Potomac Falls, VA (February 6, 2019) – When you're on the verge of an undefeated season you may not realize just how special is the accomplishment. No matter how long you play, it just doesn't happen very often. You have to appreciate it because it may never happen again.
And so, the Potomac Falls Panthers found themselves with just one game to play and a perfect 20-0 record. Their visiting opponent, the Millbrook Pioneers, was also having a great season. At 18-3 this team presented the final hurdle for the Panthers, and it was no small hurdle at that.
Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.
The first surprise came when the Pioneers hit a three-pointer to open the game. They would sustain close to that margin for most of the first half, with Potomac Falls hanging right there, but unable to take the lead. The home team tied the game once in the first quarter, and had a chance to tie or take the lead several times in the second, but they could not quite get there and ended up trailing, 32-31, at halftime.
How were the Pioneers doing it? Through sheer hustle. They were led by Hadan Madagan, Jordan Jackson, and Noah Thomas. All three players hit key baskets, but perhaps more importantly each crashed the boards hard for follow up baskets. Jalen Jackson, the only Millbrook player with the size to compete with Potomac Falls' Ian Anderson, injured his ankle in the second quarter and was unable to contribute after that.
But, really, you don't get to 18-3 without being really good so no one should have been surprised at all with how the Pioneers played. And the Panthers did not take their opponent lightly at all. They knew they were in a tough match, and they never backed down getting contributions from their seniors in their last game at home while Jalen Coker and Landon Hawes were steady factors throughout the game.
With about four minutes remaining in the contest, it looked like Millbrook was going to complete the upset. They were ahead, 54-50, and controlling the tempo.
And then, all of the sudden, they weren't.
In an amazing 15-2 run, Potomac Falls capped a brilliant season with perhaps their most incredible win of all. Every bounce, every rebound from that point belonged to the Panthers. Anderson was particularly spectacular and his thunderous dunk put a big exclamation on their collective late-game heroics.
Some might say that a loss before the playoffs would have been good for Potomac Falls. But a win like this one just might have been better.
Final score: Potomac Falls 65 - Millbrook 56