Still riding the high from Monday’s thrilling victory over Quince Orchard, the Clarksburg Coyotes needed to find a way to beat Gaithersburg, a team that had beaten them in both their previous meetings. Clarksburg Head Coach George J. Kissal got his guys together and laid out a plan to play more zone and try to slow down the Gaithersburg offense.
“We wanted to force them to stop and think about what they were doing,” said Kissal. “Playing zone is not something did against them in earlier games and it seemed to work for a while.”
But in the second half, the Coyotes found themselves down by double-digits. Coach Kissal called timeout and gathered his core five players — seniors Andrew Kostecka, Jeff McInnis, and Dallas Marshall, along with juniors Ian Krishnan and Michael Winterburn. Five guys that, he said, have been playing together since third grade. His five guys. “Kostecka, McInnis and Marshall have been with me from the beginning of my time at Clarksburg,” said Kissal, “They are the first group that haven’t played for another head coach at the high school level.”
He called time out and read them the riot act. “I really lit ‘em up,” he said. He wouldn’t go into exactly what he told his team, but it had the desired effect. The Coyotes came out of that time-out and began to chip away at Gaithersburg’s lead. After trailing 44-38 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Clarksburg outscored Gaithersburg 26-18 in the fourth quarter. The Coyotes cut the lead to two points with 5:32 remaining in the game.
Both teams have four players in double-digits on the scoring sheet. Gaithersburg’s Andy Kwiatkowski led all scorers with 21 points, followed by Alex Rojas with 17 points. Matt Moersen added 12 points, and Nendah Tarke finished with 11 points for the Trojans.
The Coyotes were led by Winterburn, who finished with 19 points. Kostecka had 16 points despite suffering from a stomach virus which left him weak and dehydrated for much of the game, said Kissal. Dallas Marshall had 13 points, and Jeff McInnis had 10 points, but none bigger than the basket that ended the game.
With the game tied at 62 points apiece, it was Jeff McInnis who stripped the ball and raced up court to lay in the game-winning basket in the waning seconds of the game. The play gave the Coyotes the victory and the right to advance to the 4A West regional finals.
Clarksburg, winners of four games in a row with a record of 17-8 will play Walt Whitman, who defeated Montgomery Blair 66-51 Wednesday night. Since Clarksburg was the fourth seed, and Whitman was the third seed, the game is a Whitman home game, to be played at Montgomery Blair High School at 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 5. Whitman is 16-9 the season after beating Blair, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and Northwood en route to the regional final game.
Top: Clarksburg’s Jeff McInnis (0) skies for one of his 10 points, he would score the game winner to allow the Coyotes to advance.
Next:Clarksburg’s Michael Winterburn (4) drives the lane.
Next: The Coyote pumps up the Clarksburg faithful that made the trip to Gaithersburg for the game.
Photos by Mark Poetker for Germantown Pulse.