Col. Zadok Magruder High School boys basketball coach Dan Harwood said this is one of those special seasons where he doesn't have to do much coaching from the bench.
“They know. These kids coach themselves. If they do something, even before I correct them, they're just like, 'Coach, we know.'” Harwood said.
On one end of the Magruder basketball court Monday night, the Colonels worked like well-oiled machinery to move the ball around the court; someone was ready for every pass, wherever it went.
Across the hardwood, Sherwood looked like a team still trying to mesh the old with the new.
After a scoreless first two minutes, defending 4A state champion Magruder cruised to a 69-44 win.
The Colonels improved to 5-0 with the victory while Sherwood fell to 2-3.
“These kids have all been playing together for four years. They have great chemistry. They know how to look to one another, they rarely take bad shots because they trust each other,” Harwood said. “The kids do a great job finding [whoever] is hot.”
Despite the wide margin of victory, Monday was not Magruder's best offensive performance, Harwood said.
The Colonels scored 80 points in their previous contest, a win over Walt Whitman.
But their traditionally stingy defense was on point. The 44 points Sherwood scored were the second-least amount of points Magruder has allowed in a single game this season. Magruder defeated Northwood 62-34 earlier in the season.
“We were not great on offense. But defense is a lot about toughness and these kids are tough. They're relentless and all five kids do that,” Harwood said.
After trailing, 4-0, Magruder went on a 17-3 to close the first quarter.
The Colonels, who counter their size disadvantage to most opponents with ball control and quick passing, continued to steadily increase its advantage and led 36-20 at halftime and 53-31 through three quarters.
Four Colonels scored at least 13 points Monday. J.J. Epps led the way with 17.
Sherwood found its rhythm a bit in a more even fourth quarter, but had dug itself too deep a hole to climb out of.
Joey DeStefano and Brandon Loiacono each scored 10 points.
Coach Dondrell Whitmore said he is not too concerned with Monday's result.
Three of the team's five starters transferred in from other schools this year. The Warriors don't have the same comfort on the court yet as Monday's opponent. But they will, he added.
“[Magruder] has been together for four years and you can tell in the way they run their offense. They know exactly where their best shooters are going to be,” Whitmore said. “We're still trying to add the old with the new and we don't know where our shooters' spots are yet. We will at some point and then we will be a hard team to play.”
Magruder 69, Sherwood 44
Sherwood (2-3) 7 13 14 10 — 44
Magruder (5-0) 17 19 17 16 — 69
Sherwood — J.J. Epps 17; Justin Witmer 14; Brian Coleman 13; Nick Griffin 13; Matt Ricketts 8; Tyrii Jackson 2; Ryan Rucker 2.
Magruder — Joey DeStefano 10; Brandon Loiacono 10; Ellis Dozier 8; Daryl Brown 7; Alec Wheeler 5; Xavier McCants 2; Chris Williams 2.