The inaugural boys’ basketball season of the St. Andrew’s Summer League ended Thursday with Quince Orchard High School being crowned champions after the Cougars defeated Col. Zadok Magruder, 48-40, in a game where neither team emerged unscathed — because the offenses were not pretty.
Quince Orchard jumped out on Magruder early and appeared to be on the brink of blowing the game out of reach, but turnovers picked up and the Cougars couldn’t quite push the lead into double-digits.
They went into the half barely holding on to a four-point lead.
“That’s us,” coach Paul Foringer said. “That scoring drought, that’s us. We can do it the other way too [and score in bunches]. That’s the way we are, and a lot of that, when you go back and examine the film, the decision making is just awful. That’s what happens.”
The second half played out much like the first half, with Quince Orchard making enough plays early on to secure a comfortbale lead.
But with the Cougars up 40-31, with about seven minutes left to play, Magruder’s defensive intensity began to force turnovers once again.
Tony Giles, the Colonels assistant coach, said just a week ago that the defense is the key to Magruder’s offense, and at that point in the game, it appeared to be the case.
During the next four minutes, Magruder held Quince Orchard to just one point, cutting their lead to three.
But Magruder matched Quince Orchard for a stop-and-go offense was, maybe even more so.
Every time it appeared the Colonels were primed to take control of the game, an untimely turnover or missed open shot would hault momentum.
Quince Orchard made adjustments, including at times, moving forward John Firestein back to his point guard position of last season, with the team struggling to bring the ball up the court. And the Cougars made enough free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“It feels great,” Foringer said about holding the inaugural summer league trophy. “Epecially last year, we didn’t have the great result that we expected. So to win this, it shows that, ‘you know what, I think we can compete next year and be very good.’”
Firestein played with a noticealy black eye that he suffered in their semifinal game against St. Andrew’s Episcopal on Tuesday. But judging by his aggressiveness on the boards and in the offensive and defensive paint, the eye didn’t hinder his performance.
“It was a lot worse two days ago. So, I was like ‘it’s not a big deal anymore.’ So, I wasn’t thinking about it,” Firestein said.
Quince Orchard also won their summer league tournament last year and followed that up with an eight-win season, so Foringer doesn’t put too much stock into the win, but he did see something in this game that can carry over into next season.
“Fighting and scraping and scrapping is the good stuff,” Foringer said. “Playing hard and pulling it out, because we have a tendency — when things get physical, when things get tough down the stretch — to back away. And the other team is scoring and we end up losing. But when push came to shove, they cut it to three and then we pushed it back out to seven or eight and I just thought that was something we can build from. Being able to finish somebody.”
He said he was impressed with the St. Andrew’s league, saying “I thought it was awesome. I thought they did a great job. And the word is going to grow.”