Boys basketball hangs on for 63-53 win in Sink Pink game against Whitman

The Rockets picked up the offense in the second quarter to take the lead.

Photo by Matthew Rothmann.

The Rockets picked up the offense in the second quarter to take the lead.

Matthew Rothmann, Sports Writer

On Friday, Feb. 8, the RM boys’ basketball team improved to 14-1 by beating the Walt Whitman Vikings 63-53. Despite many struggles early in the game, the Rockets were able to improve throughout and ultimately pull through to win.

This game was also a particularly special one for the boys as their designated “Sink Pink” game held to raise money in the fight against breast cancer. The RM crowd filled the stands, decked out in pink to support the boys’ cause, and the RM Poms held a bake sale outside the gym to raise even more money.

As the game began, Whitman immediately seized control of the tip and got the offense to work. They ended up scoring the first five points of the game, until freshman guard Ryan Cornish broke their streak, scoring the Rockets’ first two points of the game. Unfortunately for the Rockets, despite a three by senior Djordje Orcev, Whitman connected on two threes by senior forward Jason Lewis and junior guard Josh Weinberg to pull ahead. The Vikings hit a last second shot to put them ahead 18-9 at the end of the first quarter.

After a disappointing first quarter, the Rockets were looking to do better offensively in the second. The Rockets began the second quarter with a 13-0 run, with seven points by sophomore guard Kordell Lewis and six points by senior Miles Gally to put them up 22-18.  After a brief comeback by the Vikings, Orcev made two huge three-pointers, sending the RM crowd wild. The crowd went even crazier after an massive block by Orcev on the defensive end, then a three pointer on the offense. The teams traded baskets for the last two minutes, ending with the Rockets leading 33-27 at the half.

At the start of the third quarter, the first possession for the Rockets resulted in a free throw for Cornish. After a great defensive possession, Gally hit a three pointer to put the Rockets up by ten. That forced the Vikings to call a much-needed time out to discuss their defense. Despite two more baskets from Gally and Orcev, the Rockets’ offense once again struggled to pull ahead. Even though the Vikings did not score until the 2:50 mark, the Viking’s senior forward Brendan Shaver scored the last eight points for the Vikings and the Rockets led 44-38.

At the start of the fourth quarter, it was still anyone’s game. The first possession started with a three by Orcev, though it was quickly matched by Weinberg on the other end. Whitman seemed to be keeping the game close, and when the Rockets were leading 47-43, it seemed like the Vikings got what they needed. After a controversial call against the Rockets, Orcev picked up a questionable technical foul that forced him to the bench. The foul allowed Whitman to sink a free throw, pulling their score within three of the Rockets’. However, the foul also fired up the Rockets and they answered with threes by Gally and junior guard Devon Liyanamana to put them ahead by nine points. Despite a three pointer by the Vikings, the Rockets scored four points off of shots by Cornish and Lewis. The crowd exploded when Gally made two key blocks that forced the Vikings to call a timeout with just over three minutes left.

The Vikings desperately tried to get back into game, but their offense could not overcome the Rockets’ great defense. In the end, Lewis sank four straight free throws to all but decide the game and the Vikings connected on a desperation shot. The game ended with another win for the Rockets, in their quest to further secure their position in the playoffs.

The Rockets’ last home game will be on Friday, Feb. 15 against Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC) High School.