The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Boys basketball overcomes late season woes, claims regional title

Ari Fine
Wilson and the boys basketball team celebrate around the regional championship trophy.

It was hard for senior guard Dante Mayo to hear himself think inside the Kennedy HS gym. Between the booming speakers above, the rowdy Kennedy student section, and the sold-out crowd, the Rockets had to silence the gym with their play on the court. And with a 58-49 win over the Cavaliers, the Rockets accomplished just that. 

Four years after their hopes of winning a state title were thwarted by the outbreak of COVID-19, the boys basketball team is finally back in the state quarterfinals. The Rockets win in the regional championship on March 5 claimed their first regional title since 2020, setting up a quarterfinal game against Bowie HS on Friday. 

Senior guard Dante Mayo led the scoring for RM, finishing with 18 points in what could’ve been his final game in an RM jersey. “The noise and cheering made it difficult for us to hear each other, but I loved it,” Mayo said. “It was really encouraging and I feel like we feed off of the energy that the crowd brings. It makes it even more rewarding to win the game when we have a lot of students there to watch us, too.”

Senior Dante Mayo celebrates after hitting a deep three-pointer. (Ari Fine)

Backcourt duo junior Khalil Wilson and sophomore Tavares “Boogie” Vaughan-Cooper combined for 28 points.

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The game started low-scoring as both teams were vying to get settled into the pace and intensity of the game. Vaughan-Cooper’s floater in the last second of the first half extended the Rockets’ lead to seven, but Kennedy, a team that put up 80 points the last time these two teams played, quickly rebounded early in the third quarter and cut the deficit to three. 

Going into the fourth, RM held an eight-point lead over the Cavaliers after closing out the third on a 9-2 run. Throughout the game, the size of Kennedy had caused some rebounding troubles for the quick but undersized Rockets, forcing Coach Breslaw to play his bench after a couple of starters got into foul trouble. The Cavaliers in the fourth quarter had many second-chance opportunities off rebounds but were only able to convert a few, allowing the fast-paced Rockets to get out in transition and score quickly. 

Practices before these games are always more intense and everyone is more locked into the goal of winning.

— Dante Mayo

Wilson was clutch from the charity stripe in the second half, knocking down five in a row late to help put the game away for RM. Two unforced turnovers from Kennedy led to two tough finishes at the rim from Vaughan-Cooper, extending the Rockets’ lead to seven with under two minutes remaining, which meant the Rockets were able to start their on-court celebration early with 30 seconds still left on the clock. 

Junior Khalil Wilson stares down the basket before taking a free-throw. (Ari Fine)

At one point in the season, it didn’t look like RM would even earn a home playoff game after they lost five of their last seven games. But after ending their season with a win over rival Rockville HS, RM has now won four straight and have reemphasized the foundations of the game during practices. “We stayed focused and built on the things we had already been doing well,” Mayo said. “Practices before these games are always more intense and everyone is more locked into the goal of winning. There’s also more of a focus on the technical part of the game instead of us just playing, which helps prepare us for the game.”

The Rockets will now travel to Bowie HS on Friday for the state quarterfinal. RM enters as the sixth seed in the state playoffs as each team is reseeded based on winning percentage after the regional playoffs. If the Rockets win, they will play the winner of Whitman and Laurel in the final four.

“My emotions after winning regionals were very high,” Wilson said. “I’m excited to get a chance to play in the state playoffs and it was a big achievement as a team because we’ve worked hard for this.”


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About the Contributors
Ari Fine
Ari Fine, Sports Editor
Junior Ari Fine is in his third year on The Tide and second as Sports Editor. As Sports Editor again, Ari hopes to continue to innovate the section and be creative with layout designs. In his free time, Ari enjoys going on runs and playing lacrosse with friends.
Emma Tyser
Emma Tyser, Sports Writer
Junior Emma Tyser is a beat writer for underrepresented sports at RM. She has previous experience in creative writing, and is currently copy editor for the schools yearbook. Besides writing, she is either on the track or spending time with her family.