As Potomac’s Devon McDonald checked into Saturday’s Virginia 5A state quarterfinal early in the second quarter, he noticed teammate Elyjah Camp, who just moments earlier had been writhing on the ground in pain, start gingerly walking toward the sideline. The sight relieved McDonald, but his demeanor remained the same. No matter how short his time off the bench would be, the Potomac junior was determined to make an impact.
Beginning with a three-pointer on his first possession and capped by another rainbow three from the wing, McDonald reeled off 10 straight points in a 90-second span, putting the No. 6 Panthers on track for a 72-57 win against Norview at Robinson in Fairfax. The victory avenged last year’s state tournament loss to the Pilots and set up a Tuesday matchup with Albemarle in what will be the Panthers’ third straight semifinal appearance.
“I had to make do for my teammate while I was in there,” said McDonald, who scored 13 points. “So my goal was to just attack and find opportunities for me and my team.”
McDonald’s perfect performance from the floor (3 for 3 from behind the arc and 4 for 4 from the foul line) paced a balanced effort by the Panthers (25-2). Along with outscoring the Pilots 26-7 in bench points, Potomac featured five scorers in double digits.
After McDonald’s second-quarter burst helped the Panthers eventually build their lead to 15 points, the Pilots (17-10) mustered a late push in the fourth period behind the play of sophomore Keyontae Johnson. Hungry for his second state title run in three years, Potomac’s Shamar Johnson soon responded, draining his third and fourth three-pointers of the game to secure the Panthers 13th straight win.
“Today was about redemption for us and finishing what we started,” said Shamar Johnson, who scored 14 points. “We couldn’t let this be our last game again.”
After the referee’s whistle halted Treakle from throwing a one-handed pass downcourt late in Saturday’s Virginia 5A quarterfinal against Deep Run, the Warriors junior swept his arm upward, sending the ball high above for an automatic technical.
With the Warriors nursing a four-point lead, an apologetic Treakle immediately went to the sideline and delivered a promise to his coach.
“I told him I was sorry and that I’m going to get those points back for you,” Treakle said.
True to his word, Wakefield’s point guard knocked down six of his final eight free throws to ice the No. 13 Warriors’ 50-48 win at Robinson in Fairfax.
Wakefield (25-2) will play L.C. Bird in a semifinal Tuesday.
All 10 of Treakle’s points came from the foul line on a night that saw the Warriors trade in their usual up-tempo pace for a more patient style that challenged Deep Run to beat them from the perimeter.
Though the change allowed Wakefield to hold the lead for much of the game, it was the play of Amari Cooper (seven points, seven rebounds) in his first start and timely baskets of Halil Parks (10 points) that helped the Warriors fend off a late Deep Run charge.
“It was different with this being my first start and with the way we played slower, but we found a way to get the best shot and get stops when we needed them” Cooper said.