HS basketball notebook: Damascus is driving behind its nightly triple-double threat

    The feat is especially impressive because high school games last 32 minutes.

    “You see it with college players and NBA players,” said the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Mangan. “You’re like: ‘Oh, that’s crazy. How do they do that?’ But then when you do it, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh wow, I guess I just did that.’ ”

    Mangan was a spot-up shooter growing up, but he moved to point guard last year with his AAU team, Germantown Basketball Club. Mangan said accumulating double-digit assists can be difficult, but he and many of his teammates have developed together since they were in fourth grade.

    Mangan has helped Damascus (15-2) enjoy his best season in recent history. On Friday, Mangan didn’t quite get a triple-double, but his 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists powered the Hornets’ 80-70 win over Paint Branch.

    “It’s a lot easier for me because I’ve been playing with these guys for so long,” Mangan said. “I know their tendencies. I know what type of players they are. So I can tell when they’re on, tell when they’re off and need a pickup.”

    New Hope’s national aspirations

    In the winter of 2018-19, in their second year as a program, the New Hope Academy girls’ team lost its third game of the year at the annual Nike Tournament of Champions and then didn’t lose again. The Tigers went on a 25-game winning streak then ended with New Hope as the Geico National Champions.

    Coach Sam Caldwell said that this season has reminded him of that one. The program’s most recent loss came Dec. 20 at the Nike Tournament of Champions. Since then, the Tigers have won 14 straight and now enter the postseason aiming to keep that streak alive.

    They will travel to the National Association of Christian Athletes championship, a 12-team national event in Tennessee this month. After that, Caldwell hopes his team will have another chance to compete in the Geico Nationals in Fort Myers, Fla.

    “All we can do is focus on staying sharp and hope for that opportunity,” Caldwell said.

    One of the things the coach admires most about this particular group is their practice style. With so many scheduling changes this season, practice has become the most consistent and central part of the team’s existence. It is there that they have forged their identity for the winter.

    “When we get into competitive drills or scrimmaging, it can get intense,” Caldwell said. “We have to pump the breaks sometimes because this is a team with people who want to win.”

    Khani Rooths, F, Georgetown Prep. The Hoyas put the Interstate Athletic Conference on notice this week when they earned a one-point win over Episcopal to end the regular season. Rooths did a little bit of everything in the victory, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals.

    Chelsea Calkins, G, Churchill. The junior had 27 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Bulldogs’ 80-21 win over Einstein.

    Ty Bevins, G, Gwynn Park. The sophomore had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Yellowjackets 65-46 win over Fairmont Heights.

    Alayna Arnolie, G, Madison. The senior guard knocked down nine three-pointers and averaged 26.5 points in his team’s two wins, each by 40-plus points, as the Warhawks remain favorites to retain the Class 6 state title.

    DCIAA girls’ championship, 5 p.m. Wednesday at Coolidge

    DCIAA boys’ championship, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Coolidge

    Metro Private School Conference championshiptime TBD, Friday

    Interstate Athletic Conference championship, time TBD, Saturday

    Led by five senior starters, South Lakes turns to playoffs

    The morning after his team’s regular season ended, South Lakes boys’ coach Mike Desmond reflected a bit on the past few months. They had been difficult, sure. But that was mostly by design.

    “It’s been a long, long regular season,” Desmond said. “I think we had one of the toughest nondistrict schedules in the area. And we went out of our way to get it. … We wanted to make sure that our seniors were as good as they could be but we were also baptizing our young guys by fire.”

    The Seahawks are fortunate enough to have five senior starters, all of whom have been involved with the varsity team since their sophomore year: Kyle Tang, Colin Luongo, EJ Finney, Samuel Cooley and Nathan Owen.

    “They’re on the same page,” Desmond said. “There’s times where they joke and kid but they’re also willing to get in each other’s face. They’re friends who have that brother-type relationship.”

    South Lakes finished the regular season 19-2, with one of those losses coming against Concorde District rival Madison in early January. The Seahawks got another shot at the Warhawks last week and thumped them by 39 points.

    Desmond views the game as a sign of growth for the group, especially the seniors. He recognizes they have a natural chemistry that is sometimes best to let alone.

    “This group of seniors share the ball. And they move well without it,” he said. “If we have good energy and we’re communicating and these kids are just out there playing for one another, it can be really fun to watch. Sometimes I have to be toned down just so I don’t get in the way of what they’re already doing.”

    Parkdale picks up where it left off

    When Prince George’s County announced high school sports would be postponed through mid-January because of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, it stopped the momentum the Parkdale girls’ team had quickly built.

    Despite returning just one player from the team that reached the Maryland state playoffs in 2020, the last time the school competed, the Panthers had jumped out to a 4-0 record and were outscoring opponents 271-88.

    “Obviously you understand the reasoning for the pause, but in the moment it just felt like the worst timing for us because our young team was playing at a level that was ahead of schedule,” Coach Lawrence Watson said. “So I really just wanted to keep getting them in the gym so I could continue to mold and help them build good clothes. But with the shutdown, we lost all sense of structure. I had no idea what the team would look like when or if we ever returned to the court.”

    Watson quickly realized his team would be just fine when they earned a resounding 57-41 win over Eleanor Roosevelt on Jan. 21.

    Last week, the No. 19 Panthers fell for the first time, 49-48, at Duval, but they avenged the loss the next night with a 43-41 win in a rematch. Parkdale enters its final week of the regular season with a 13-1 record.

    “I think it really says a lot about our girls that they were able to come back the next night and get that win after losing,” Watson said. “I truly believe that it’s a testament to the work that they put in individually during the shutdown.”

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