on the team has made contributions during this five-game run.
Sophomore Triston Price had 30 points against a 13-5 Gaithersburg team that held a talented 12-6 Clarksburg team to just 42 points last Friday night.
Because the Milburne and Eagles are taking care to do the little things on defense, Seneca Valley is putting teams away early in games and allowing significant minutes for bench players. Every player on the roster scored in last night’s win at Damascus, and there have been multiple times this season when all but one dressed player gets on the scoresheet. Humphrey’s preaches balanced team wins, and the Eagles believe.
Last night versus Damascus, the Eagles had three players in double-digits Twyman led Seneca with 20 points, followed by juniors Brandon Simpson with 15 points and Kareem Matthew with 14 points. Mathew is a guy that has played his way into a starting role for the Eagles. “Kareem is another player that has improved tremendously,” said Humphrey. “Early in the season he would come off the bench for us, but he played so well that we had to start him. He is great with the ball and makes really good decisions.”
The Screaming Eagles have four regular season games left before the post-season begins. They will host another neighboring school in 5-11 Poolesville on Friday. Next week will be a big test for the Eagles as they will travel to face 14-4 Blake Bengals on Tuesday, Feb. 16, followed by a home game against 11-7 Magruder next Friday. They will finish up the regular season on the road at 5-13 Walter Johnson on Monday, Feb. 22.
Top: Seneca Valley junior Brandon Simpson (3) with the finger roll for one of his 15 points in Tuesday night’s victory over Damascus.
Next: Senior Quentin Twyman (11) has been a big contributor to the team’s recent five-game win streak. He finished with 20 points versus Damascus.
Next: Seneca’s junior Tryan Crawford (5) drives to the hoop while being defended by Damascus’ Doug Gibson.
Next: Seneca Valley’s junior Kareem Mathew (4) has earned a starting spot this season after coming off the bench and contributing to the team’s success.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.