Chopticon's season-opening, 82-74 loss to Southern Maryland Christian Academy actually proved a relief. After going undefeated the previous year until the Maryland 3A semifinals and losing only one starter, the pressure to again go undefeated loomed large. The loss released that pressure.
The Braves' only other regular-season defeat, a 66-64 loss at Thomas Stone, was the catalyst for Coach Rich O'Donnell's decision to move senior guard T.J. Carter from shooting guard to point guard. The change allowed sophomore guard Brandon Somerville to develop without having to run the offense and allowed Carter to assert himself as the team's leader.
Chopticon's 61-55 victory in its rematch with Thomas Stone extended the Braves' win streak to nine games and put last year's swagger back into the team's step.
The Maryland 3A South Region quarterfinal with the biggest impact on Chopticon wasn't its 75-56 win over Leonardtown but La Plata's upset of Calvert. The Warriors' victory sent the Braves on the road for their semifinal game and also guaranteed Chopticon would host the regional championship.
Despite severely injuring both wrists in a semifinal game two days before, senior center Terrell Reeves was introduced in the Braves' starting lineup at the regional final against Thomas Stone. He spent the afternoon in the emergency room and trainer's office, played and inspired the team in a 77-64 victory. Reeves hauled in the game's opening tip and scored seconds later on a layup to set the tone.
Carter knocked down a long three-pointer as time expired in the Braves' Maryland 3A semifinal against Randallstown to tie the game at 59 and send it into overtime. He converted a traditional three-point play just seconds into the extra period, giving Chopticon its first lead since the opening half. The Braves' eventual 73-70 win propelled Chopticon to the championship game for the first time since 1973.
150Total points scored by senior guard T.J. Carter in five playoff games. His 30.0 playoff average was second-highest in the Washington area. For the season, Carter led the Braves in points (23.2 per game), rebounds (8.7), assists (5.8) and steals (2.5).
91.4The Braves' winning percentage over the past two seasons. Chopticon finished last season 23-1 and followed with a 20-3 record this season.
31Years since a boys' basketball team from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference has won a state championship. The 1972 Thomas Stone squad was the last