by Frank Platko ’19
Following a 12-11 finish and first-round playoff exit, Coach Tim Gilchrist hopes to guide the varsity basketball team to a more successful season this year.
With six returning seniors from last season, there is a strong leadership presence within the locker room and on the court. However, younger players like sophomores Nate Lacey and Evan Long will be expected to contribute.
“We are asking a lot of any player that steps on the floor whether they have varsity experience or not,” said Gilchrist. “Once a player hits the floor in a game situation, all the cards are on the table.”
Still, much of team’s success will ride on the shoulders of senior guard and captain Davis Long, who led the team in scoring last season at 14.7 PPG. Long has serious interest from Division 1 schools, such as Wisconsin, Delaware, Colorado State and several others.
Long experienced a breakout season last year, and appears poised to take an even bigger leap this year. “I worked on my athleticism and conditioning a lot this offseason,” said Long. “Being more explosive will make it easier to make plays for myself and teammates.” That explosiveness could be seen in the team’s first preseason scrimmage against Wheaton when Long threw down his first in-game dunk.
On December 5, Sherwood hosted Rockville in the season opener. Behind a raucous student section, the Warriors were able to pull away in the second half and defeat the Rams, 55-40.
Long threw down another dunk midway through the second quarter; however, he scored just 11 points in the game and struggled from the field. Junior forward Domenico Martella tied for the game-high points with 11 of his own.
Sherwood took on the Churchill Bulldogs in their second regular season matchup on Friday, December 8. The Warriors played aggressive defense throughout the entire game, forcing the Bulldogs into a whopping 27 turnovers. This helped make up for another subpar offensive performance. Long led the team in scoring with 12 points, on an efficient 57 percent from the field. Sherwood responded well to runs by Churchill in the second half to grind out a victory, 50-42.
The Warriors suffered their first loss of the season when they traveled to face Clarksburg on December 11. The final score, 64- 48, is not indicative of how competitive the game actually was. The Warriors hung tight until the final minutes of the 4th quarter, when Clarksburg began to pull away. Clarksburg senior forward Stephen Freeman led all scorers with 24 points.
Missed free throws and foul trouble ultimately proved to be deciding factors in the Warriors’ defeat. Despite the loss, Long and his teammates remain optimistic.
“If we remain positive and leave it all out on the court, we will be successful. It will take time to gel offensively, but we will be fine,” said Long, who leads the 2-1 Warriors in scoring at 11.0 PPG.
The Warriors look to bounce back in their next matchup when they host the rival Magruder Colonels tonight at 5:30. Magruder enters the game with a 2-0 record while averaging 75 points per game.