Once Richard Montgomery senior point guard Renzo Farfan and junior forward Daniel Alexander had sufficiently mastered the defensive scheme they prepared for Friday night, the duo was faced with a scenario that, if replicated often enough, could turn the Rockets’ fast start this year into a special season for their boys’ basketball team.
Before No. 17 Richard Montgomery cruised to a 54-31 victory over Kennedy in Silver Spring, its players weaved around the court trying to decipher how to attack. The Cavaliers had finally abandoned their 1-3-1 zone for a man-to-man defense and cut the deficit to single digits again near the end of the third quarter.
But then Farfan and Alexander, the school’s quarterback-wide receiver tandem this fall, locked eyes just like they do on the football field.
“It’s natural. I’ll give him the thumbs up and we just go,” Alexander said.
The ensuing alley-oop lay-in, from Farfan to Alexander, sparked another blowout for unbeaten Richmond Montgomery (14-0, 5-0 Maryland 4A West) and Kennedy (8-4, 2-3) would never get closer in the fourth quarter.
Alexander led the way with 13 points, senior Jinmi Odunlami added 10 points and 13 rebounds off the bench and Farfan chipped in eight points as the Rockets sliced through whatever defense was thrown at them.
“When they had to switch to man, it just gave us a sign that they were uncomfortable and we could take over from there,” Farfan said.
Richard Montgomery again played without junior Nassir Robinson (ankle), its third-leading scorer this season and one of three rotation players Coach David Breslaw has been without in recent weeks. But the Rockets weathered an off-night from senior Nick Jackson (five points) with a ruthlessly efficient offensive attack that saw all five starters score within the opening five minutes of the game.
Perhaps more impressive is the job the Rockets did against Kennedy sophomore Jonathan Mustamu, who entered the contest as one of the area’s leading scorers, averaging more than 23 points per game. He finished with a season-low three points facing Richard Montgomery’s 3-2 zone.
“We knew what he was good at, and we tried to take everything he was good at away,” Farfan said.
Kennedy junior Dexter Pelap tried to will the Cavaliers back into the game with 11 second-half points, but Farfan and Alexander’s connection helped the Rockets put away their hosts.