2022.02.18 Boys Basketball: Stone Bridge @ Potomac Falls

Potomac Falls, VA (February 18, 2022) - The Potomac District came down to this, the top-seeded Potomac Falls Panthers hosting the third seeded Stone Bridge Bulldogs. It was a split decision during the regular season with the Panthers winning the first meeting and the Bulldogs winning the second. In front of a standing-room-only crowd, the winner of this game would not only be the tournament champion, but they would get a top slot in the upcoming Region 5D tournament.

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

The first quarter started fast, but slow. Fast because both teams were on the run, whipping the ball around at break-neck speed and executing ferocious defense. Slow because all of that pace didn't amount to a lot of scoring. Halfway through the period, Potomac Falls led 9-6 and extended that margin to 12-10 as the period ended. For Stone Bridge, Dylan Hundertmark had eight of the ten Bulldog points to lead the scoring for both teams.

Potomac Falls slowed the game down a bit in the second period with a patient offense and a defensive strategy that kept Stone Bridge from their running game. By halftime, the Panthers had steadily extended their lead to five points, 26-21, and seemed in full control of the game.

After the break, though, it was the Bulldogs' turn to take command. The visitors took their first lead of the game with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter and ended the period with a three-point margin, 34-31, over the Panthers.

But the fourth quarter was what everyone came to see. It was a story of star players and huge contributions as Jacob Thomas and Julian Copeland took off for Stone Bridge while Kyle Ables and John Opiola did the same for Potomac Falls. 

Initially, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 36-31, but the Panthers tied it up with four minutes remaining, 38-38. The lead then exchanged hands four different times with both sides of the gym going crazy, and each student section bouncing up and down believing that "they had won."

With under thirty seconds remaining in the game, Ables sank a free throw to put Potomac Falls in front, 46-45. Stone Bridge had a chance from the foul line, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Then the Panthers did the same thing. With four seconds remaining and one last chance, Stone Bridge's final shot fell just short and ignited the championship--regular season and tournament--celebration for the home team.

Final Score: Potomac Falls 46 - Stone Bridge 45 

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