Boys’ basketball: Poolesville trio leads the way in win over Einstein

If one play summed up the kind of all-around good night Poolesville had in its 57-44 win over Einstein Tuesday night, it came midway through the third quarter when Falcons guard Anthony Papagjika was looking to send a pass into the hands of forward Trevor Stottlemyer in the paint.

Papagjika had long since been the focus of Einstein’s defense, earning box-and-one coverage after hitting four first-half threes. As he dribbled behind the three-point line, a trio of Titans (6-13, 5-6 Montgomery County 3A/2A) converged on him and Papagjika jumped to shoot a pass over them. The ball slipped out of his hand, caromed hard off the backboard, picked up spin and it banged off the front rim, and squirted up in the air before falling right back through the hoop.

“It just slipped out of my hand and somehow went in,” said Papagjika, who turned his palms to the air after the fortunate bounces, looking more surprised than anyone.

Perhaps the home backboard was rewarding the Falcons (14-4, 10-0) for utilizing their talents wisely. Stottlemyer, Papagjika, and point guard Andy Baker played off each other’s strengths all evening. When Papagjika started hot, the Falcons looked for Stottlemyer inside, where he converted despite Einstein’s size advantage. When Titans big man Joe Bradshaw prevented an easy passing lane to Stottlemyer, Andy Baker slashed through open spaces in Einstein’s zone for points.

“We complement each other,” Stottlemyer said. “When Anthony’s hitting, everyone flies out to him. That leaves me and Andy a wide open lane. If I’m hitting them in the middle, everyone collapses on me, I just kick it to them and they’ll knock it down every time.”

Normally, the Poolesville trio is a quartet, joined by guard Craig Morton as Falcons averaging double figures. But with Morton in foul trouble throughout, the other three adjusted the formula perfectly. All of the Falcons’ 34 first-half points came from Baker, Papagjika, or Stottlemyer, and it wasn’t until midway through the third quarter — when Poolesville had established a comfortable lead at 41-29 — that another player added a bucket.

“Once we got Anthony going, Trevor inside, and Andy attacking the basket, we were good,” Poolesville Coach Kenny Kramek said. “Craig was in foul trouble, but it was a good team effort. And Sean Parker came in and did a great job on [Joe] Bradshaw.”

Parker, who finished with four points, was one of a few Poolesville defenders who checked the versatile 6-7 Bradshaw (17.8 points per game) and held him to just 14, six from outside the paint. The Falcons held Abe Camara, the Titans’ leading scorer (18 points per game) to one layup.

“We all have different skill sets that complement each other well on offense and defense,” said Baker, who finished with 17 points. “If they take away one thing, we can do something else. . . .We all work well together.”

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