Just like the previous two meetings this season, Monday night’s second round playoff match-up between the 20-2 Quince Orchard Cougars and the 15-8 Clarksburg Coyotes came right down to the wire, with the outcome in question right up to very last second.
The packed house at the Quince Orchard gym watched both teams trade proverbial punches all game long in the rubber-match of the season series. The Coyotes won the first meeting by three points, 59-56, back on Jan 21, but Quince Orchard avenged loss with a 63-61 overtime victory on Feb. 17.
Clarksburg took a 7-6 lead into the first-quarter break, as these teams who know each other well played staunch defense and looked for weakness in their opponent. The Coyotes were able to extend the lead to four going into halftime, 23-19, thanks in part to an Ian Krishnan three-pointer in the second quarter. The junior would finish with eight points.
After the break, it was Quince Orchard who came out firing and put up 16 points in the third quarter, while holding Clarksburg to just 11 points. The Cougars took the lead 35-34 on a three-point shot from Jack Farone in the final seconds of the third quarter. It was Farone’s second three-ball of the quarter. He would finish with 13 points, nine from beyond the three-point arc.
As the game came down the stretch, with under four minutes remaining and Clarksburg down by two, senior Andrew Kostecka stepped to the free-throw line and drilled both ends of a 1-and-1 to tie the game at 44 with 3:07 to play.
Kostecka would get fouled again, and again hit both shots to give the Coyotes the lead 46-44. Clarksburg would get a big defensive stop, and Jeff McInnis would miss a dunk opportunity. The rebound would fall to Clarksburg’s Dallas Marshall who would extend the lead to 48-44 with a reverse layup.
Quince Orchard’s Damon Daniel would get fouled and convert just one free throw to cut the lead to 48-45. This time, the Cougars would get a defensive stop and on the next possession, QO’s Daniel Dorsey would bring the Cougars within one with a field goal, to make it 48-47 with 1:15 remaining.
The Coyotes would extend the lead as Jeff McInnis worked open and hit a field goal giving Clarksburg a 50-47 lead with :12 seconds to play. Clarksburg would get another stop, and Quince Orchard would foul McInnis. The junior would hit the front end of a one-and-one to extend the lead to 51-47 with under 10 seconds to play.
However, Quince Orchard was not done. Matthew Kelly drained a three-point to bring the Cougars back to within a point, 51-50 with just :03 seconds remaining. Again QO would foul McInnis, who would again hit the front-end of a one-and-one to extend the lead to 52-50. As time ran out, the Cougars threw up a desperation shot from well beyond half-court that had a chance to win the game for QO but rang off the rim and out.
The loss is just the third suffered by Quince Orchard this season, the second at the hands of Clarksburg. The Cougars, who were led by Matthew Kelly’s 14 points, finish a tremendous season with a record of 20-3.
The now 16-8 Coyotes will live to play another day and that day is Wednesday as they will travel to play 18-6 Gaithersburg, who defeated Kennedy 66-63 on Monday night. The Trojans have swept the Coyotes in two games this season, winning 65-57 at Clarksburg back on Jan 12, and 71-64 in Gaithersburg on Feb. 5.
Top: Clarksburg senior Andrew Kostecka (14) leaps for a rebound during Monday’s 52-50 victory over Quince Orchard. Kostecka would lead all scorers with 17 points, shooting six for seven from the free-throw line.
Next: Michael Winterburn (4) controls the basketball during Monday’s victory.
Next: Clarksburg junior Dallas Marshall (32) dribble penetrates while being defended by Quince Orchard’s Matthew Kelly (4).
Next: Clarksburg’s Andrew Kostecka and Michael Winterburn hug in celebration after the victory. The Coyotes will play Gaithersburg on Wednesday.
Photos by Mark Poetker for Germantown Pulse.