2022.02.16 Boys Basketball: Stone Bridge @ Independence

Ashburn, VA (February 16, 2022) - As this Potomac District semifinal was set to begin, virtually nothing separated the visiting Stone Bridge Bulldogs and the home standing Independence Tigers. Overall records? 16-5. District records? Well, Independence was one better, 7-3 as opposed to Stone Bridge's 6-4.

Having beaten the Bulldogs in both regular season meetings, the Tigers had earned a confidence edge. But Stone Bridge was on a three-game winning streak--including a first round win over Woodgrove--so they had their own momentum coming in.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

The game opened with a crazy, wild, physical pace with both teams racing up and down the court so quick that it was hard to keep track of what was happening. Stone Bridge's offense, orchestrated brilliantly by the darting Dylan Hundertmark, had the first quarter lead. But his counterpart, Alexander Bokman, was just as quick, and when he nailed a couple big three's early in the second quarter the Tigers were back in the game.

About midway through the second quarter it was clear that the breakneck pace could not be sustained for the whole game--by either team. Both went into a perimeter passing game to try to draw the opposing defense away from the basket. More patient offense meant less scoring, but gave the teams energy for what was to come, and Stone Bridge held a slim lead to end the half, 30-28.   

In the third quarter, Stone Bridge started to extend the lead, but gradually Independence inched back into the game. And the Tigers took their first lead of the game, 41-40, with 1:20 left, extending it to 44-42 as the teams headed into the final stanza.

And then things really got wild. When Tigers forward Julien Randolph threw down two monstrous dunks--pushing their lead to nine points--it looked like Independence had cemented a huge win. But both times, the Bulldogs were energized. After the first one, Stone Bridge scored five straight points. And after the second one, they went on an amazing tear--powered by Jacob Thomas' high-flying aerial game--to thunder back and finish the win in stunning fashion. In the final three minutes  they went from four points down to eight points up in a game that for all intents and purposes had already been won by Independence. 

Stone Bridge advances to the final to play top-seeded Potomac Falls while Independence has one more chance to qualify for regionals if they can beat Riverside on Friday night.

Final Score: Stone Bridge 68 - Independence 60 

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