Springbrook High School boys’ basketball coach Tom Crowell found something to like in one of his Blue Devils’ low moments of the season.
“I tell you what,” Crowell said, “That [loss] might have been the best thing that could have happened to us.”
The ‘that’ Crowell was referencing was a 55-52 loss to Clarksburg on Jan. 17, the Blue Devils’ first in 21 days. The defeat, while having its obvious drawbacks on the team’s record and playoff bye aspirations, can sometimes carry far more benefits down the road. It was a humbling learning experience, and exactly “what we needed,” Crowell said.
He’s not alone in his assessment of the value of a loss. Numerous other teams around the county have benefitted from a setback somewhere along the lines. Though it’s never an enjoyable experience, a loss can produce anything from a boost in motivation, pinpointing a vulnerability, or opening a coach’s eyes how to best scheme against a particular opponent or style of play.
So, what good has come out of Springbrook’s loss to Clarksburg? Four straight wins by margins of 14 (against John F. Kennedy), 36 (Winston Churchill), 37 (James H. Blake) and four (Richard Montgomery) in which starter Isaiah Eisendorf didn’t play and his replacement, Jermaine Ukaegbu, sprained his ankle.
It’s not only Springbrook who has bounced back higher than it had previously been prior to a defeat. After the Coyotes lost to Col. Zadok Magruder on Jan. 6, they tore through Thomas S. Wootton, Northwest, Springbrook, and Bethesda-Chevy Chase and ascended to the No. 6 spot in The Gazette rankings.
Current No. 5 Montgomery Blair dropped a game to Monsignor Farrell out of New York over the holidays and hasn’t lost since, stringing together wins against Churchill (70-54), Richard Montgomery (55-41), Walter Johnson (88-37), then No. 10 Walt Whitman (61-56), Blake (61-52), Paint Branch (64-47), then No. 9 Poolesville (60-41) and B-CC (58-48).
Montrose Christian has fared much the same since being stunned by Takoma Academy on Jan. 6. The Mustangs have put together six consecutive wins following that loss and not a single opponent has come within 16 points of them.
Rockville at Springbrook, 7 p.m. Tuesday
One of the county’s top 3A/2A teams takes on one of the top 4A teams