A couple of losses to begin the season did not keep the McLean High boys’ basketball team down for long. The Highlanders, following a 0-2 start, responded with wins over both Falls Church and Yorktown High Schools to even their early season record at 2-2.
McLean, under head coach Kevin Roller, opened the season at the Woodson High Tipoff Tournament where it lost games to both Paul VI High, 63-43, and Robinson, 74-49. The opener loss to the private school Panthers came against a Paul VI team considered to be one of the elite of the metropolitan area.
Gordon Rogo, a junior guard, led the Highlanders with 14 points in the Dec. 1 loss to Paul VI while teammate Thomas Van Wazer, a junior forward, added eight. McLean actually led the game 16-15 after one quarter before the Panthers outscored the Highlanders 21-4 in the second half to carry a 36-20 lead into the half.
Two nights later, McLean again took a lead – 19-15 - after one quarter against Robinson before a poor second quarter hurt its cause.
The Rams outscored McLean, 16-8, in the second stanza to grab a 31-27 halftime advantage on way to their win. Rogo and Van Wazer were once again high scorers for the Highlanders with 19 and 14 points, respectively. Daniel Lewis, a junior guard, contributed nine points.
McLean, however, got into the win column last Tuesday, Dec. 7 with a 66-41 non-district win at Falls Church. The Highlanders trailed 10-9 after one quarter before outscoring the Jaguars 25-8 in the second quarter to take a 34-18 lead at the half. McLean continued to build on the momentum in the second half by outscoring Falls Church, 32-23, to gain the victory. Three Highlander players – Van Wazer (19 points), Rogo (16) and junior guard Sango Amolo (10) – scored in double figures to pace the guests from the Liberty District. Falls Church, a member of the National District, fell to 0-4 with the setback.
Later last week, in McLean’s season opener, the Highlanders won their second straight, defeating another opponent from the National District – Yorktown – by a 55-45 score. Following a low-scoring 5-5 game after the first quarter, Mclean outscored the Patriots (0-4) by an 18-5 margin in the second quarter to grab control of the contest. Yorktown played well in the third quarter to get within 34-28 before McLean outscored its guests by four points in the final quarter. Rogo led the way for McLean with 15 points while Lewis (11) and Van Wazer (10) also had double figure scoring games. Other contributors in the well-balanced Highlander attack were Amolo (9 points) and junior guard Kevin Lastova (8).
McLean was scheduled to play at home this week on Tuesday, Dec. 14 against The Heights, a private school team from Washington, D.C. The Highlanders, this Friday evening, will host local and Liberty District rival Langley at 7:30. There next after that will be next Tuesday, Dec. 21 when the Highlanders play a Liberty District game at Jefferson.
<b>LANGLEY</b>, the two-time defending Liberty District champion, is struggling out of the gate this season with a 0-4 mark. The Saxon losses, all fairly close, have come to visiting Gar-Field, 59-56, on Dec. 3; visiting Hylton (Woodbridge), 84-76, on Dec. 4; at Robinson, 86-80, on Dec. 7; and home against Edison, 71-66, last Friday night, Dec. 10.
Langley, in the loss to non-Northern Region opponent Gar-Field of Dale City, led 47-42 going into the final quarter before the Indians rallied to win. The Saxons’ top scorers in the season-opening setback were junior guard Daniel Dixon (17 points) and senior guard David Adams (14).
Against non-region foe Hylton in its second game, Langley was in a 56-56 tie following three quarters before being outscored by eight points in the final quarter. Adams tallied 30 points in the loss. Tristan Evans, a junior guard, was also in double figures scoring for Langley with 16 points while senior guard Braden Anderson and senior center Patrick Haddad both had eight points.
In the loss at Robinson, the Saxons fell way behind, 30-15, after one quarter before rallying to get within 62-60 after three quarters. The Rams outscored Langley by four points in the final quarter to win. Four Saxon players scored in double digits – Dixon (23), Adams (20), Evans (17) and senior guard Jeff Cochran (10).