Vikes hang tough, but Potomac
DUMFRIES — With a 13-point lead and full control of their game against Woodbridge, Potomac fell into a funk in the third quarter. They scored just two points over the final five minutes of the period, and that allowed the Vikings to creep within two points of the lead.
Then the fourth quarter began, and the roles switched. Suddenly, it was the Panthers who were scoring and the Vikings who weren’t; Potomac rebuilt its double-digit lead and that was enough for a 53-46 win over the Vikings on Saturday night.
During the Panthers’ rough third — they scored nine points overall while shooting 4 of 11 from the field — some of the problems came on the offensive end.
“When we play Woodbridge, it’s an up-and-down game,” said Panthers’ point guard Reggie Rodriguez. “I thought that we rushed some of our shots and made some bad passes.”
And some of the problems were defensive too.
“We were giving up some easy layups, and we were getting beat,” said Potomac’s Jason Flagler. “We had to step up defensively. They were dragging me all the way out [to the three-point arc], so I couldn’t help. Usually we try and help out our guards.”
By the time the final quarter started, Potomac (15-3) had seemingly figured everything out. The Panthers started out hot offensively with a three-pointer by Bryan Butler and a jumper from Flagler. Butler and Anthony Wimbush added field goals as Potomac outscored the Vikings 11-0 over the first four minutes of the fourth.
In that span, Potomac had opened a 48-37 lead.
“I told our guys we’ll see what you’re made of,” said Panthers coach Kendall Hayes. “Woodbridge deserved to be two points down, they challenged our guys to step up. Then we had a nice run.”
Woodbridge (11-7) managed just three field goals and nine points in the final quarter. Six of those points came from center James Terry, who was able to get free inside for layups.
James Prince, a regular starter for the Vikings and one of their top scoring threats, was one of two starters out of the lineup on Saturday night. Prince missed the game because of injury.
“Any time you lose two starters, it affects the chemistry of the team,” said Woodbridge head coach Will Robinson. “But that’s part of the game. You’re not always going to make the transition.
“I thought we played well, but we turned the ball over too much.”
Woodbridge had 18 turnovers in the game, including six in the final quarter alone. Still, they were short of Potomac’s 20 turnovers.
Flagler led the Panthers with 14 points, despite not scoring in the first quarter. But Flagler was dominant in other areas of the game: He often limited Woodbridge to one shot offensively, grabbing five defensive rebounds just in the first quarter.
Flagler finished with 11 rebounds and a block.
“[One of Potomac’s coaches] told me I dominated the quarter, but didn’t score a point,” Flagler said. “I played hard, rebounded and blocked some shots. They want to see my all-around game, and I want to be an all-around player.”
“He used to get frustrated with himself if he didn’t score for a quarter,” said Hayes. “But he’s matured quite a bit. He kept plugging along, and did all the things he needed to do to win.”