Hornet History


Brian Humphrey

The Damascus Hornets’ 2022-23 boys’ basketball team standing for the national anthem prior to their away game against Wootton.

Chase Carty, Staff Writer

   With last Thursday’s 54-67 loss against the Baltimore City Black Knights in the Maryland State Championship, the 2022-23 season has come to an end for the boys’ basketball team. Excluding exterior tournaments, The Hornets’ three month journey to a historical final-four run included a 19-1 regular season, a win streak that stretched across 70 days and a plethora of highlights from all of the team’s members. The following are 10 specific highlights and talking points from this season that really emphasize how cherishable of a season our boys’ basketball program carried out.

   1 Regular-season loss. As previously mentioned, The Hornets only lost one game over the course of the 70 days, and on average beat their opponents by 20 points. Their one loss was a devastating one, as they came two points short in an overtime thriller against Walter Johnson. This loss didn’t affect the boys as some suspected it would, as they proceeded to blow Rockville out of the first round of the playoffs in a 41-point victory the following week.

   2 in-game dunks for 6’5″ senior Michael Baskerville in our first home game of the season against Poolesville. Our home opener was a thrilling 17-point victory against The Falcons. Baskerville finished the game with eight points and deflected seemingly everything on the defensive end as the lanky forward stole three passes and blocked two shots. His first dunk came off the fastbreak following one of his steals, and the second came from a baseline drive in the half court setting, both of which swung the momentum of the game and caused the crowd to erupt.

   3 triple-doubles for senior guard Peter Mangan. Mangan, once referred to as “The triple-double machine” by Coach Humphrey, was always on watch for a triple-double. His versatile skill set put him on watch for the uncommon feat on any given night, most notably against Magruder on March 2nd where he had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists. He scored or assisted on at least 55 of the team’s 74 points throughout his one-of-a-kind performance.

   4 playoff wins. Over the course of one busy week, The Hornets took Rockville, Magruder, Decatur, and Fredrick down during their deep post-season run. They won these games by an average of 25 points, including the previously mentioned 41-point massacre against Rockville in the regional semifinal, and the nail-biting upset against Fredrick where they scraped out of the state semifinal with a three point victory. 

   5 grueling minutes. On Valentine’s day, The Hornets played a rough first half against the Northwood Gladiators, allowing them to go on a 7-0 run at the end of the second quarter. The boys came out of the locker room with their priorities set on defense for the second half, as they immediately implemented a half court trap on Northwood’s backcourt. Gordon Ramsay would call this defensive scheme “bloody effective,” as they forced seven consecutive turnovers–whether they were steals, passes thrown out of bounds or shot-clock violations. The Gladiators were scoreless for five minutes, and The Hornets proceeded to win 70-30.

   6 ‘6 ” is the height of Damascus’ monstrous center, Conor Shiflett. The senior was a beast on the interior, often showing out on the offensive glass. Referring back to that Poolesville home opener, the big man scored 23 points and pulled 14 rebounds down, eight of which being offensive. He made a huge contribution to the team’s success with his dominance in the paint and hopefully will do the same for Coastal Carolina next year.

   7 30-point blowouts. If it wasn’t evident, we are good at basketball. So good, in fact, that we beat five teams–two of which twice–by thirty or more points. Watkins Mill, Rockville, Northwood, Decatur, and Clarksburg found themselves on the receiving end of a 32-minute-long Hornet beatdown this Winter. In our two games against Watkins Mill, we scored an average of 75.5 points, and won by an average of 44. In both home games against Rockville, we scored an average of 77.5 points and won by an average of 42. Shout out to all the fans (of the opposing teams especially) who stuck around and watched those four games that quite frankly were over before they even started.

   8 decade drought. We are fortunate enough to be able to say that we’ve won a basketball state championship. However, it was back when President Truman proposed The Fair Deal back in 1949, and the game of basketball was played in shorts that were shorter than Will Smith’s temper (shout out to The Oscars). Not only did this roster break history by advancing to the final four for the first time in 74 years, but they created their own record, as they’re the first ever Damascus Boys’ Basketball team to win 25 games in a single season. 

   9 seniors we were fortunate enough to watch conclude their high school careers. This year’s Damascus Boys’ Basketball program included nine seniors. Players Tre Mitchell, Peter Mangan, Michael Baskerville,  Timmy Zalewski,  Dillon Dunathan, Conor Shiflett, Ryan Gagen, and Joey Lutz and team manager Jonah Karp will all be graduating this June, wrapping up their scholastic careers. It was great to watch them do their thing in The Hive, and they’ll be remembered for their historical contribution to Damascus athletics.

   10 Joey Lutz three pointers. Logo Lutz, #44, or whatever else you may call him, our senior guard Joey Lutz was red hot against Decatur, as he shot 10-13 (77%) from beyond the arc in the State Quarterfinal game. Lutz shattered the previous record of seven made threes,  and his 32 points were a huge contribution towards The Hornets’ advancement to the state semifinals, and eventually state championship.

   This season was fun and exhilarating, and everyone in Damascus hopes to see similar success in upcoming years.