Last season, on their way to Maryland state semi-final game Seneca Valley had only one loss. It was a home game. The first game back after an extended week-long break from school and basketball due to the Blizzard of ’16 which closed school and most of Germantown for a week.
It game was a quickly scheduled make-up game. Neither team had practiced or played for a full week prior to taking the court that Saturday morning in 2016. The Thursday before, the Seneca Valley basketball community was stunned by the news of the death of James Humphrey, the team’s scorekeeper and father of Seneca Head Coach Brian Humphrey. The Eagles lost 61-43. Their only loss in 2016, other than the last game of the season in the State semi-finals.
On Thursday night in the Quince Orchard gym in front of a packed house, the Eagles of Seneca Valley were able to erase those difficult memories as they beat the previously unbeaten Courgars 65-60, and thrilling game.
“We are a family,” said junior Triston Price after game. “Every game we step out to we have to bring our chemistry and our energy. We didn’t want to lose again. Coming out and winning this game means a lot to us as a family.” Price had 12 points, including a three-pointer near the end of the first half.
“This game was the top game on our calendar,” said Brandon Simpson. “We were waiting for them. We love playing QO because it is good competition.”
The Screamin’ Eagles led 31-26 after the first half and closed out the game without giving up the lead. However, that doesn’t mean they weren’t tested by Cougars. Late the fourth quarter QO’s Jack Faroane hit a three-pointer which cut the lead and made it a one-possession game down the stretch.
Late in the game, Faroane, cut the lead to one point with just 18 seconds after he was sent to the line to shoot two foul shots. With his team trailing by three points, Farone made both shots to cut the lead to one point, 60-61. Unfortunately, for QO it would be the last points the Cougars would score.
With time ticking away, the Cougars had to foul the Eagles to get possession. Twice in the final 18 seconds they fouled Seneca’s Kareem Matthews, who stepped to the line and made four straight foul shots with the game on the line. Those four-points would be Matthew’s only points of the game but they were critical, those four shots extended the lead to five points.
“Foul shots are something we work on a lot,” said Coach Humphrey. “Kareem is probably our best percentage foul shooter. But for Kareem to step up, in this situation, while it wasn’t a playoff game it was a playoff atmosphere against an extremely tough team. To see him on the line at the end of the game was nice.”
They were led by Brandon Simpson who had 17 points, on seven field goals, and one three-ball. He also had 11 rebounds. However, his coach said his most important contribution was his ability to help his team avoid Quince Orchard’s trapping defense.
“Brandon was huge again,” said Humphry. “Especially with the way they trap. To have a guy that is that big and strong, with the ability to make good decisions and be intelligent in those situations is huge.”
The Eagles had three players in double-digits, Simpson along with Triston Price and Denard Cluburn. Price had 13 points, and Clyburn added 12 points. Trevon Lucas scored nine points.
The win extends the Seneca Valley win streak to five, and extends the official Eagles’ record to 12-0, unofficially Seneca is 12-1 after a loss to Tuscarora in the holiday tournament. Quince Orchard falls to 13-1 on the season.
“It was nice,” said Humphrey. “QO is excellent, but to get this win after last year — it was incredible.”
Top: Seneca Valley’s Brandon Simpson (3) takes a baseline jump-shot during Thursday’s 65-60 victory at Quince Orchard.
Video: Triston Price (2) nails a three-pointer near the end of the first half to give the Eagles a five point lead.
Next: Tevon Lucas (1) puts up a shot in the third quarter. He would finish with nine points in the game.
Next: Denard Clyburn (25) with a monster jam as part of his 12 points in the game.
Video: Senior Brandon Simpson (3) goes on a personal four-point run with a dunk and a rebound put-back.
Next: Triston Price (2) drives the lane for two of his 13 points.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse.