Eric Hoadley just smiled and shrugged as he jogged toward the bench with teammate Charles Porter laughing and checking in for him. With 58 seconds left in the third quarter of Quince Orchard vs. Frederick High School game in the Montgomery County Frederick County Challenge at Tuscarora, Hoadley was finished for the night.
On Thursday, Robin, as coach Paul Foringer dubbed Hoadley afterwards, had outdone Batman (Porter).
It took less than 24 minutes for Hoadley to inflict 21 points of damage to the Cadets en route to an easy 83-49 victory over the cross-county opponent, boosting the Cougars' winning streak to five after they had lost their first two.
“I want them to develop a killer mentality,” Quince Orchard coach Paul Foringer said. “Where we get a lead, we have our foot down on somebody's neck, we need to step down, not let it off, coast in. So tonight, I thought the guys that went in, the backups — even the backup guys played there at the end, the last four or five minutes, they just kept the pedal to the metal.”
Much to Foringer's pleasure, Hoadley and the Cougars had a lead foot on Thursday. But what was it exactly that had Porter, the team's leading scorer on the season who finished with 20 on the night, chuckling as he checked in for his sharp-shooting teammate? Hoadley had just executed a sequence where he hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key, snagged an errant pass at mid-court, took two dribbles, pulled up from a good five feet from beyond the arc, and swished another.
“I hit my other one so I kind of figured, 'Well, I might as well,'” said Hoadley, who has now hit 22 3-pointers on the year, 10 in the last two games. “I did it the last game, too. I did the same thing. If I hit the first one they said I can pull the second one, if I'm hot.”
Oddly enough, in a game where Hoadley was torrid and the Cougars put up a season-high 83 points, it was the defense that sprung them loose. Midway through the first quarter, with the game tied 12-12, Quince Orchard turned up the pressure, advancing its suffocating half-court trapping defense to a full-court, airtight vacuum of turnovers and misguided passes. Frederick began handing the ball over to the Cougars for easy transition buckets and Quince Orchard jumped out to a 22-14 lead.
“They came out and they were aggressive right from the start,” Frederick coach Greg Schreiber said. “We knew that they were going to trap and press us all over the court and they did a great job of doing that and forcing us into turnovers and then on the offensive end they converted — they finished plays and they made their foul shots. They definitely did what you're supposed to do.”
The break between quarters didn't save the Cadets as they continued surrendering turnovers through the better part of the half. Quince Orchard went on a 22-6 run before Frederick devised a way to steadily break the press but by then the game was nearly out of reach. The Cougars led by 16 at one point in the second quarter, stretched that to 20 four minutes into the third, and extended it to 30 before the start of the fourth.
“I don't think anybody has ever faced a defense the way we play defense,” Foringer said. “And no matter how great of an athlete you are, every time you turn around there's somebody nipping at your shoestrings or your knees because we can reach. It's difficult.”
Leading the way for Frederick were Justin Walker and Jonathan King, who finished with 13 points each on a combined 11 of 16 shooting. Eleven players scored for Quince Orchard.
Quince Orchard 83, Frederick 49
Quince Orchard (5-2) 22 21 25 15—83
Frederick (2-4) 14 15 6 14—49
Quince Orchard—Eric Hoadley 21; Charles Porter 20; Andrew Fink 8; Chris Wilson 6; Miles Davis 6; Matt Shirvani 6; Will Costa 6; Jake Seiniger 5; Colin Jones 2; Tobin Pagley 2; Perry Konecke 1.
Frederick—Justin Walker 13; Jonathan King 13; Jonah Meredith 7; DeMorae Townsend 7; Alex Levine 3; Minase Shiferaw 2; Javon Taylor 2; E.J. Wallace 1.