If you’re looking for a member of the Gaithersburg boys’ basketball team, just check gyms in the Gaithersburg area.
“Most of us are always at the gym late nights,” said Gaithersburg senior Dion Etheridge, “always as a team. . . call each other and ask to go to the gym together. We’ll always end up at the Rio Sport and Health or LA Fitness or something like that.”
For a team bolstered by the addition of Quince Orchard transfer Aaron King and Seneca Valley transfer Geron Braithwaite, the extra team-building time on area courts paid off with a 10-0 start and a rapid ascent to the top of the Montgomery County 4A standings, a starting streak snapped last week by a 61-56 loss to Damascus.
Etheridge and his brother, Trojan junior Tyrik, said the Trojans underestimated the Hornets. Coach Tom Sheahin, in his first season at Gaithersburg after leaving Seneca Valley, said his team was “outplayed and outcoached.” Neither coach nor players would use the absence of leading scorer Anthony Tarke, out with an ankle injury, or a banged up floor general in King, as an excuse. Regardless, Sheahin said his team reacted predictably to the loss.
“We practiced Saturday, a 10 o’clock practice, but I got there at 8:30, told them I’d be there early to give them time to shoot if they wanted,” Sheahin said. “I had 10 of my 15 guys show up.”
Sheahin expects junior Tarke (17 points per game) to return and senior King (10) to be at full strength by the time the Trojans face off with Montgomery County challengers Clarksburg (8-3) and Magruder (6-5) next week. After emerging from a season-opening stretch in which eight of his team’s first 11 games were on the road with that 10-1 record, Sheahin says he’s “really happy.”
He also believes that though Tarke is statistically his team’s leading scorer, he’s got a roster full of players with the talent to hold that title. Braithwaite, the Etheridge brothers, King and Tarke all average 10 points per game or more and have scored 19 points or more in a game at least once. Thanks to all that time in the gym, Etheridge says getting the most out of all that scoring potential hasn’t been a problem for he and his teammates new and old.
“It’s actually very easy to share the ball with everyone on our team,” Dion said. “You know everybody is a scorer. On any given night, we’re not all going to score and put up 20 points per game. So each guy can go out and score when they have to.”