It was a tale of two halves in Clarksburg on Wednesday night as the Coyotes hosted Seneca Valley. The Coyotes, winners of two games in a row, were looking to upset the 13-1 Seneca Valley Eagles at home in front of the raucous Blue Brigade, and for a while, it seemed like it was going to happen.
Clarksburg jumped out to a 12 point early lead, thanks to eight first quarter points from junior Stephan Armstrong and six first-quarter points from senior Ian Krishnan. Seneca was eventually able to find some stability and finished the first quarter down 10 points 18-8.
In the second quarter, the Coyotes continue to apply the pressure scoring 12 points, but last year’s 3A West regional champs weren’t going to allow Clarksburg to run away with the game. Seneca scored 16 points to cut the lead to four at halftime as Kareem Mathew and Trevon Lucas scored six apiece in the quarter. The Coyotes took a 28-24 lead into the locker room.
“In the first half we did a good job of controlling tempo and keeping them off balance,” said Steve Watson, who is in his first year as head coach of the Clarksburg Boys team. “In the second half, it was hard for us to set our defense and we turned the ball over in the second half. A team like that they, if you turn it over against them they get run-outs, and that is how they push it up.”
“We knew they were going to come out strong,” said Brian Humphrey, Head Coach at Seneca Valley, “which is not surprising, especially in front of their home crowd. They came out hot at the beginning. They got some things going in transition, and grabbed rebounds on the offensive glass and got points that way. But, the thing that I liked about our guys is at no point in the game did they start to panic. They had to grind it out.”
Seneca ground it out without the help of one of their tallest players, against a tall team in Clarksburg. Seneca’s Denard Clyburn was unable to play due to an ankle sprain suffered in Monday’s 84-57 victory over Gaithersburg. “Losing a big man, when you’re not a very big team, to begin with, hurts,” said Humphrey.
The Eagles came out Screaming in the third quarter and went on a 10-0 run to take a 34-28 lead near the three and half minutes into the quarter. Seneca scored 23 in the third stanza with many points coming on the transition after defensive stops and forced turnovers. The Eagles defense held the Coyotes to 9 points in the quarter.
Seneca’s man-to-man defense effectively took away one of Clarksburg biggest weapons; the long-range jumper. Clarksburg is a team that will get 15- to as many as 20-points off shots from beyond the arc was unable to find the shooter’s touch on Wednesday night and had only two three-pointers in the game.
However, that did not stop the Coyotes from battling back in the fourth quarter. Clarksburg worked to get 22 points in the last quarter. Ian Krishnan had nine of his 19 points in the final quarter, which helped cut the Eagle’s lead to five points with 5:22 remaining. However, the Eagles shot 11-of-14 from the foul line down the stretch and managed eight field goals to take the 74-62 win.
Seneca’s Kareem Matthew led all scorers with 26 points, nailing 11 field goals and going four-for-five from the line. The Eagles had three other players in double-digits, including Trevon Lucas with 16, Brandon Simpson with 14 and Tyran Crawford with 12 points.
Clarksburg was led by Krishnan’s 19 points and Stephen Armstrong’s 18 points.
“We stayed in it, and we battled,” said Coach Watkins after the game. “We cut it to five at one point, but we never could get over the hump because of some miscues that hurt us. Their defensive pressure gives everyone trouble, and it gave us trouble in the second half today. We have got things that work well for us, we can shoot the ball, and we are versatile. Our commitment to defense is getting better, but it is not where it needs to be. I thought tonight our defense was good for three-quarters of the game, but late down the stretch; when we needed to get a stop we couldn’t pull one out. We had an opportunity to make a statement here at home. Good teams will take advantage when you don’t make the play if you don’t foul shots, and turn the ball over. It gives them the edge that they need.”
Top: Seneca Valley’s Tyran Crawford (5) grabs a rebound during Wednesday’s 74-62 victory over Clarksburg.
Next: Clarksburg’s Ian Krishnan (4) with a shot. He led the Coyotes with 19 points in the game. Photo by Karen Armstrong.
Video: Seneca Valley gained the lead in the third quarter after a 10-0 run and continued to apply defensive pressure creating turnovers and scoring on the transition.
Next: Seneca Valley’s Kareem Matthew (4) led all scorers with 26 points in the game.
Next: Clarksburg’s Michael Winterburn (4) knocks a rebound away from Tyran Crawford (5) in the third quarter of the Seneca Valley’s victory.
Next: Clarksburg’s Diven Wallington (20) shoots one of his four free-throws. Photo by Karen Armstrong.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse and Karen Armstrong.