BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s boys’ varsity basketball team took its first loss of the season last week in the Governor’s Challenge, a 55-54 heartbreaker to Virginia powerhouse Potomac in overtime, but rebounded with a decisive Bayside South win over Bennett on Tuesday.
The Seahawks opened the first half of their “unfinished business” season with seven straight conference wins to bust out to an early 7-0 record, but knew there would be challenges awaiting during last week’s Governor’s Challenge holiday tournament in Salisbury featuring some of the top prep programs from up and down the east coast.
Decatur took care of business in its opener in the Governor’s Challenge last Tuesday, beating Bishop Sullivan rather handily in the first round, 68-52. Looming on Decatur’s bracket, however, was Potomac, the reigning 5A division champion in Virginia that had reeled off two dozen straight wins dating back to last season.
Decatur trailed early, 13-8, after the first quarter against Potomac in front of big home crowd at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center last Thursday. The Seahawks then settled down and got back to playing the kind of basketball that got them out to the 8-0 start. The Seahawks ran off an 8-0 run in the second quarter to take the lead, 21-17. Potomac scored the last four points of the period and the game was tied at 21-21 at the intermission, foreshadowing what was yet to come.
The Seahawks got out to a quick start in the third quarter against Potomac last Thursday, building a 32-23 lead about halfway through the period. Potomac was not about to go quietly, however, and ran off a 10-0 run of its own to take a narrow 33-32 lead at the end of three quarters, setting up a showdown final quarter between two of the more highly touted programs in the field.
The two teams went back and forth throughout the fourth quarter with neither getting much separation. Potomac took a 45-43 lead with under a minute remaining in the contest, but the drama was far from over.
Decatur’s Kevon Voyles tied the game at 47-47 with a three-pointer from the corner with just eight seconds left. The Seahawks made one last big defensive stand as time ticked down and stopped Potomac. Gary Briddell got off a last second shot, but it missed the mark and the game headed to overtime tied at 47-47.
The back-and-forth action continued in the overtime period before Potomac finally pulled out the 55-54 win. The Seahawks held their heads high leaving the court, knowing they took the defending Virginia state champion to the bitter end in what was clearly a great test for the Maryland state playoffs down the road.
With the loss, Decatur went 1-1 in the Governor’s Challenge against some of the strongest competition they will see all season. Back in action on the road on Tuesday, the Seahawks showed no ill effects of the holiday tournament hangover, beating Bennett, 73-36, in a key Bayside South matchup.