If the Park View boys basketball team keeps playing this kind of defense, the Patriots won't care when their half-court offense finally clicks.
For the second consecutive game, the Patriots opened the game with a torrid run, sparked by their relentless full-court pressure, to take a nearly insurmountable lead. Potomac Falls made a three-pointer to open the scoring, and Park View went on to score 21 of the next 23 points and coast to a 71-38 rout of the visiting Panthers.
Friday, the Patriots (2-1, 2-0 Northwestern District) scored the first 12 points against Loudoun County and maintained a double-digit lead from the middle of the second quarter. This time it wasn't even that close. If the opening surge didn't deal a death blow to the Panthers (2-4, 1-4), the nearly four-minute scoreless drought from the end of the first quarter to the middle of the second quarter finished them off for good.
"I'd like to be able to do this all year," Park View Coach Ken Edwards said. "But I think we'll face teams that are more used to this. But I'm very pleased with our pressure. They've got the right temperament for pressure. They want to jump on you right away and continue with it all the time."
The Patriots scored most of their points off turnovers and in transition. The only drawback to this quick scoring is that the Patriots have some trouble setting up their offense in a half-court game.
"We haven't really gotten into any offensive set yet," Edwards said. "I think we did it on one occasion tonight. But we've got some quickness with our guards and our big man [center Jeff Schwalm] underneath is doing a real good job for us."
The ease with which the Patriots pressed the Panthers into 33 turnovers was especially surprising, considering that Potomac Falls's point guard, DeMario McCleary, is an excellent ballhandler. But McCleary's teammates often left him isolated in the backcourt, running away from the ball instead of coming back for a short feed. And in the few instances McCleary was able to make a pass, his fellow Panthers looked hesitant with the ball, almost expecting the Park View pressure to collapse on them.
"You can tell when they passed the ball, they were hesitant about it," said Park View guard Nick Smith, who had a game-high 18 points and spearheaded the press. "You could see their eyes get big when two or three guys would be coming after them."
The Panthers' youth and inexperience at the varsity level certainly contributed to their undoing. The entire squad is in its first varsity season and is still getting acquainted with a higher level of competition.
"We need more mental toughness," Potomac Falls Coach Jeff Hawes said. "The kids got a little rattled out there, and that's because they're still young. Sometimes you want a good hesitation because it shows some thought for each pass. But we hesitated, and then we either rushed a pass or [the pass] wasn't a firm, confident pass. This was definitely the toughest pressure we've faced this season."
Potomac Falls (2-4, 1-4)--Lutman 0 0-0 0, Bouman 1 0-0 2, Duff 4 0-0 8, McCleary 4 0-2 11, Embrey 3 0-2 6, White 0 1-4 1, Dowdle 2 2-5 8, McIntosh 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 3-13 38.
Park View (2-1, 2-0)--Brownlee 3 0-1 7, Ramey 3 2-2 8, Schwalm 6 4-8 16, Chew 5 1-2 14, N. Smith 8 0-0 18, D. Smith 2 2-2 6, Lewis 1 0-1 2, Kuhn 0 0-2 0. Totals 28 9-18 71.
Halftime: Park View, 33-17.
Three-point goals: Potomac Falls 5 (McCleary 3, Dowdle 2). Park View 6 ( Chew 3, N. Smith 2, Brownlee).
CAPTION: Park View defenders Matt Brownlee, left, and Jeff Schwalm trap Potomac Falls's Ian Duff.
CAPTION: Donavan Almand of Potomac Falls dribbles the ball past Park View's Charles Ramey, but the Panthers were harassed into 33 turnovers.
CAPTION: Park View's Matt Brownlee, center, grabs the ball from Potomac Falls's Jason Lutman, left. The Patriots burst to a 21-5 lead and never looked back.