BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA) -- Montrose Christian is yet again ranked amongst the top teams nationally and locally in basketball. Watch this year's passionate bunch, and there is no question as to why that is the case for the Mustangs this season.
Montrose Christian players are traditionally known for their length and athleticism. Intimidation set in immediately for their Wednesday night opponent, Ceaser Chavez, the moment both teams took the floor. Stifling defensive play was the centerpiece in the Mustangs' 52-30 trouncing of Chavez.
An annual indicator of a blowout in basketball is when each bench player on the team gets the opportunity to check in at the scorers table and confirm his defensive assignment with the teammate he's replacing. Such was the case Wednesday night for the Mustangs, who looked to be trying new lineups against a 5-10 Ceaser Chavez team that most recently suffered a 92-55 annihilation to DeMatha.
To pinpoint the Mustangs' most impressive attribute is a task. That said, Montrose Christian's game against Chavez was reflective of their season thus far, as the team defense displayed by the Mustangs is phenomenal to watch. They have yet to allow an opposing team to drop 41 on them and held Chavez to 30 points.
The Mustangs switch defensive sets constantly, between man and zone with such length the opposing offenses scramble to find a comfort level offensively. Their pride and joy however is a gem unknown to most teams they face and can be heard echoing throughout the gym, "sideline!"
When I asked Baylor signee, Ishmail Wainright about the defense, he grinned before speaking and said: "Sideline defense. When we call that, everyone is supposed to be in help. We're something like a brick wall; all you see is white jerseys. We keep them out of the middle and our opponent on the sideline."
It's a suffocating defense that eliminates post play if the opposition lacks strong guards to get them the ball. Without fine-tuned, efficient shooters, the opposition is usually in for a long game. Just look at some of the point totals of the Mustangs' opponents this season (25,28,29,30) to get an idea of where this team emphasizes its effort on the court.
Offensively, the Mustangs did not play up to their standards in their 52-point outing. Understandably so, as it was their second-lowest point total in a win-all season.
The game's high scorer, Adam Pickett, felt the same, stating: "It was sub-par, wasn't our best effort. Nobody really played well. It was sub- par. We could have played better, " said the Mustangs' leading scorer with 13 on the night.
Head coach Stu Vetter shared the same sentiment, "Offensively we didn't do a good job at getting the ball inside to where our advantage was. We weren't quite as fluent with our ability to work inside out. Unfortunately, offensively we didn't play quite as well as I thought."
When the standards are set as high as the banners that hang from ceilings in the gym at Montrose Christian, it's understandable why there were some areas of concentrated critique in a 22-point victory. With an unbeaten Theodore Roosevelt team around the corner, I'm sure point production will be of greater emphasis in practice before Saturday's 6:40 p.m. game.
Side note: The game will be a part of the 4th Annual Uptown Hoopfest at Archbishop Carroll High School presented by More Than Basketball & S&S Clothing.