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Bocce on a roll to their first state championship

Simone+Lowenstein+uses+laser+focus+to+roll+his++bocce+ball.
Simone Lowenstein uses laser focus to roll his  bocce ball.

Simone Lowenstein uses laser focus to roll his bocce ball.

Simone Lowenstein uses laser focus to roll his bocce ball.

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Bocce has been the talk of winter sports at Springbrook, and rightly so. They were able to add a banner to the gym in 2014 with their first Division Championship, and haven’t been able to stop adding numbers to it in the act of being Division Champions three years in a row! The team loss their two captains last year, but that didn’t seem to stop the team at all as they continued to perform at a high level.

MCPS introduced bocce ball as a winter sport in the 2012 season and head coach Doug Remer has been coaching ever since. Each year, Remer has taken the team to the county championship and hasn’t missed a beat. But it wasn’t an easy ride to the Championship this season for the Blue Devils. They got off to a rocky start losing to rival Paint Branch in their first game. Fortunately, they were able to turn it around quick and were able to beat Paint Branch later on in the season in a breath taking 2-1 win.

One week after beating the Panthers, they were headed to the Division Championship as the #1 seed. Their first game was against Magruder in the semifinal, and boy it was breathe taking. The Blue Devils went down big late to the #4 seed. With such little time Coach Remer said he honestly gave up.

“That was the first time in my coaching career that I thought we were done. And that’s what the best part was, the team didn’t feel that way. The team actually picked me up for once, which is something I will always remember because looking at the scoreboard and looking at the time I thought we were done and I was trying to figure out ways to tell everyone that we loss in the first round, but the team was resilient.” Remer said.

The team found a way, out of no way, and fought back to win in the last frame.

“That was definitely the best moment of the season because even I thought we were out and I never think that. And it was definitely an eye opening moment for me,” coach said.

And guess who they had to play in the division championship.. No other team than the team that beat them in their first game and the team they beat just a week earlier, the Paint Branch Panthers. The team, with momentum, went into the final and rolled over the Panthers in two games to take home the Division Championship while securing a County Tournament spot as well as a State Tournament spot. Coach Remer went on the say that he thought this season was one of the best, if not the best, because of how many points they scored throughout the season.

“We ran off and finished the season winning 13 of our last 16 games. And then coming into that playoff game and being down so far, but then overcoming it for the third straight division title that’s not coachable. That’s something that a whole bunch of athletes decided they wanted to do. And in the past we’ve had great players as well, but this team has that special fight in them,” said Remer.

One week later, the team walked in as the #1 seed in the County Tournament. The team took on the undefeated Wheaton Knights in the first game of the day, and fell short dropping the game. But Coach Remer really didn’t think his team played bad.

“The team we faced was hot. It happens in every sport, where you go against a team and it’s their time to win. And now we have to go into the States like we’re the team that everyone needs to beat,” Remer said.

The next two games the Blue Devils beat Clarksburg to go into the 5th place game, where they took on the Churchill, and you guessed it… Of course it came down to the last roll of the day, but they could not pull it off losing by only two points.

This is Coach Remer’s sixth season coaching Bocce, and going into the States he didn’t expect nothing less than a title.

“This is the best team I’ve ever had, and this is the most resilient team I’ve ever had in any sport even any team I’ve ever played on this is the toughest and most confident team I’ve ever had, so when you put that together that’s a recipe for success,” Remer said.

3 weeks later the team went into the State Tournament as the number one seed in the Division 1 Bracket. They were “the team to beat”. And they showed it in the first game against the Urbana Hawks out of Frederick County, the team that knocked them out in the State Tournament last year, but the tables were turned this time around. The team came out strong and ready to play from the first roll of the day. They were able to take the first game easily in a 14-3 landslide starting off the day and carried that momentum into the next game winning 16-3 against Richard Montgomery . All together outscoring their opponents 30-6, and making it to the gold medal match for the first time in team history.

They took on the Mcdonogh Eagles on the finals. The team got off to very hot start getting 2 points in the first frame and 3 points in the second frame to get out to a commanding 5-0 lead. But, the the Eagles ran back to tie the game with points in the next 3 of 4 frames to tie it at 6 a piece. And wouldn’t you know. The game came down to the last frame to decide the Division 1 State Champions. The Blue Devils got their ball close and the Eagles could not get it any closer. The Blue Devils, just 6 years after forming the team, won the State Championship. Senior Co-Captain Simon Lowenstein said that after the the game that it felt amazing to win the Championship in his last game. He could could only explain the feeling one way “mind blowing”.

“I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel great. You never go into those situations expecting to win, but I would’ve been surprised if we didn’t. We had one bad game this year, and that was the first round of the county tournament. But we’re talking about 20 games we played this year, and we only had one bad game; I knew we had a shoot going in.” Remer said.

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Bocce on a roll to their first state championship