BOONSBORO—Skip Chambers is hoping it doesn’t take four more years for his Boonsboro boys basketball team to win another playoff game.
While the 41-33 win over Manchester Valley in the Maryland Class 1A West region East sectional quarterfinal Tuesday night wasn’t a thing of beauty, the Warriors coach sees it as a step in the right direction, snapping a playoff losing streak that dates back to 2009.
“It’s been a while since we’ve won a playoff game,” said Chambers. “We’re getting better. I just hope we keep on winning.”
While Boonsboro’s offense was sluggish, its pressure defense turned a five-point deficit into a 12-point advantage at just the right time.
With the Mavericks (1-22) holding a 22-17 lead with 6:13 left in the third quarter, and seemingly in control of the game, the Warriors went on a 20-3 run, while holding Manchester Valley to just one field goal in a span of more than 13 minutes.
“We got a lot more aggressive in the second half,” said Chambers. “We just went to a zone press, and give the kids credit, they really stepped it up a notch. They wanted this game.”
A Chad Cowden jumper, followed by a Dylan Coulter layup and a 3-pointer from Scott Bennett started the run, and gave Boonsboro the lead for good at 24-22. Coulter added a free throw and Alex Wetzel drained a 3-point jumper to give the Warriors a 28-23 margin entering the fourth quarter.
“We just couldn’t get things going offensively,” said Mavericks coach Bernie Koontz. “We have to score more than we did to win a varsity basketball game. But give Boonsboro credit, they did a really good job defensively.”
After Josiah Boyle’s layup trimmed the lead to three to open the fourth quarter, Wetzel and Casey Strunk hit back-to-back jumpers, followed by a Bennett 3-pointer and a layup by Strunk to push the lead to 37-25, and all but ice the win.
A 13-2 Manchester Valley run that began midway through the first period turned a 9-2 deficit into a 15-11 lead behind the inside play of Zach Heron. But four points from Bennett and a Dalton Stewart layup gave Boonsboro the lead with 2:13 left, before a Jacob Boone layup knotted the game at 17-all at the half.
Heron, who missed all but the first three games or the regular season, left the game early in the second half with a leg injury, and never returned.
Bennett finished with a game-high 16 points for the Warriors (9-14), who travel to play Smithsburg on Thursday.
Boonsboro 41, Manchester Valley 33
MANCHESTER VALLEY (1-22)
Boone 11, Boyle 8, Seipp 7, Winner 1, Heron 6. Totals 11 7-15 33.
Walsh 2, Cowden 4, Jardeleza 2, Strunk 6, Stewart 3, Wetzel 5, Bennett 16, Coulter 3. Totals 16 5-10 41.
Man. Valley 10 7 6 10 — 33
Boonsboro 9 8 11 13 — 41
3-point goals — Manchester Valley 2 (Boone, Seipp), Boonsboro 3 (Wetzel, Bennett 2).