It is a request with which few players would have trouble complying: Would you please be a little more selfish and try to take care of things yourself.
“I’ve heard that from Coach [Matt] Miller for four years now,” Churchill senior forward Thomas Geenen said. “He’s always stressing that I need to look for my own shot. … I took that advice to mind, but it doesn’t always translate on the court.”
The 6-foot-4 Geenen seems to move effortlessly around the basketball court, comfortable taking the ball to the basket, shooting from the outside or, more often, finding teammates in the right spots for their shots. On Friday night, he finished with 12 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists, leading the Bulldogs to their eighth victory in nine games, 70-51 over visiting Bethesda-Chevy Chase in a Montgomery 4A South Division game in Potomac.
“Some games he’s going to get 17 or 18 points and sometimes he likes to distribute the ball,” Miller said. “Overall, hands down, I think he’s the best rebounder in the county. He’s a playmaker for us. Some nights that means scoring. Some nights that means distributing a little more.”
As Churchill (10-3, 5-1) looks to challenge Montgomery County’s upper echelon teams like No. 5 Magruder and No. 10 Springbrook, the Bulldogs’ scoring balance is an asset. Leading scorer Sam Edens, a senior guard, averages 14.3 points per game, but no other player averages in double figures. Last season, Churchill did not have a player who averaged in double figures. And not since the 2009-10 season have the Bulldogs had a player score 20 points in a game.
“Different guys step up on different nights,” Miller said. “But it would be nice to know who it is going to be.”
Looking toward the playoffs – Churchill has not won a regional title since capturing its only state title in 1979 – the Bulldogs know that they must elevate their play. They close the regular season Feb. 21 at Magruder.
“To win by a considerable margin [Friday] makes a pretty good statement,” said Geenen, who is being recruited mainly by Division III college teams.
“Everybody needs to be at their best when we play Magruder.”
For B-CC (8-5, 3-3), losing the game was not the end of the night for first-year coach Dave Breslaw. Center Michael Nyarko and guard Nigel Crayton collided early in the second quarter, with each suffering a cut over their eyes. Nyarko left for Suburban Hospital shortly afterward and while Crayton returned to finish the game, each needed six stitches at Suburban to close their wounds. Also, leading scorer Ghedalia Gold-Pastor went to Suburban with a sprained wrist, Breslaw said.