"It's All About The Game"
Potomac uses heft to garner MD 2A 'chip
Ron Bailey, Publisher
Wolverines utilize advantage
March 21, 2014 - At halftime and nursing a tenuous 27-24 lead, Potomac needed to use its comparative advantage against Potomac - use its bigs. Sure the Wolverines were in the lead, but Oakdale didn't have the size or depth to contend in the paint, despite the yeomen's work of senior forward Julius Simpson.
Led by senior center Quadree Smith and classmate, guard Dion Wiley, the Wolverines (23-5) started to punish Oakdale's Bears internally, particularly in the fourth quarter. In doing so, Potomac salted away a 64-51 win, and in doing so last Saturday was crowned Maryland 4A champion.
Coach Renard Johnson is mobbed by his team, including Quadree Smith (21) and Dion Wiley (far right).
"I know I had to protect the ball, handle the ball, because they were pressing (Randall) Broddie out" shared Wiley, having just played on his future University of Maryland, Comcast Center's court. "When I couldn't make a play, or set somebody up, just throw it into 'Q'. I knew he would make a play".
Smith or 'Q' as he's widely known punctuated the Wolverine's inside focus with just 4:07 remaining in regulation: He was fed in the paint and scored through contact. Though he missed the resulting free throw, Potomac then 49-43, and never looked back.
"When I scored that bucket, it was just unbelievable" said Smith. "From that point on I knew there was nothing possible they could do to stop up from taking over, basically".
Smith finished with 14 points and a game high 19 caroms. Junior forward Anthony Smith pulled down 15 boards himself, to go along with 10 points. Broddie a sophomore, led the team with 18 points, most being scored in the first half. Wiley logged 13 points.
Potomac outrebounded Oakdale by 49-28. Those second chance shots helped created their 41.7% to 29.3% shooting advantage.
Despite being dominated in the paint, Oakdale (22-5) remained in striking distance virtually throughout, in part due to the 20 points, three rebounds and four assists senior point guard Clay Conner supplied. Simpson finished with 10 points and four rebounds, before fouling out on Smith's aforementioned and-one.
While he pulled down 10 rebounds, senior forward Zach Thomas did score 13 points, but was never the offensive factor he's capable of being. For the game, This future Bucknell Bison shot 3-21. Seven on his buckets were scored from the free throw line, and he sank no three balls.
When asked if they wanted to force Thomas off his spots and to pat the ball, Potomac head coach Renard Johnson confirmed "That was our plan of attack; make him put it on the floor, try to contain Clay, and when he (Thomas) put it on the floor don't give him any open looks".
A near unconsolable Thomas merely said "I had a off day", when asked about his troubles from the floor, clearly distraught.
Johnson experienced the other emotional pole immediately after the game, as he was seen crying on the floor. They were tears of happiness.
"Before I got here, we were 2-19" said Potomac's coach about his on-court outburst. He continued, remembering "Somebody told me this kid Dion Wiley could play a little bit" upon taking the job. Johnson admitted hearing rumors of Wiley's departure, yet the 6'4" guard never did. Resultantly, "it was a lot of emotions dedicated to him"
Wiley on his internal state: "It feels great, because last year we came up way short (a state semifinal loss)...We got it done".
Despite immense pressure to do so all season, that they did.
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