Boys,Girls Fall to County Champs Churchill, both teams look to the future
May 11, 2023
After a season filled with high-scoring games, record-breaking performances, and hard-fought defeats, both Richard Montgomery teams had their season ended by the Rocket’s cross-town rival Churchill in the second round of the MPSSAA playoffs. While these were devastating losses, both team have bright futures and rising stars.
Rockets finish season with hard-fought loss, high hopes for future
The Richard Montgomery Rockets’ basketball season came to an end on Tuesday, Feb. 28, with a tough loss to the Churchill Bulldogs in the semifinals of 2023 MPSSAA Boys Basketball 4A West tournament. The final score of the game was 64-57, and while the Rockets put up a valiant effort, it was simply not enough to secure a victory.
Despite the loss, the Rockets had an impressive season, finishing with a record of 13-10. The team had an up and down start to the season, winning five of their first six convincingly but followed those games up with three straight losses. However, they bounced back and eventually ended the season with four straight wins before the season-ending loss against Churchill in the second round of the playoffs.
One of the highlights of the Rockets’ season was a thrilling 59-53 victory over rival B-CC High School in the first round of the playoffs. In that game, the Rockets were down early in the first half, but continued to fight back and eventually closed the game, making clutch free throws and defensive stops to put the score out of reach for B-CC.
The Rockets’ season had its highs and lows, but they showed resilience and determination throughout. Head Coach David Breslaw made sure the team was always ready to compete and instilled a strong work ethic in his players.
While the Rockets may be disappointed with their early exit from the playoffs, they should be proud of what they accomplished this season. They fought hard in every game and played with heart and passion. This season may be over, but the future looks bright for the Rockets, with several key players returning next year.
Throughout the season, the team kept a strong mentality realizing there was always another opportunity to make a play. “[The team] focused on one game at a time and continued to play the games at a high tempo,” Fin Shiddiq said. Although Shiddiq is a senior and won’t be returning to the team next season, he believes that they “built something special this year”.
“I hope the returning players continue to build on what they started this year,” Shiddiq said.
Girls Basketball dominates down the stretch, falls to state runner-up Churchill in semifinals
The girls varsity basketball team blasted off into the playoffs and won their last 10 games of the regular season to close out their dominant 16-5 season. They started the season with a blowout win over Rockville 71-23, then a close win against Quince Orchard 44-31, before holding Watkins Mill to just nine points in their third win in a row. The girls then took close losses to Wootton, BCC and then an 18 point loss to Whitman. The Rockets kept their win rate just above 50% for the next five games, taking off with a win against Blair that would start their 10 game winning streak to carry them into playoffs. In those 10 games the girls won by an average of 22 points, outscored their opponents a total of 533 to 316, and averaged 53 points as a team per game.
Along with the team’s success, Rockets head coach Michael Oakes hit the milestone of 100 career wins this season.
“[It] was a great opportunity to reflect on all of the incredible athletes I’ve been able to coach during my time at RM,” Oakes said.
His success continued as the season went on and the girls won their last nine regular season games and one playoff game. “Our 10-game winning streak reflects the growth of the team throughout the season. We never stopped improving individually or collectively, and that paid off during the second half of the season,” Oakes said.
Before each game, Coach Oakes reminded his players to play hard and to try to control the game and for 16 games, the girls did just that. He capped off the season with his favorite memory from this year, the 40-30 playoff win against Whitman on Friday, Feb. 25. “The team played with so much resilience and determination,” Oakes said. “We just refused to lose,”
This year’s girls team had a younger core than typical for varsity teams. With just two seniors on the squad, it’s safe to say that the team is being left in good hands. One of the young stars on the team is freshman Katie Diao. With her smooth handles, Diao was able to dribble hard to the basket for big points or create space and make a pass to a teammate.
Diao has been playing basketball since the first or second grade, so she has brought a lot of experience to the team. However, being a freshman on varsity is no easy task, but Diao says the other girls made it easier for her.
“Being a freshman on the team was a little intimidating at first but the team was really welcoming, and I’m really grateful for that,” she said. Diao had to get used to the playstyle of the team because it was different from what she was used to on her club team, but clearly she was able to adapt, breaking the freshman scoring record this season, dropping 300 points.
Just like her coach, Diao’s favorite moment from the season was the playoff win over Whitman. “We lost to them the first time, so it was awesome to see the growth of our team,” Diao said.