The injuries, distractions and adversity that had plagued the last month of the boys basketball season for Oakland Mills caught up to the Scorpions in the 2A South regional championship Friday.
The Scorpions, playing on the road against top-seeded Potomac, fell behind early and never recovered en route to a lopsided 101-63 loss that brought an end to a season that had started with such promise.
Injuries to two of the team’s three leading scorers — Mamadou Ndiaye (19.3 points per game) and Daivon Tapscott (10.1) — along with the suspension of Deshawn Willis (13.1) for being ejected from the previous night’s contest, added up to the largest margin of defeat for the program in more than five years.
“It definitely did catch up to us and the result was us getting embarrassed,” Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne said. “Our big man (Ndiaye) has been banged up, Deshawn not being able to play and then obviously Tapscott being out for the last month … it was basically us going into the lions' den without our three leading scorers.
“And that’s not to take anything away from Potomac, they were phenomenal. They absolutely came to play … all business.”
Dion Wiley (30 points) and Walter Broddie (27) led Potomac’s high-powered offense, but by the time the final whistle blew 10 different guys had scored in a game that the host Wolverines led from start to finish.
Potomac had established a commanding 31-10 lead by the end of the first quarter on a mix of dunks, layups and 3-pointers.
“They came out ablazing from three and there was no urgency defensively on our part,” Browne said. “As good as we were defensively last night (against Patuxent), we were that bad tonight.”
Oakland Mills, which had beaten Patuxent a night earlier in the region semifinals 78-63 behind a career-high 31 points from Marvin Williams, saw its deficit increase to 29 points at the half, 52-23, against Potomac.
After stemming the tide a little in the third quarter, Oakland Mills saw the wheels come completely off in the fourth as the Wolverine celebration began.
Freshman Naquan Williams-Day (19 points) and sophomore Larry Aaron (14) ended up pacing the Oakland Mills attack, as both players set new career highs for points.
“It’s hard to take any positives from a game like that, but the play of those two certainly was promising,” Browne said. “To get production like that from a freshman and a sophomore that are going to be a huge part of this program going forward, it bodes well for us as we look to the future.”
The loss marks the fourth time in the last five years that Oakland Mills has made the region championship game only to fall one win short of making the state semifinals. The team’s 20-5 record equates to a successful year, but Browne says the program is still waiting to step to the next level.
“There are a lot of programs that are probably satisfied with the elite eight and the region finals, but this program needs to get over that hump … I, as a coach, need to get over that hump,” Browne said. “I know I’ve said it before, but hopefully these kids that are coming back next year remember this feeling. It was a good season, but at the end of the day, it just falls a little short for me.”
Potomac 101, Oakland Mills 63
P: Wiley 30, Broddie 27, Smith 15, Dickson 12, Rose 7, Kelly 4, Neugent 4, Lawson 1, Smith 1.
OM: Williams-Day 20, Aaron 14, Bradley 11, Mitchell 10, Kiely 4, Powers 2, Williams 2.
Half: 52-23 P.