Playing last year’s defending state champions is no easy task, especially for a young team on the rise like Seneca Valley.
The Screaming Eagles (7-4) girls’ basketball team may have been on the losing end of its Friday night home matchup against Poolesville (11-4), falling 66-40, but a game like that serves as a yardstick and a chance to learn from the best.
“We knew what we were coming into tonight,” first-year head coach Ali Hashemzadeh said. “[Poolesville is] a great shooting team. They did that in the first half, and once they stretched that lead it’s hard to climb back.”
The first quarter was thoroughly dominated by the Falcons’ offense, putting up 25 points to the Screaming Eagles’ 7 through the first eight minutes of play.
“Once they get that stretch and you’re playing from behind, it’s hard to catch up,” Hashemzadeh said. “[Against] a Poolesville team like that, there’s very little room for error.”
Scoring slowed down a bit in the second quarter, with each team notching 8 points apiece to give Poolesville a halftime lead of 33-15 over Seneca Valley.
“We wanted to slow the game down, we really wanted to do [that],” Hashemzadeh said. “I told the girls we were looking for two to three passes, get a solid shot up, but they like to leak out and run out and they got out on us early.”
The Falcons nearly matched their first-quarter point total in the third quarter, increasing their lead to 56-28 after three periods as the Screaming Eagles continued to make defensive adjustments against their quick-scoring visitors.
“We tried to come with different sets, make them think on offense and work,” Hashemzadeh said. “We take pride in our defense. That’s where we’re trying to build the program, we’re defensive first.”
Even though Seneca Valley outscored Poolesville 12-10 in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late as the defending 2A state champions prevailed 66-40.
“They play with such surgical precision on offense, they do all the little things,” Hashemzadeh said. “That’s what we need to learn to do is to do the little things continuously. A game like this you can build off of and grow from, and I’m hoping to do just that.”
Senior point guard/shooting guard Jessica Jones and sophomore center/forward Bryana Barber led the Screaming Eagles’ scoring Friday night with 11 points each. Sophomore center/forward Brianna Dorsey totaled 8 points on the night.
“We break the season down into five-game little seasons. The first five we went 3-2, the second one we went 4-1, and right now we’re 0-1. Our goal is to be 3-2 in the next five, if not better.”
Seneca Valley looks to return to its winning ways when it travels to play Rockville (6-5) Tuesday evening. Tip-off in Rockville is scheduled for 7:15 pm.
Top: Sophomore Bryana Barber (50) led the Screaming Eagles with 11 points in Friday's loss to the defending champion Poolesville Falcons.
Next: Junior Jasia Oliver (11) takes a jumper during Friday’s game.
Photos by Bill Owens for Germantown Pulse.