It took until the fourth match of the regular season for the Marriotts Ridge boys to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. The finished product, though, turned out to be quite the masterpiece.
On Tuesday, against Atholton and Centennial at Waverly Woods, the Mustangs’ top four of Bennett Buch, Nick Mejia, Mike Dorsch, and Jackson Courtney not only kept their unbeaten record intact, but did so on the strength of a record-breaking total of 106 points.
“It was a fun day,” Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs said. “We had been tinkering with the line-up the first few matches, seeing what everyone could do, and had kind of targeted today as when we wanted to bring everything together.”
While Marriotts Ridge (6-0) stole the show, Atholton (5-1) and Centennial (2-4) still put up respectable showings. The Raiders, which had their own undefeated record spoiled, finished with 86 points behind rounds of 23 from Max Rosenthal and Josh Lewis. The Eagles then rounded things out with 72 points on the strength of a team-high 25 from Matt McShane.
It just wasn’t nearly enough to stick with Marriotts Ridge, which had all four guys fire 25 points or better.
Buch led the way, firing a two-under-par round of 29 points to set the tone. He made two birdies, including one on the first hole that got things kick started.
“At the time, I had no idea if that was going to mean I was going to shoot a good round, but anytime you birdie the first hole I think it sends a message to your playing partners,” Buch said. “You want them to know that you’re focused and ready to go.”
Buch, who made no bogies, hit a lot of irons off the tee and kept himself out of trouble.
That same kind of consistency is what paid dividends for the team’s freshmen duo of Mejia (27 points) and Courtney (25). Mejia made one birdie and one bogey on his way to an even-par round, while Courtney made pars on eight straight holes to begin his round before a hiccup around the green on No. 9 cost him two shots.
Dorsch had three bogies on his card, but he finished in style with an approach shot on his final hole to within inches of the cup to set up a birdie.
“I think today you saw us play up to our potential,” said Buch, who bounced back after shooting 23 points in his last match. “Atholton definitely caught our attention with how well they had been playing and I think we all were a little extra focused.”
While the pair of victories keeps the Mustangs on track to capture the program’s first boys regular-season title, Buch isn’t getting ahead of himself. There are still matches against undefeated teams, Glenelg and Howard, left on the schedule.
“We haven’t won anything yet. Today was a good day, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves and lose our focus,” Buch said.
Atholton, which has scored above 80 in every match this fall, is still very much in the mix as well despite the loss. The Raiders have a big tri-match with Glenelg and Howard next week that will have a huge impact on the standings.
Marriotts Ridge 106, Atholton 86, Centennial 72
MR (6-0): Buch 29, Mejia 27, Dorsch 25, Courtney 25.
A (5-1): Rosenthal 23, Lewis 23, Robinson 21, Osterman 19.
C (2-4): McShane 25, Humphrey 22, Hunter 14, Sterenberg 11.