Springbrook boys’ basketball Coach Tom Crowell figured to feature some new faces in his team’s rotation early this season, trying to replace four graduated starters. Wednesday night in a Montgomery 4A nonleague game in Silver Spring, one of them, junior Thane Wood, stepped to the free throw line in overtime with a chance to close out fourth-ranked Magruder.
In the most extensive action of his varsity career, Wood calmly sank a pair of free throws with six seconds left to secure a 59-55 overtime victory over the defending Maryland 4A champions. The point guard had just four total points in four games coming in, but Crowell trusted him to run the offense in crunch time as the No. 11 Blue Devils handed the Colonels their first loss in more than a year.
“Halfway through the game, I felt like [Crowell] really started to trust me,” said Wood, who scored all five of his points at the foul line. “He gave me the green light once I showed him I could do it, and I wanted to come through for my team.”
Springbrook (5-0) showed resiliency with its new-look lineup, forcing overtime in a game it trailed almost the whole way. Magruder (5-1) took a 20-18 lead 10 seconds into the second half on senior Justin Witmer’s layup and held it until Springbrook junior Isiah Eisendorf hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 46 with 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Both teams had chances to go ahead in the final 10 seconds of regulation.
In the extra session, junior Andrew Robinson had four of his team-high 14 points and Springbrook scored on five offensive trips in a row to take a five-point lead.
The Blue Devils managed to hold on through some anxious moments in the final minute. The Colonels had three possessions with a chance to tie or take the lead after Springbrook received a technical foul for taking a timeout it didn’t have.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Crowell, who guided Springbrook to three straight state titles from 2008 to 2010. “If we can cut out some of these silly mistakes, we can beat anybody on a given night, but we also can lose to anybody on a given night. . . . It’s kind of a roller coaster.”
Magruder had won 31 straight games since falling to DeMatha to begin last season, but the streak ended against a county rival on a tough shooting night. Senior Nick Griffin, a George Washington recruit, had all of his game-high 17 points after halftime.
“One of the great things about our program here is that they’ve all been together for a while,” Magruder Coach Dan Harwood said. “A lot of different guys could have made some plays here and there, but these kids will handle this well. They’ll bounce back.”