Magruder Remains undefeated in Montgomery County; JJ Epps Explodes
Friday night’s rivalry game between Sherwood and host Magruder had everything you would want in a high school basketball game. A gym packed past capacity, star power on both sides, and some jaw-dropping highlights that left each respective crowd base on the edge of their seats.
Scott Bolen was on absolute fire for Sherwood. The senior dropped five 3-pointers, had a couple rim rattling dunks, a huge blocked shot, and even an ankle breaker. But Magruder was so dominant that Bolen’s performance will be on the bottom of the list of things remembered about this game.. JJ Epps showed why he is the quickest guard south of Baltimore, Nick Griffin showed why he is the purest shooter on maybe this side of the Mississippi, and Garland Owens just kept doing what he’s been doing all year long; Getting monster dunks, monster rejections and being the horse that Magruder needs in the paint.
From the opening possession Scott Bolen showed why he is one of the best players in Montgomery County. Bolen nailed a three on the first possession and put on a masterful performance. He got a pair of break away dunks, and was on fire from the perimeter. Magruder put multiple defenders on him but no one was able to slow him down. Unfortunately Bolen doesn’t have the supporting cast that Magruder does. Sherwood played one of their best quarters of the year to open up Friday’s game. Outside of their season opener versus DeMatha it may be the first time this year that Magruder has trailed by double digits. Magruder would use a 19-7 second quarter to turn the tide. In the second half they would cruise to a 66-53 victory.
Magruder is loaded. Every night they have one of four men who can step up and be “the man”. Tonight JJ Epps was the man. For the first time this year he had a size advantage on an opponent. “I was really surprised when they put him on me. I had to take advantage of it,” Epps said about back-up point guard Mike Crooks of Sherwood (Crooks is listed at 5’9” but there is no chance he is taller then 5’2”). At 5’4” Epps is always the smaller man. People say Aquille Carr is the quickest player in the country, Epps can’t be to far behind. He has developed a very solid jumper that can extend behind the 3-point line. He is a phenomenal facilitator and game manager, and has become an incredible finisher. His full arsenal was on display Friday night.
Nick Griffin, who hit 10 3’s in a game a couple weeks ago was lights out tonight again. He connected on four triples tonight, had two offensive rebound putbacks, and a few slashing runners. Garland Owens had a couple monster blocks Friday night to go along with a few big jams. He has continued to work on his mid-range jumper and now shoots it in rythym without hesitating. He is a superb free throw shooter for a big man(close to 70%). The senior is still unsigned and has many potential suitors.
As the regular season is winding down there is one thing on Magruder’s mind. As JJ Epps put it “We have one goal this year, to win a state championship.” There is some competition in the 4A. North Point is certainly the co-favorite along with Magruder to bring home the hardware. Arundel, who was undefeated until last week is in the running as well. PG County’s Eleanor Roosevelt is in the running every year. They finally have their starting point guard Akil Charles back, which enables them to slide Chaun Miller over to the 2. They have multiple bigs, and they play tenacious defense. The 4A will be a fun division to watch in a couple weeks.