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A streak, an assistant coach and a floorboard: The 2018 4A West region championship is bigger than just a game

By Matt Cohen

As the students stormed the court following B-CC’s victory over Whitman in the 4A West Section I championship game, I walked toward the back of the gym, following the Barons team down towards the locker room. I approached the back door to head down to the locker room, I heard someone call my name from behind me. I turned around, and saw one of B-CC’s assistant coaches, Dave Thompson.

“Hey Coach,” I said to him. “Your Trojans won tonight.”

“You know what,” Thompson said as he began one of his famous stories. This one was different from ones I had heard in the past. This one had a meaning a little bigger than just a trip to Xfinity.

Thompson attended Gaithersburg High School, where he was a member of the Trojans’s basketball team.

March 14, 1998. Thompson and the Trojans took the floor at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland, ready to take on Oxon Hill in the 4A state championship game. It was a game that turned into an all-time classic. Down 16 points at halftime, Gaithersburg mounted a comeback. In what is still the longest state championship game in Maryland high school basketball history, Gaithersburg came out on top 96-91. It took five overtimes for the Trojans to finally win the game.

As the team came up from the locker room, Thompson took me to the team’s storage closet in the gym. Thompson keeps a bag inside that closet containing scorebooks, clipboards and other items the team needs for its games. Though he had one notable new addition to the bag. Thompson opened up the side pocket and pulled out a small cutout of a wood floor.

Just a few weeks ago, on February 3rd, Thompson reunited with the other members of the historic 1998 championship team, a team that faced long odds to beat the heavily favored Oxon Hill.

Current Quince Orchard basketball head coach Paul Foringer, and member of the 1998 team, talked about the accomplishment at the event.

“As a momento,” Thompson said, “as part of the celebration we were given a piece of the old Gaithersburg gym floor.”

Thompson said he hasn’t told the players anything about the floorboard, that he’s been waiting for the right moment to use it as inspiration. “What I’m going to tell our boys,” Thompson said, “for our Gaithersburg boys back then, this is the floor that led them to victories and all the way to the state championship.” Thompson knows that his team has what it takes to go all the way even without Gibson. 20 years after his first state title, Thompson will be looking for another floorboard, this time, coming from Bethesda. “If we win the state championship,” Thompson said. “20 years later, wouldn’t it be cool to have the same celebration?”

The moment Thompson has been waiting for is now. On Saturday, with the region title on the line, the Barons will face Gaithersburg, the last team inside of Montgomery County to beat the Barons, all the way back on December 15. B-CC committed turnover after turnover in that game, allowing a young Gaithersburg squad to blow out the Barons, winning 76-57. Freshman sensation Jao Ituka led Gaithersburg with 24 points in teh game. Since then, B-CC has won 18 consecutive in-County games, and currently has a 16 game overall win streak. Though B-CC looks like a completely different team than they were then. Revenge is certainly on the mind of the team, but more importantly, a second trip to the state semifinals in four years. Though beating the Trojans would be just that much more special for Thompson.

“This means a lot,” Thompson said of the region championship against his alma mater. “20 years was a long time ago. This is my team now. I think this is our year to win the whole thing.”


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