NORTH BETHESDA – The Clarksburg High School boys basketball team finished the Maryland Elite summer league basketball season with an undefeated record of 10-0, the best record in the league.
The Coyotes were able to pull it off with a 58-47 victory over National Christian Academy, another contender in the league, to clinch the top seed in the playoffs.
“As a first-time coach, it feels really good,” said Clarksburg head coach David McCloud. “The guys are following my instructions pretty good, but I really like the idea that we’re playing team defense.”
On the other hand, National Christian finishes the regular season 7-3 and enters the Maryland Elite playoffs as the No. 5 seed, as head coach Vito Buckle’s squad will look to defend their 2021 summer league title.
Many Clarksburg players contributed early on, but Jason Speller-Boyd and Kailen Brown led the way with 11 points.
“They’re good players,” McCloud said about Speller-Boyd and Brown. “They follow instructions well and play very, very tough. They’re very strong basketball players, and I love that.”
The Coyotes looked strong early on, leading 30-19 at one point, as they finished the first half with an 11-point lead.
The second half is when the Eagles showed signs of life and attempted a comeback, as players like Aaron Trought and Tyler Donald hit multiple shots behind the arc.
“NCA is a good group,” said Brown. “They had their little run, too. But I’m just glad we got to pull away and finish 10-0. They’re a good team, but I just feel we were the better team today.”
National Christian cut the deficit to three points, but Clarksburg connected last-minute shots and played defense to stave off a late comeback attempt.
“These guys are putting in a lot of work,” said Speller-Boyd. “I’m happy to see that it shows up. Right now, I feel like we can’t lose to anybody. I want to win States; that’s our goal.”
The undefeated run by the Coyotes is remarkable, considering the team only won three games during the 2021-22 high school basketball season.
“This is a good feeling,” said Brown. “I’m glad because last season we finished 3-24, so it was not good, but now to see how far we came, it’s a good feeling.”
This past April, Clarksburg Athletics hired McCloud as their new head coach, as he hopes to have his team ready for the start of high school season.
“It’s a good prelude to the season,” said McCloud. “It just means that guys are going to be locked into the season and ready to go when November 15th gets around.”
Meanwhile, Trought finished as the Eagles’ leading scorer with 19 total points, including three 3-pointers, while Donald put up 12 points, also hitting three triples.
“They’re a great team,” said Speller-Boyd. “They fought hard. They hit a lot of big shots. I’m just happy that we were able to play defense and get stops, and then turns stops into points.”