As it should, the rubber match of a three game series came down to overtime. Clarksburg and Northwest met for the third time this year on Monday night in Germantown. The teams had split the previous two meetings, so Monday’s second round playoff title was expected to be close, and it was.
In the end, Clarksburg’s senior center Stephen Armstrong’s 29 points was too much for the high flying Jags. Armstrong fired nine field goals, one three-pointer, and was shot 8-for-15 from the free throw line. He had 11 points in the overtime period to put the game away for the Coyotes. Armstrong was fouled four times and drained seven of eight foul shots in the overtime period.
Clarksburg jumped out to an early 10 point lead in the first quarter using the long ball. Seniors Diven Wallington drained two 3-balls and Raemond Thompson added another in the opening frame to give the Coyotes and 17-7 lead over the Jags.
The Jags would keep pace in the second quarter, but only cut the margin to nine by halftime, but the second half would change things. The Jags’ senior Norval Black had 10 of his team high 21 points in the second quarter, including two three-balls to keep Northwest within striking range of the Coyotes.
Northwest held Clarksburg to just 10 points in the third quarter and managed to put 17 points on the board to cut the margin to three points, 41-39 going into the fourth quarter. The Jags were spurred by senior Kolbey Woodard’s two three-pointers in the third.
Woodard would have six more points in the fourth quarter as the Jags continued to close the gap on the Coyotes. He would finish with 18 points. Clarksburg continued scoring points with a pair of three-pointers from senior Alex Behzadi, who finished with 14 points. The Jags would keep pace with two long-balls from sophomore Marcus Stubbs in the fourth and even took the lead on a three-pointer from Black to make the score 46-43 with 4:37 remaining.
The Coyotes would get the lead back to lead 54-51 with 1:33 remaining. The Jags would score 18 points in the fourth period to tie the game at 54 at the end regulation.
In the overtime period, Armstrong would take over and the Jags found themselves in foul trouble as the senior made all but one of his free throws in the extra period. Clarksburg dropped 15 points in OT and the Jags could gain only six.
The loss means the end of the most successful Northwest boys’ basketball season in the history of the school. The Jaguars finished at 17-4. Jags’ Head Coach Robert Smith said on Twitter that the team “lost a good OT basketball game. Proud of the fight we had all season.”
With the win, the Coyotes have earned themselves a date with the Trojans of Gaithersburg on Wednesday night. The Trojans are now 18-4 after beating Richard Montgomery 51-38 on Monday. The third Battle of the ‘Burgs will have the Coyotes hoping to topple a team that has beaten them twice this season. The first time Clarksburg and Gaithersburg tangled, the Trojans won by 17 points 60-43 back on January 18 in the Coyote’s Den. The second meeting was much more competitive with Gaithersburg winning 58-53 on January 26 at home.
Top: Clarskburg's Stephen Armstrong's 29 points helped lead the Coyotes to victory against Northwest in the second round of the boys' basketball playoffs.
Next: Northwest's Adrian Thomas eyes the basket as Clarksburg's Stephen Armstrong puts on the defensive pressure.
Next: The Jags' James Assiongbon attempts to score against an aggressive defense put up by Clarksburg's Stephen Armstrong (left) and Cornell Hanna during Monday's boys' basketball playoff game at Northwest.
Next: The Coyotes' Diven Wallington looks for offensive options as the Jags' Adrian Thomas tries to maintain Northwest's lead.
Photos by Kim Grimes for Germantown Pulse. Video courtesy Northwest High School.