How important is senior guard Danny Jammal to Wootton's boys' basketball team?

In the first three games of the season, Jammal scored 16, 24 and 27 points, respectively. He then had 20 through three quarters of the Patriots' fourth contest before re-injuring his right foot, which he broke last year.

Jammal's scoring represented 41 percent of the Patriots' scoring in their first four games, and through 10 games, with no additional scoring, it still represented 18 percent.

The Patriots (4-7), who started the season 3-1, lost six straight after Jammal's injury.

"He really was a big part of our offense," said first-year coach Tom Lang.

Lang expects Jammal to return tomorrow against Richard Montgomery or the following Friday against Watkins Mill. In Jammal's absence, however, Lang may have found another offensive option.

Monday, in a 65-41 victory over Rockville that snapped the Patriots' losing streak, sophomore Jason Furst scored 17 points in just his third game on varsity. The 5-foot-11 guard had scored 10 total points in losses to Damascus and Churchill after being called up from the junior varsity.

"He was told to shoot the ball or he was going back to [junior varsity]," Lang said. "In the first two games he wasn't looking to score, he was just looking to fit in and not make mistakes. But we don't need anyone else to pass, we need someone who can score."

So Close

Springbrook's 67-64 boys' basketball overtime loss to Paint Branch on Monday was its second in a row and fifth on the season. But the Blue Devils' 7-5 record is deceiving.

Springbrook's losses have come by a combined 16 points. The first three came during the Mount Vernon Holiday Tournament when the Blue Devils were without two starters, and the last two came at the end of a brutal stretch in which they played six games in 12 days.

Churchill's Triple Threat

Churchill has had the lead in the third period of all three of its Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Tier I games, but the youthful team has emerged with only two ties and a loss. Churchill (0-1-2) tied Calvert Hall, 4-4, in its first game of the season, and then tied O'Connell, 2-2, the very next day. In its last game before the holiday break, the Bulldogs were tied with Loyola before the game slipped away in the third period and they lost, 5-3.

"We could easily be 3-0, but we also could be 0-3," Churchill Coach Rob Keegan said. "There were things that happened in those games that won't continue to happen. We've learned a lot from playing in the tight games."

Churchill, which has four sophomores playing significant roles, has gotten much needed experience from a set of triplets: Eric, Brian and Greg Seremet. Eric is a defenseman, Brian is a center and Greg plays on the wing. Senior Misha Panyutin, who plays both forward and defense, has also provided the Bulldogs with some stability.

"They provide great leadership for the young guys to look up to," Keegan said. "The younger guys are all giving it their all; we're getting the effort, so I think we're going to have a lot of wins in the second half."

A Heavyweight Win

For the second time this season, Quince Orchard turned to junior heavyweight Raffi Mnatzakanian to pull out a wrestling victory.

Mnatzakanian came through again for the Cougars, earning a double-overtime championship round victory over Middletown's undefeated heavyweight Andrew Presnell, 4-3, to give Quince Orchard the team title at the Hub Cup in Hagerstown.

Quince Orchard edged Walkersville, 211-209. Paint Branch placed third with 155 points and was followed by Williamsport (149.5), Northwest (130.5) and Damascus (122). Whitman (90) placed ninth, Magruder finished 12th (75) and Rockville placed 18th (44).

Mnatzakanian earned an escape six seconds into the second overtime period and was immediately wrapped up in the arms of Coach Joe Hawkins, who carried the 250-pounder off the mat.

"All I told Rafi is, 'We're not out of it,'" Hawkins said. "I've never been in a tournament as a wrestler or a coach that was this exciting."

Mnatzakanian also earned the decisive win, by pin, in Quince Orhcard's victory at the Beall Tournament in Western Maryland in December.