Leesburg, Va. — On December 9, the Broad Run High School community was informed that longtime basketball coach John Costello had died in a car accident. Costello retired as the boys basketball coach following the 2020-2021 season, but his legacy is still felt in the locker room, in the gym, and through his mantra “it’s bigger than basketball.”
“Coach Costello was a special guy. His big thing was ‘it’s bigger than basketball’. It hurts to lose someone that’s so special, but it was an opportunity for our team to have an ‘it’s bigger than basketball’ moment,” second-year Broad Run head coach Jake Krogh said. “We had some really great conversations with the kids; they surrounded each other and took care of each other and by the time Monday came, we were ready to hoop.”
On December 12, the Spartans took the court for the first time since Costello’s passing and played their hearts out before falling to rival Loudoun County, 59-54.
“These guys were unflappable,” Krogh said. “We had a tough loss Monday, but at Tuesday’s practice they had the right kind of attitude. It shows a lot about the team. Their reaction these last two games told me a lot about who they are.”
Two days later, the Spartans were back in action as they traveled to Lightridge to earn a 59-43 district win over the Lightning. Then on the very next night, Broad Run looked to cap off its emotional week with its second district win when the Spartans traveled to Heritage.
Led by senior forward Matin Perdue and junior forwards Benny Nketia and Colin Pollock, the Spartans cleaned up the class, dismantled the Pride’s defense, and kept Heritage out of rhythm offensively to secure their third Dulles District win of the season, 54-36, on December 15 in Leesburg.
“After that loss to Loudoun County, we knew we had to lock in and play our best,” Nketia said. “We got a good win over Lightridge last night and a good win over Heritage tonight.”
In their win over the Pride, the Spartans used their size to their advantage as they outrebounded the Pride 41-26 and got 43 points from their bigs compared to the 13 points scored by the Heritage front court.
“We knew we were a bigger team, so we wanted to attack the glass,” Nketia said. “Everyone contributed on the boards.”
Nketia led the rebounding effort finishing with 13 points and 16 boards in what Krogh noted has been a point of emphasis for the Spartans.
“It was something we’ve been asking for, and we finally got it tonight,” Krogh said. “Maybe if they see Benny’s name in your article, the guys will say ‘oh, rebounding is cool’.”
Offensively, Nketia got help from Perdue—who finished with a game-high 18 points—and Pollock, who chipped in 12 points and 5 rebounds.
“Tonight, we had the size advantage, but we also have guys that can score from the perimeter,” Krogh said. “That allows us to be malleable depending on the matchup. We have a lot of options night to night.”
For Heritage, senior forward Jack Holland did all he could to keep the Pride in the game—finishing with an 11-point, 10-rebound double double—but his supporting cast never got into rhythm offensively.
Broad Run (3-1, 5-2) closed out their emotional week with wins on back-to-back nights against Dulles District opponents and will look to ride that success into their final game of 2022 when the Spartans travel too Herndon for a non-district matchup on December 19.
“We’re competing all 32 minutes. The level of intensity and focus we’re showing is great,” Krogh said. “Now, as people’s roles are starting to get clearer, we can be a pretty good team, because there are not as many teams that have as many guys who can score as we do.”
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