Great Basketball Rivalries (Editors’ Pick)
Magruder vs. Springbrook (boys)
These schools may compete in different leagues—Magruder is in 4A West, Springbrook is in 4A East—but they have had the top boys’ basketball programs in the county for so long that their rivalry is a given. Magruder coach Dan Harwood has led the team for 25 years and won state championships in 2001 and 2012. Springbrook won three straight state titles from 2008 to 2010 under Tom Crowell, who retired after last season and was replaced by assistant Darnell Myers. “It seems like Magruder’s always the team we have to beat,” Myers says.
Bullis vs. Georgetown Prep (boys)
Bullis coach Bruce Kelley and Prep coach Herb Krusen have been friendly since they were assistants at opposing colleges years ago. Says Kelley: “We’ve played rec ball together. We’ve had beers together. He’s a good dude.” Krusen has been at Prep five seasons, and despite several close games, he has yet to beat Kelley. That might change this winter: Bullis, which beat Prep in the final seconds en route to winning last year’s Interstate Athletic Conference tournament, graduated six of its top seven players last year.
Walt Whitman vs. Churchill (girls)
Churchill crushed Whitman 50-18 in the 2009 county playoffs, but Whitman returned with a victory in the 2010 regional semifinals. That was the first year at Churchill for coach Kate McMahon, whose program is a family affair. Her father is one of her assistants, her mother is the scorekeeper and her sister is the public address announcer. When the teams face off this year, keep an eye out for Whitman sophomore Abby Meyers, who helped propel the 2013-14 squad to the state championship game. Also worth noting: Churchill star Japria Karim-Duvall plays on a summer league team with four players from the Whitman roster.
Good Counsel vs. St. John’s (girls)
After going down 13-0 to heavily favored St. John’s (whose roster included Marissa Coleman, who now plays in the WNBA), Good Counsel won the 2005 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship by three points. In the years since, the rivalry has only grown more intense—the teams met in the WCAC championship in 2011, 2012 and 2013. “The gyms are always more packed when it’s St. John’s vs. Good Counsel,” St. John’s coach Jonathan Scribner says. “The girls have all known each other for years.”