Girls and Boys at Semifinals, Boys Win State Title

Girls and Boys at Semifinals, Boys Win State Title

Murugi Thande

Nimo Thande, Editor-in-Chief

Thursday, March 10 marked a big day in North Point’s sports history. Instead of sauntering
the halls, attending club meetings, or enjoying a lunch, students gathered in the gym for the
last fifteen minutes of N.E.S.T. to celebrate the successful season of both the boys and girls
Varsity Basketball teams.

“This is too good, this is too good!” Coach Ball exclaimed during the rally. “I got goose bumps,
thank you!” Boasting a 25-0, undefeated record, the boys rank second in the state by the
Washington Post. The girls also had a strong season, entering the semi-state championships
with a 21-3 record and ranking 16th in the state. “This is an epic event,” Biotechnology teacher,
Mrs. Toledo remarked. “It’s a tremendous experience to have both the girls and boys go to
state semi-finals at the same time.”

Six busloads of spirited students made their way to University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s
RAC Arena shortly after school to watch the Eagles face off against Gaithersburg High School’s
Lady Trojans.

After defeating the South River Hawks for their first East Regional Title, the girls were excited to
get in to the game. The team didn’t have much to do to prepare for this specific game. “There
was already enough hype around this game. All we had to do was be here,” head coach
Serpone said minutes before the game began. He wasn’t surprised that the team made it so
far. With a diverse mix of older and younger players, Serpone describes this season’s team as a
cohesive unit. “We are more of a family and that’s what got us here,” he stated.

Although North Point scored the first point of the game, Gaithersburg held a seven point
lead over North Point with a score of 10-3 by the end first quarter. At halftime, the 4A West
champion Trojans held a nine point lead with a score of 23-14.

The Eagles caught up during the second half, entering the third quarter with a 10-4 run and
bridging the gap to a score of 27-24. But the Trojans regained their momentum and entered the
fourth quarter with a 16 point lead on the Eagles. Unable to catch up on time, the Eagles had to
stomach a disappointing defeat with a final score of 62-35.

“We made history by becoming regional champions,” point guard and forward, Kyarra Harmon
said, “Not being able to make it to finals was disappointing but I left everything on the court.

“We didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” Serpone said. Though he was disappointed in the
loss, he was also very proud of the team. “We were prepared, we knew what we were going to
do, everyone watched and evaluated film… we just didn’t take care of business.”

Later that evening, the Boys Varsity Basketball team would provide a different outcome as they
played against Magruder High School at the University of Maryland, College Park’s Comcast
Center.

The Eighth ranked Colonels held a 22-3 record prior to matching up against the Eagles. At the
start of the game, the Eagles played a strong defense until making the first three points of the
quarter. By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles were leading with a score of 21-17.

However, the Colonels caught up within the second quarter. With a minute and thirty seconds
left on the clock, they were seven points ahead of the eagles. But the Eagles regained their
momentum and ended the first half of the game with a score of 34-26.

The Eagles maintained their strong defense throughout most of the second half of the game,
mainly by forcing in the Colonels into multiple turnovers. But by the middle of the fourth
quarter, Magruder had caught up and they were only five points apart.

North Point’s student section’s enthusiasm seemed to encourage its players. As they
chanted, “We are, North Point!” towards the conclusion of the game, the scores moved further
and further apart. The game grew even more intense as the Eagles found themselves ten points
ahead of their opponent with three minutes and fifty five seconds left of the game. Forward
and point guard, Gerel Simmons (’11) scored with fifty-eight seconds left, and point guard,
Edward Mouton (’12) made an impressive dunk with twenty five seconds left on the clock.

The Eagles added one more victory to their perfect record with a final score of 71-56. For the
first time in North Point’s sports history, the Boys’ Varsity team would move on to compete for
the 4A State Championship title.

“I still can’t believe we’re undefeated,” head coach Ball later said in excitement. He’s impressed
with the participation from North Point’s students and fans. “[The] student body has been
unbelievable… it’s awesome!” After drowning out other fans during the regionals and semi-
finals, with one game left, Ball says, “We’re going to need them!”

Ball isn’t surprised at how far this season’s team has been able to go. This year, the team had
been much closer than it was before. To mentally prepare, Ball says that they’ve done a lot
of bonding. “We had team dinners ever since we made it through the playoffs. The Culinary
students would make us pasta and Mrs. Jones named the sauce, ‘Victory Sauce.’” The team also
read stories in the newspaper together and shared personal experiences with each other and
their coaches.

Ball essentially created a family atmosphere- something he says he learned while coaching
Cross Country and has introduced it to the boys’ basketball program. “We’re much closer,

there’s no animosity over who scores what and who plays when. They really care about each
other and that’s the element to our success.”

The 4A State Championship Finals on Saturday, March 12th, made Ball beam with pride once
again as the Eagles defeated Patterson for the title. Over 11,000 spectators watched at the
University of Maryland, College Park’s Comcast Center as the close game between the first-time
State Champion finalists.

The Eagles conquered a very close game with a final score of 76-72, adding yet another victory
to their perfect record. The win marked the first time that the Southern Maryland Athletic
Conference won a state champion title in boys’ basketball since 1972.