The Boys Varsity Basketball Team beat Sandy Spring Friends School 76-65 on Saturday evening to win the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC) Championship. Go Lions!
Just when it seemed as if Bryan Knapp had done everything, as if there was nothing more he could do to win a basketball game, he planted his right foot into the hardwood and took off.
For 31 minutes Knapp was a scorer, a defender, a distributor and a rebounder for Jewish Day. But for this critical play, with the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference hanging in the balance, he was a wide receiver running a fly pattern into the open floor. Nadav Kalender lobbed the pass, and Knapp caught it over his shoulder and converted a layup through contact to put the Lions permanently ahead in a 76-65 win over Sandy Spring in Rockville on Saturday night.
Knapp, who is signed to play at Cornell next year, finished with a game-high 40 points. The Wildebeests (24-7) were led by Malakai Parker's 27 points, but they weren't enough to edge Jewish Day (24-3).
"It means everything. It just really means everything," Knapp said. "We worked so hard for this, and I just couldn't be happier for this win for all the seniors and the whole team."
Knapp started a bit slow but had 23 points by halftime. He collected them by rising up off the dribble, cutting into open space and canning catch-and-shoot threes. But the game was still tied at 31 at intermission, in large part because of Parker's four first-half threes, and Knapp challenged his team at the break.
"I told them that we were playing horrible and that it was still tied," Knapp said. "So if we just fixed our stupid mistakes, we'd be able to win the game."
His teammates responded by involving themselves in the offense. Daniel Zweben scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, Kalender netted 10 of his 14, and Knapp applied the finishing touches.
Holding a one-possession lead in the final minutes, Knapp danced around Sandy Spring defenders to kill time. Then he deftly cut backdoor for a reverse layup, converted off Kalender's football pass and added two more points at the buzzer for good measure.
After a hoard of Jewish Day fans mobbed Knapp at midcourt, Lions Coach David McCloud pulled his star player into a bear hug by the team's bench.
You did it," McCloud said, leaning close into Knapp's ear. "You wanted it, and you did it."