By Matt Cohen
After one of the most successful seasons for the B-CC girls and boys basketball teams in recent memory, the playoffs have finally arrived. Both the boys and girls teams enter the postseason with high expectations following a regular season that featured a number of firsts for each team. Below is a review of each team’s regular season, and a preview of the playoffs to come.
The Barons enter the playoffs as the number one seed in their section. B-CC finished the regular season with a 19-3 overall record, and a 4A South division title, going 8-0 in the division. All of the accomplishments for the Barons are a first under head coach Sean Tracy.
B-CC started the year slowly, with a 3-2 record, including blow out losses to both Springbrook and Gaithersburg. The Barons were a turnover machine in those first five games, and B-CC simply didn’t look like the team they were expected to be in the preseason.
Though when facing Bullis, everything changed. B-CC played a near perfect game without center Gordon Gibson, and upset Bullis. It was in that game that the team appeared to click.
With the exception of a winter break tournament loss to Shawnee (NJ), B-CC hasn’t lost since playing Gaithersburg in December. The Barons finished the year with a 16 game in-County win streak, and a 14 game overall win streak. This streak propelled the Barons to the best record in Montgomery County this year.
Every member of B-CC’s starting five has produced this season, and each are averaging double-digit points per game, led by Gordon Gibson’s 13.6 points per game. However, Gibson has missed two straight games with a concussion. His status for the postseason may change day-by-day. If Gibson can’t play, then Miles English will be forced into a larger role. B-CC has been able to still play at a high level without Gibson, having beaten both Bullis and Richard Montgomery without him.
The Barons will be the one seed in a section that is noticeably weaker than prior years. After a first round bye, B-CC will likely face Einstein with a trip to the section final on the line. The two seed in the section, Whitman, is in the midst of a down year. B-CC defeated them handily in both contests between the two in the regular season.
However, since upsetting Paint Branch in double overtime, the Vikings are clicking, and playing their best basketball of the year. Kennedy is the three seed, though Whitman will likely defeat the Cavaliers, and set up a game against B-CC in the section final.
If the Barons advance out of the section, they will face the winner of the brutal 4A West Section II, which features Northwest, Gaithersburg and Richard Montgomery. B-CC would likely be expected to win against all three of those teams, especially having defeated Northwest and RM in the regular season. Two seed Gaithersburg is the favorite to advance to the regional championship game.
B-CC has a better team this year than the one that advanced all the way to the state final in the 2014-15 season. With a weaker region than in the past, the Barons will be a favorite to return to Xfinity. If the Barons do advance to the state semifinals, they will likely see defending state champion Perry Hall, which will be by far the Barons biggest challenge to that point in the playoffs. Though the Barons were heavy underdogs in the state semifinals just a few years ago, and we all know how that turned out.
Like the boys, the B-CC girls basketball team entered the 2017-18 season with high expectations. Led by one of Montgomery County’s best players, Caitlyn Clendenin, this season appeared to be one where B-CC would finally get over the hump.
As expected, Clendenin has been fantastic for the Barons, especially inside, while Charlotte Lowndes has provided excellent knock-down three point shooting all year long. The senior duo can put up points in a hurry. Clendenin is averaging 16.6 points per game this year, while Lowndes is averaging 11.2. This season, Clendenin has 10 double-doubles.
The girls did start the year slowly however, with a 1-2 record. However, those two losses came against Paint Branch and Poolesville respectively, both of whom are one seeds, and Poolesville is undefeated. Though B-CC rebounded from that start in a big way, going 17-2 for the rest of the season.
While never cracking the Washington Post top 20 rankings in the regular season, B-CC produced a strong resume. The Barons defeated Bullis, a team ranked in the Washington Post top 10 at the time as well as handing another Washington Post top 10 team, Richard Montgomery, its first loss of the year on the regular seasons’s final night.
The 2017-18 season featured first after first for head coach Ryan Ingalls’ Barons. B-CC won the 4A South division for the first time in her tenure, and clinched the one seed in the section for the first time with Ingalls at the helm. B-CC also defeated arch-rival Whitman for the first time since the 2010 season.
Though while the 4A West region for the boys is somewhat down this year, it is loaded on the girls side. B-CC will have an extremely difficult path to get to the state semifinals.
After a first round bye, the challenge starts immediately, as Whitman will more than likely be the team facing the Barons. If B-CC wins that game, they will likely face the winner of Walter Johnson and Churchill, two very strong teams. It gets even harder from there as if B-CC advances out of the section to the regional championship, they will likely see RM again. If B-CC defeats RM again, they will be expected to see state title favorite Howard in the state semifinals.
The girls basketball team has a very difficult path in front of them, though with a player of the year candidate on their team, a deep run is certainly possible.
While it may seem crazy to think both the B-CC boys and girls teams can get to the state semifinals at least, it isn’t as absurd as it sounds. B-CC has achieved levels of success this year the school frankly hasn’t ever seen. While neither the boys or girls are heavy state title favorites, they both seem to have a chance at making an upset in the the state semifinals, and maybe make a fight in a state title game, just like the Quince Orchard boys team last year. The playoffs are about to begin, and so too is a run for the Barons.