South Lakes boys’ basketball coach Andrew Duggan talks to the Seahawks during their 6A North regional contest against West Potomac on Feb. 24.
Photo by Craig Sterbutzel.
Two days after capturing its first conference/district championship in a decade, the South Lakes boys’ basketball team continued its second-half surge with a 64-48 victory over West Potomac on Monday night in the opening round of the 6A North region tournament.
After a disappointing 2012-13 season, which ended with a 9-14 record and a loss to Fairfax in the Liberty District quarterfinals, South Lakes opened this season with three straight defeats and fell to 6-7 with a loss to Woodson on Jan. 15. From that point, however, the Seahawks won 12 of their next 13 games, including a 60-59 victory over Hayfield on Feb. 22 in the Conference 6 championship game. It was South Lakes’ first title since winning the district in 2004.
“It was great. I was ecstatic,” head coach Andrew Duggan said. “… It means a lot to me and my family, but I think more importantly it means a lot to the school and our community. They’ve been craving something like this for a long time and I’m just happy our kids worked so hard to get that for the school and people of Reston.”
Duggan’s players were pleased, as well.
“It felt great,” junior guard Brandon Kamga said. “I just felt like the team came together as one. We really bonded together. I think it was really good for the team and got us even closer.”
Senior guard Clayton O’Neill added: “It felt sweet to win the district championship. … Hard work got us there, really --- and practice. Saturday morning practices, they were tough, but it got us there.”
On Monday night, South Lakes earned its first regional tournament victory since 2011. West Potomac pulled within four early in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks outscored the Wolverines 24-12 during the final 7 minutes and cruised to victory.
Kamga led the way for South Lakes, finishing with a game-high 29 points. He showed offensive versatility, knocking down 3-pointers and scoring in the paint.
“It means a lot to me and my family, but I think more importantly it means a lot to the school and our community. They’ve been craving something like this for a long time and I’m just happy our kids worked so hard to get that for the school and people of Reston.”
--- South Lakes boys’ basketball coach Andrew Duggan
“He knows how to get through the defense --- he’s slippery, I guess,” O’Neill said. “He’s real smooth with it. He’s just a great player.”
O’Neill played a solid game, as well, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“Clayton over the last five, six weeks has really become the player we always thought he was going to be,” Duggan said. “He’s playing really hard, which he’s always done, but he’s now finishing and making plays.”
Dre Puryear scored nine points for South Lakes and Zach Pearl added eight.
South Lakes will host Robinson, the No. 2 seed from Conference 5, at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the region quarterfinals.