by Frank Platko ‘18
In the month of January, the Warriors faced their toughest stretches of the season. Amid injuries to two of their best players, seniors Davis Long and Brad Riley, Coach Tim Gilchrist still guided the Warriors to a record of 8-8 after losing 93-61 at Northwest. The loss to the Jaguars follows a tight 70-67 loss at Paint Branch, who is one of the strongest teams in the county with a record of 14-4.
Just a few weeks ago, it appeared the Warriors’ season was slipping away after consecutive blowout losses to Gaithersburg and Paint Branch. Against Gaithersburg on January 10, the Warriors mustered just 40 points, most of which came in the first half. Turnovers and missed field goals played the difference in the 63-40 loss.
Two days later, they suffered an even uglier loss to Paint Branch at home. After going down 19-3 in the first quarter, the Warriors quickly cut into the deficit and trailed by only 6 points in the 2nd quarter. However, Paint Branch exploded in the second half behind fastbreak points and three point field goals, winning by a whopping 77-38. In the blowout loss to the Panthers, Sherwood shot just 28 percent from the field.
“It was tough to lose that way, especially knowing we were way better than how we were playing,” said senior Davis Long. “As a team, we knew we had to start performing at a higher level.”
Brad Riley, a senior guard, returned from a shoulder injury the following week in a make-up game against Kennedy on January 18. In his return, Riley scored 19 points as the Warriors led by double digits for the entirety of the game. Stifling defense also played a key role in the 57-42 victory.
The following day, the Warriors defeated Blair by a score of 54-46. However, the victory came at the expense of Long, who suffered a sprained ankle with just under a minute left in the game. Before exiting, he paced the Warriors with 14 points. “I’ve been doing a lot of rehabbing these past few weeks” said Long. “I’m ready to get back out there and compete.” Long was tentatively scheduled to make his return to action against Blake on February 6.
In Long’s absence, the Warriors have rallied to remain competitive. After dropping the first game without Long in a 77-56 loss against Springbrook, Sherwood bounced back with consecutive victories against Northwood and Poolesville by scores of 65- 54 and 60-33.
“We knew it’d be a difficult adjustment without Davis, but we stuck to coach’s game plan and played as a team,” said senior guard Josh Salzer.
Despite hovering around .500 for much of this season, the Warriors have done an impressive job coping with the extended absences of Riley, Long, and senior forward Donovan Lacey, who missed multiple games due to illness. If they can get to full strength and fine-tune some inconsistencies on both sides of the ball, the Warriors have the talent to make noise in the playoffs.
The Warriors conclude their regular season when they travel to Walter Johnson on Friday, February 16.