The Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles entered Monday night’s second round 3A West playoff match up against Westminster Senior High School riding a nine-game win streak. The Eagles were rested after earning a first-round bye in the regional tournament. Seneca Valley defeated Westminster 54-48, thanks to third-quarter point production from junior Brandon Simpson and senior Quentin Twyman.
The 8-11 Westminster Owls earned the 32 mile/51 minute trip from Carroll County to Germantown after defeating Damascus 42-38 last Friday night in the opening round of the playoffs. The Owls brought their A-game to Seneca Valley and stymied the Eagles in the early going with hard-nosed defense and opportunistic shooting.
Seneca came out shooting the long ball but with only sporadic success. The Eagles took a very early lead, but the Westminster was able to knuckle-down and hold Seneca’s offense to just 10 points in the first quarter. The Owls led 11-10 after the first quarter.
The Westminster defense clamped down in the second quarter and only allowed Seneca Valley to score eight points. Seneca scored just two field goals, including a three-pointer from Tyran Crawford, in the second quarter.
“They had a real good game plan and kind of sagged everything off,” said Seneca Valley Head Coach Brian Humphrey. “We forced some shots early in the game, and we missed a couple right at the basket. We held them to 22 points in the first half, but scoring only 18 is not something that we want.”
The Eagles came alive in the third as they were able to get senior big-man Quentin Twyman more involved in the office. Twyman had eight of his 11 points in the third quarter. Twyman combined with junior Brandon Simpson, who led all scorers with 23 points, to stake Seneca Valley with an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Simpson hit two three-pointers from the left corner to help the Eagles get control of the game.
“We just told Quentin to continue to be aggressive and run to spots in our primary break so he could look to be more aggressive,” said Humphrey.
“We have a couple of guys who have been our leading scorer throughout the year,” said Humphrey. “And when one isn’t on his game, it is excellent when another can step up. Brandon did an excellent job scoring tonight. He continued to be aggressive and attack the basket. He had two big back-to-back threes in the third quarter.”
While Simpson and Twyman began to apply offensive pressure, the other Seneca Valley players were able to up their pressure on Westminster’s outside shooters. “We really wanted put on the pressure,” said Humphrey. “Their guards are good shooters, but they didn’t like the pressure as much. So we tried to speed them up and didn’t let them run the half-court set plays which they ran so well in the first half.” Seneca held Westminster to just seven points in the third quarter, while scoring 21 points.
Seneca Valley’s defensive pressure led to more turnovers and takeaways in the early going of the fourth quarter, and the Eagles were able to extend their lead to 14 points with under three minutes to play. However, the Owls did not go quietly and continued to chip away at the Seneca lead. Westminster senior guard Justin Buberl drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to just three points, 51-48, with just 1:08 remaining.
Brandon Simpson drove the lane and hit a reverse layup and drew the foul with :47.8 seconds remaining. Simpson would hit the bonus shot to put the Eagles up 54-48 and seal the game. The Owls final charge was not enough, despite four players in double digits. Westminster was led by senior Gianni Pescetto and junior Joey Conklin, who finished with 12 points apiece. Seniors Tate Seibel and Justin Buberl also had 10 points each.
Seneca Valley will host the 11-10 Oakdale Bears (Frederick County) at 6:00 pm on Wednesday night in Germantown. Oakdale defeated Urbana 62-46 Monday night.
Top: Seneca’s Brandon Simpson (3) flies for an easy two points in the fourth quarter of Monday’s playoff victory over Westminster.
Next: Sophomore Triston Price (12) drives the baseline for a layup while being defended by Westminster’s Gianni Pescetto (32).
Next: Simpson (3) drains one of two three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Eagles regain the lead.
Next: Junior guard Tyran Crawford (5) with the layup. He would finish with eight points in the victory.
Next: Brandon Simpson’s (3) drew the foul and made this reverse layup complete the three-point play and seal the victory for the Eagles.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.