By Liam Dillon
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, January 8, 2006
Greivis Vasquez never wants to have that feeling again.
Vasquez, a senior guard and Maryland recruit, missed a free throw that would have tied the game for No. 2 Montrose Christian in a one-point loss to Fairfax (Calif.) in the final of the Iolani Classic last month in Hawaii. The pain has lingered -- every loss is painful for a team with national aspirations like Montrose Christian -- but a 71-57 win over No. 7 Herndon yesterday certainly helped.
"Two days ago we were . . . talking about what happened," Vasquez said. "[Coach Stu Vetter] told me that when things aren't going right for me . . . I can't worry, that I gotta keep myself up and look at my teammates."
Fortunately, Vasquez is in the enviable position of having some very talented teammates.
While Vasquez had a quiet game yesterday, scoring eight points in a dominating win at George Mason University's Physical Education Building, those teammates played as loud as can be.
Senior Kevin Durant scored a game-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds, while junior Adrian Bowie added 18. Durant, a 6-foot-10 Texas recruit, showed his versatility with just under a minute remaining in the first quarter. A Herndon foul barely slowed Durant's thunderous one-handed slam in transition and then he nailed a three-pointer as time expired in the quarter. At the end of the quarter, Montrose (8-1) led 20-8; thereafter, its lead never fell below seven.
Just as impressive was Montrose's defensive effort against Herndon's Oklahoma-bound senior guard, Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds, dogged mostly by Bowie and senior guard Taishi Ito, finished with 18 points -- 11 in the fourth quarter -- on 7-of-24 shooting.
Herndon is also facing top teams from around the nation this winter in an effort to showcase Reynolds. Yesterday, the Hornets (9-4) played their fourth game against a team currently ranked in the top 10 of USA Today's national rankings, published Dec. 13. Herndon lost to Montrose (No. 1), DeMatha (No. 10) and Oak Hill Academy (No. 2), but defeated Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Calif. (No. 7) last month.
"I think [the schedule] was a good idea," Reynolds said. "I don't want to dis on any Northern Region schools, but if we just played them, we wouldn't have been as prepared as we are now. Our goal is to win a state championship and these games will help us get there."
The Mustangs also have a number of top games left on their schedule, culminating with a matchup against Oak Hill on March 4.
No. 2 Montrose Christian 71, No. 7 Herndon 57 Frustrating Reynolds: Herndon had a chance to make the game close in the fourth quarter, but Scottie Reynolds couldn't find his stroke. With Montrose up by eight, he missed shots on consecutive Herndon possessions and Montrose quickly built the lead back to 15. Durant's Versatility: Montrose 6-10 senior Kevin Durant on his dunk and three-pointer within a minute in the first quarter: "I work on every aspect of my game. I had an opening on the dunk, and then they crowded in the paint so I went for the three."