Ikaresit Ekpuk guard an inbounds pass during Friday’s 6A quarterfinal game between West Potomac and Western Branch.
One of West Potomac’s best seasons in school history ended with a heartbreaking 77-76 loss Friday night against Western Branch in the quarterfinals of the Virginia 6A tournament.
The Wolverines (25-5) rallied from a 12-point third quarter deficit to take a seven-point lead on the Bruins with 3:04 left in the game. But a wild final few minutes saw the Bruins chip away at the lead as three Wolverine starters foul out. Ahead by one point with 33 seconds left, West Potomac turned the ball over and fouled Western Branch’s D.J. Driscoll on a breakaway layup attempt. Two free throws by Driscoll gave the Bruins a 77-76 lead that proved decisive.
Daryl Mackey III led West Potomac with a team-high 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. Mackey also tied for a team high with 10 rebounds.
A Mackey put-back with just under five minutes left tied the game at 61, completing the comeback from 12-point deficit late in the third quarter.
Idaresit Ekpuk had a huge game inside for the Wolverines, grabbing 10 rebounds and finishing with 16 points despite foul trouble in the second half. Ekpuk led West Potomac in the first half with 11 points on 5-5 shooting.
Senior guard Brandan Lisenby also finished in double figures for the Wolverines with 12 points.
The physical contest saw four players foul out, including Wolverine starters Ekpuk, Da’Jon Bellfield and Da’Juan Bellfield.
The game was the final hurrah for five Wolverines, all key contributors: Ekpuk, the Bellfields, Lisenby and point guard Khalil Williams-Diggins.
I Just Wanna Thank All The Fans For Being There With Us During This Amazing Season , Us Seniors Appreciate It and Love Y'all For That #23Out
Even with the loss, West Potomac completed the first season in school history where the Wolverines won the regular season conference title, conference tournament title and qualified for the state tournament. It’s only the second third time in school history that the Wolverines have made states, with the previous times coming in 2016 and 1998.