Perseverance and Tough Defense Allow Jags to Upset Gaithersburg
Tuesday may have begun with a two-hour delay, but Northwest and Gaithersburg’s boys’ varsity basketball teams showed no signs of a weather-related letdown.
The 5-5 Jags prevailed 53-51 over the visiting 11-2 Trojans, courtesy of a last-second buzzer beater by senior point guard Shahab Mastori.
“Even when plays weren’t going our way, we just stayed in it, kept plugging away, [and] kept giving ourselves a chance to win,” Northwest head coach BJ DeBuchananne said. “[We] got a couple of stops late and that gives the opportunity for somebody to step in and hit a big shot, and that’s what happened.”
Despite most of the game being neck-and-neck between the two teams, it was Gaithersburg who started the first quarter in the driver’s seat, taking a 14-8 lead through the first eight minutes and making four of five free throws in the opening period.
The Jags struck back in the second half, putting up 17 points and playing strong defense against the fast-paced Trojans to give themselves a 25-22 halftime advantage.
Both teams put up double-digit point totals in the third quarter, including seven from junior point guard Marcus Stubbs, yet the score was deadlocked at 38-38 heading into the final period.
Gaithersburg shooting guard Jordan Hawkins and point guard Jao Ituka, both sophomores, continued to light up the scoreboard as they had all game long. They would finish the game with 22 and 21 points, respectively.
“It’s tough to continue to try and keep them from scoring,” DeBuchananne said. “They can do it in multiple different ways, rebounding, from the outside, getting to the bucket, [and] in transition, so they’re a handful.”
After seven lead changes through the first five and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, Northwest managed to level things at 51-51 with 1:18 to play in regulation.
Two key timeouts with seven and five seconds left helped the Jags plan a method of attack. It all came down to Mastori’s two-pointer as time expired to seal the hard-fought win for the Jags.
Stubbs would finish the game as Northwest’s top scorer, putting up nine of his 12 points in the back-and-forth second half. Mastori finished with nine points, while senior TJ Mayer and junior Julian Seabolt-Wilbanks each totaled eight points on the night.
“We had a lot of guys come in off the bench and really give us a boost when we needed it,” DeBuchananne said.
The Jags look to extend their win streak to three later this week as they host 7-6 Blake in a nonconference matchup on Friday evening. Tip-off at Northwest is scheduled for 7:15 pm Friday.
Top: Northwest senior Shahab Mastori (1) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the buzzer-beating shot to seal the victory for the Jags over Gaithersburg on Tuesday night. The win hands the Trojans just their second loss all season.
Video: Shahab Mastori (1) with the buzzer-beater for the win.
Next: The Jags discuss the endgame during a timeout with just five seconds remaining.
Next: Senior Jaden Blocker (3) attempts the block during Tuesday’s game against Gaithersburg.
Next: Junior Marcus Stubbs (30) shoots a free throw. He would finish the game with 12 points to lead Jags scorers.
Photos by Germantown Pulse