With both teams’ stands near maximum capacity, the 2018-19 Coyotes boys’ varsity basketball team emphatically dominated UpCounty rival Damascus 61-17 at home in their season opener Friday evening.
Clarksburg (1-0) scored 15 unanswered points to start the game, while Damascus (0-1) struggled to find much offense over the course of the evening.
“[It’s the] first game, it’s a lot of energy and our guys were feeding off of that,” head coach Steven Watson said. “We did a good job creating a tempo that fits our style. We’re not the biggest team, so we want to push the pace, we want to get defensive turnovers and I think we did a good job of that early on.”
The Swarmin’ Hornets failed to get onto the board in the first six minutes of play, allowing the Coyotes to rack up a 15-point lead.
Behind strong defensive play, Clarksburg’s lead only grew from there, The home team held a 24-3 advantage by the end of the first quarter and a 41-11 advantage by halftime.
“I think the guys bought in to what we’re trying to teach them, and that is being in position, making your teammates better,” Watson said. “We have a lot of talent and I think we can be very deep. Defensively, we shared the moment. We get a steal, we pitch it ahead to a teammate, and I think just our communication was as good as it’s been all preseason today.”
Despite returning five players from last year, this season’s starters for the Coyotes are brand new to the varsity team. The team is anchored by junior point guard Yuri Covington, along with junior shooting guard Kendall Smith and sophomore small forwards Nunu Taylor and Ryan Prather, Jr.
“This is a good group, they’re fun to be around, but I don’t pretend that every night’s going to be like this,” Watson said. “There are going to be good days, there are going to be bad days, as long as they’re committed to what we’re trying to do I think we can be successful.”
Clarksburg continued to balance offense and defense, ending the third quarter with a 54-16 lead before finally closing out the win 61-17.
“That [Damascus] team is going to be totally different in a couple weeks once some of his guys get their legs under them,” Watson said. “They’re coming off another outstanding football season, [and] this is not what they [will be] when we see them again, so we don’t want to read too much into this. We played well tonight, but make no mistake, the second time we play them up there it is not going to be like this.”
The Coyotes will try and go 2-0 to start the season as they travel to Sherwood (1-0) tonight, (Tuesday evening). Sherwood defeated Rockville 53-51 in its season opener last week.
Tipoff in Sandy Spring is scheduled for 7:15 pm tonight.
Top: Clarksburg sophomore Ryan Prather (24) during Friday’s blowout win over Damascus.
Next: Coyote’s junior Yuri Covington (2) shoots a free throw during Friday’s opening day victory.
Photos by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse.