It was the day that all sports team look forward to, a rivalry game against Churchill on a Friday. Boys’ basketball was looking forward to facing their rivals after a 64-46 win last year at Churchill. “I was really excited because both of our teams changed a lot so it is exciting to see how this game will go,” senior guard Garrett Koch said.
On Dec. 14 at home, the gym was filled 50 percent Churchill and 50 percent Wootton. The student sections were filled, both shouting loudly on to the court. Parents of both schools also filled the stadium along with former students who came home from college for winter break. The atmosphere was intense in warm-ups as it was an important game. “It was amazing to see how many people showed up,” senior guard Ryan Mariani said.
The Patriots went big this game with their starting lineup being Mariani, Koch, senior guard Kevin Ayissi-Etoh, senior forward Trey Wilson and senior center Harrison Cance. Senior forward True Johnson was still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered the week before in practice. As the game started the Patriots got off to a hot start, leading 11-3, after quick threes by Koch and Ayissi-Etoh. Churchill quickly came back and went up 19-13. After an exciting half, Patriots were only down five. “We were feeling good and felt like we were going to have a strong second half,” Cance said.
Throughout the second half the game went back and forth but the Bulldogs maintained the lead, as the Patriots got within two but never gained the lead. Whenever the Patriots would get within close the Bulldogs would come right back. By the end of the game, the boys ended up losing 67-59. “It is disappointing losing to our rivals. I think we could have played a lot better, but there is a lot to improve on and I am excited for the rest of the season,” senior forward Chris Vondas said.
Ayissi-Etoh lead the scoring for the Patriots with 19 points and Cance and Koch were right behind, with 14 points each.
Six days earlier on Dec. 8 the Patriots took on the Poolesville Falcons for their first game of the season, winning 68-49. The boys dominated the whole game never letting the Falcons get close to taking the lead. “This is a team we should have killed, we played well, but still did not play to our potential, which is exciting,” Wilson said.
Koch lead the team with 24 points to help propel them past the Falcons, while Ayissi-Etoh finished with 15. “I was happy we could get the win, this is a great start to the season,” Koch said.
The Patriots took on the Sherwood Warriors at Sherwood on Dec. 18. too late to be covered in this issue.