Basketball Hopes To Find Identity for Playoffs

by Frank Platko ‘18

As the regular season nears the end, the Warriors have four games left to prepare themselves for the postseason. With a record of 10-9, the dog days of the basketball season have been largely inconsistent for Sherwood.

After beginning the season 3-2, the team took part in the annual Brad Pinchback Holiday Invitational Tourney. They defeated Einstein 58-51 and Bladensburg 69-64, winning the tournament for the first time. Coming into the matchup, Bladensburg was undefeated and ranked top-20 in the state of Maryland.

Tournament MVP Davis Long, a junior, paced the team averaging 14.5 points, on par with his per-game output. However, his play has been rather erratic since that stretch.

While he has shown flashes of the season opener, like his 32 points in the loss versus Kennedy on January 10, or 26 points against Northwood on January 13, he’s also struggled to produce for multiple game spans. In losses against Clarksburg, Blair, Paint Branch, Kennedy, and Blake, Long failed to reach double digits.

It’s evident the team struggles when he does. However, an encouraging sign is the performance of senior guards John Ervin and Josh Seils. Both have improved in their play and leadership as the season has gone along. In the 101-100 double overtime loss to Clarksburg, Ervin poured in 34 points. He hit key layups and threes down the stretch to keep the Warriors in the contest, but ultimately it was not enough.
Coach Tim Gilchrist then decided to make a change to the rotation, moving senior guard Elijah Mills to a 6th man and Ervin to the starting five. This change occurred against Northwood, whom the Warriors blew out by a score of 94-39.

As a result of this change, Seils became the primary ball-handler after playing shooting guard for the most of the season.
He has responded well to the new role.

“I’ve been playing a lot of point guard my basketball career, including this season for stretches, so the transition felt natural. Whatever is best for the team, I’m always willing to adjust,” said Seils.

Against Springbrook, a rivalry game that always includes high tensions between the two teams, Ervin and Seils combined for 44 points to overcome Matthew Balanc’s 35 point outing for Springbrook and lead the Warriors to an important 76-66 victory.

“We can absolutely win in the playoffs if we hit shots, rebound, and play solid defense. We need to improve on making plays for others and focus on winning one game at a time,” said Long.

On the season, Long leads the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game and three-point shooting at 35 percent. Ervin averages 13.9 points, and Seils paces the Warriors with 3.2 assists a game. Junior forward Donovan Lacey grabs 5.9 rebounds per game. The team is also getting key contributions from senior big men Kevin Russell and Brendan Collins.

The Warriors enter the home stretch of the season on a three game losing streak, including an embarrassing 84-36 loss versus Kennedy. However, they rebounded with a victory against Northwood on Friday, February 3.

But win came at a cost. Freshman Nate Lacey suffered a serious head injury in the fourth quarter, and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

This past Tuesday, February 7, the Warriors took on Magruder. They will travel to Wootton and Walter Johnson to conclude the season next week.