The Washington Post

Letters of Interest: Paint Branch backcourt gaining attention


Paint Branch guard Kiara Colston is one half of a talented backcourt tandem for the Panthers. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

The Paint Branch girls’ basketball team will continue its postseason push tonight against Poly in the Maryland 4A North region final, and the Panthers are pinning their hopes of advancing on two young guards who have had breakout seasons in Kiara Colston and Daisa Harris.

Colston (17.8 ppg) and Harris (16.0) have been a productive tandem for Coach Rochelle Coleman this winter, and the backcourt not only has Paint Branch (21-3) on the brink of the state tournament, but the duo should be able propel the Panthers into the same position next year should they remain together.

Colston, a 5-foot-7 junior point guard, has not been held under double figures in scoring this winter, and she gets to the foul line often, hitting 68 percent on 132 attempts. She has nailed 23 three-pointers this season and had 16 points and five rebounds in the Panthers’ 55-42 win over Kenwood in the quarterfinals last week.

“She keeps going the way she’s going, I expect [her recruitment to pick up.] She’s improving in different aspects of the game,” Coleman said. “She’s becoming a leader, her jumpshot is improving, she’s a good floor general, she can get to the basket.…As her game progresses I think people will take more interest in her.”

At 5-foot-5, the sophomore Harris plays larger than her size. She’s a slasher who has saved her best performances for Paint Branch’s toughest opponents this season. She had 19 points and five rebounds against Whitman early in the season, 19 points and six boards against Tuscarora in late December, and 16 points in an overtime loss to Gaithersburg in early February.

Neither have tabled offers yet, but Coleman said a number of schools have attended Paint Branch games this winter – including George Washington, St. Joseph’s and George Mason – and, in the process of scouting Colston, scouts and coaches are also discovering the talent of Harris.

“They’re both having great seasons,” Coleman said. “People are just starting to take notice and see the work that they’re doing on the court.”

In Thursday’s playoff action:

  • Oakland Mills junior Marvin Williams provided a highlight worthy play, and the ninth-ranked Scorpions stayed unbeaten with a 73-45 win over Gwynn Park in a Maryland 2A South quarterfinal.
  • Ermias Nega and No. 20 Wakefield achieved redemption with a 83-76 win over Mountain View in a Virginia AAA state quarterfinal in Richmond to become the first team through to the semifinals. The Warriors will face the Great Bridge-John Marshall-winner in Monday’s semifinals.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 4
The number of overtimes it took to determine two Maryland 3A quarterfinal games on Thursday night. In the East bracket, Centennial received 44 points from Omari Ringgold to hold off River Hill 81-76 in three overtimes, while in the West, seventh-seeded Einstein outscored second seed North Hagerstown 19-10 in overtime to pull an 81-72 upset.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

In case you missed it, Dominion backup tight end/linebacker Rich Tran put together one of the best (or worst) football highlight reels you’ll ever see. Earlier this week, he discussed his creative process with the Post, including his attempts to get the video in front of Alabama Coach Nick Saban.

BREAKFAST LINKS

— Eric Detweiler examines the strategy — or necessity — of short benches on the girls’ basketball teams at Eleanor Roosevelt and Calvert.

— Good Counsel linemen Sam Mustipher and Jesse Aniebonam received scholarship offers from Alabama this week.

— Here’s a look at talented Largo sophomore Abdulai Bundu, who is hoping to propel the Lions’ to a deep postseason run.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Battlefield vs. No. 17 W.T. Woodson at Robinson, 8 p.m.
The Cavaliers (24-4) are fresh off a 75-70 overtime win over No. 20 Wakefield in last week’s Virginia AAA Northern Regional final, but will have their hands full against a talented Battlefield (19-9) team in a AAA state quarterfinal at Robinson.

Have a high school sports question? Start a new thread in our forums and I’ll do my best to weigh in. (Click on ‘New Topic‘ to start your thread.)

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.
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