Eighteen of Potomac’s wins this season have come by double digits. In half of those contests, the Panthers have outpaced their opponents by 20-plus points. The goal for the undefeated Dumfries squad entering the postseason, then, is staying focused.
“With the games we should win, we have to deal with boredom,” senior forward Randy Haynes said. “With the teams we should beat, we can’t get too bored and keep playing like it’s anybody else. Like every game is our last one. And we’ll be alright.”
It’s not as though the No. 5 Panthers haven’t had a few shots fired over their bow. Forest Park took Potomac to double overtime on Jan. 27.
“Right then, everything was going bad,” said Haynes, who is averaging a team-high 17.6 points per game. “We had to come together and execute. It was simple as that.”
After sputtering all game, Potomac (22-0) kept its unbeaten season alive by outscoring the Bruins 8-0 in the second overtime period. A week later, the Panthers showed what they were capable of by drubbing the same Forest Park squad by 40 points.
Potomac’s core of Haynes, George Mason recruit Trey Porter and Tariq Felder is looking to cap its senior campaign with a 5A state title. This senior class has been together for years.
“It’s been good,” Haynes said. “I wouldn’t pick anyone else to grow up with or play with. Everybody has known each other since elementary or middle school. Last year we came up short, and early this year everybody was doubting us.”
Twenty-two straight winners have done a lot to erode the question marks, but after a regular season-closing win over Freedom-Woodbridge on Friday, Potomac didn’t take long to celebrate.
“After that, coach told us to celebrate,” Haynes said. “We had Saturday practice off, took a chance to stick our chests out, but on Monday we’re going back to work.”
“That was a turning point,” Floyd said. “It just proved a lot about our teamwork, what we’ve done in the offseason, and how much better we’ve gotten as a team – physically and mentally.”
With an infusion of underclassmen and O’Connell transfer Genesis Parker, the Raiders (14-6) took a while to gel. But with eight straight wins heading into their regular season finale, the team’s identity is finally shifting into place.
“Toward the beginning of the season, everyone was trying to get a feel of how we’d play together, because everyone branched off and played with their AAU teams last summer,” Floyd said. “But I think we have a sense of that now.”
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