On some occasions this season, the Potomac boys basketball team's toughest competition might come on nights the Panthers do not have games. They could even prop open the doors on practice days and draw a decent crowd for intrasquad scrimmages.
No. 7 Potomac flaunted that depth, and then some, last night in an 82-52 home win over Brooke Point, the team's third victory in five days and one that followed by just 24 hours a thrilling last-second victory over No. 12 Riverdale Baptist.
All 12 Panthers saw significant action long before the score got out of hand last night. In fact, less than midway through the second quarter, the entire dozen had played.
"This is probably the deepest team we've had," said 15th-year Potomac Coach Kendall Hayes. "We've had some deep teams before, but probably in terms of bringing in your 11th and 12th men and expecting them to do what the first five are capable of doing, it's probably the deepest."
Seven players scored eight or more points last night, led by senior forward Jernavis Draughn, who poured in 18 after a 35-point performance the previous night. Draughn also had 11 rebounds. Junior guard Mark Cunningham added 14 points, and Ian Sumers led the bench scorers with 10 points.
Senior Vince Love led Brooke Point with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Cunningham believes this team has more capable players than the 1997-98 squad that advanced to the state tournament. And he said last year's team at times relied too heavily on guard Sherman Rivers, who now plays at William and Mary.
"We probably went seven deep my freshman year," Cunningham said. "[Now] we probably go the whole team deep, really. We're not putting people in just to give starters a breather. They're coming in to score and do whatever they have to do. Everybody looks for everybody else instead of just sitting back and letting Sherman run the show."
"The backup players come in and do the same thing the starters can do," senior guard Anthony Jones said, "so it doesn't really matter who's in the game. Everybody does the same thing."
If all the players continue to contribute, this could spell deep trouble for the Cardinal District, though the Panthers' lone league game, a 66-62 win over Osbourn, was a tight one.
"The depth that we have this year, and the competition that provides in practice, creates better things for us during games," Hayes said. "Everybody who steps out on the floor tends to play very hard, because they know if they look over their shoulder, there's somebody else anxiously looking at me on the bench wanting to come into the game."
Those eager faces were more than window dressing last night. David Coffey, a 6-foot-5 New York transfer with a soft touch who is likely to grow a few inches taller, came off the bench to score eight points, including a crowd-pleasing jam. Coffey also grabbed five rebounds.
The wealth of able bodies helped the Panthers stay fresh enough to come up with 22 steals, five by sophomore guard Gary Price and four each by Jones and senior forward Cameron Kirby, an Elon College signee. That pressure led to a 22-11 first-quarter lead that swelled to 46-22 by halftime.
While the spotlight was shared last night, Monday night it was all Draughn's. He scored the Panthers' final 12 points, including an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer, to give Potomac a 76-73 win over Riverdale Baptist. Draughn, who was 10 of 15 from the floor and 14 of 15 from the line, handed out five assists.
"He's playing the way you want your best player to play," Hayes said. "That's one of those games that every kid dreams of."
Brooke Point (4-2)--Washington 0 2-2 2, Butler 1 0-0 2, Kania 0 1-2 1, Courtney 0 0-0 0, Allen 4 2-2 10, Logan 0 1-2 1, Tryon 5 0-0 10, Tinsley 0 0-0 0, Bratton 0 0-0 0, Love 7 4-6 18, Blake 0 0-0 0, Behrens 4 0-0 8. Totals 21 10-14 52.
Potomac (5-0)--Jones 3 1-2 8, Coffey 3 2-2 8, Price 0 0-0 0, Cunningham 5 1-2 14, Gordon 2 2-2 8, Adams 1 0-0 2, Draughn 9 0-0 18, Kirby 4 0-0 8, Dominguez 1 0-0 3, Harpine 1 0-0 2, Sims 0 1-2 1, Sumers 3 4-5 10. Totals 32 11-15 82.
Halftime: Potomac, 46-22.
Three-point goals: Potomac 7 (Jones, Cunningham 3, Gordon 2, Dominguez).
CAPTION: Greg Gordon fires a jump shot for Potomac, which was led in scoring by senior forward Jernavis Draughn's 18 points.
CAPTION: Potomac guard Mark Cunningham scores two of his 14 points against Brooke Point on a layup.