This time, the five-point difference went in favor of the Rappahannock County High School Scholastic Bowl team.
Senior captain Malcolm Perry got a question about poetry to clinch the Panthers’ 220-215 win over Clarke County during Monday night’s Bull Run District season opener.
Clarke County defeated Rappahannock County, 220-215, late during the 2009-10 regular season. That win proved crucial to the standings.
Because of multiple snowstorms, the district had to cancel its postseason tournament in late January. Clarke, because it sat in second place one match ahead of Rappahannock County in regular season play, advanced to the Region B tournament, and later, the state championships.
“That (Clarke) match’s very important, because it was our first win of this season,” freshman Danny Collins said. “It boosts our awareness of what we need to do, and it helps prepare us for the next time we play. Then, we won’t be shocked if it’s a close match.”
Rappahannock County finished the evening with a 2-1 record.
Besides the win over the Eagles, Perry’s 70-point, third round performance lifted Rappahannock County to a 205-180 victory over Madison County.
Defending Class A state champion George Mason opened the evening with a 375-100 win over the Panthers.
“The fact that we got more focused really helped, and we really came through,” Perry said. “We were paying attention with everything (against Clarke County and Madison).”
Junior Clayton Hatcher added, “Mason is the best team that we will face all year. “Even after losing, we were confident in our next two matches.”
No other district team scored in triple digits against the Mustangs.
“Scoring 30 points (individually), and getting a lit question against Asher (Morse, George Mason’s senior captain),” Collins said, laughing, “that, in itself, is like, ‘Yay.’ ”
A Scholastic Bowl match consists of three rounds of questions. The first and third rounds are 15 questions in a toss-up format. The middle round features 10 directed questions for each team. A correct answer nets 10 points. If a player interrupts the quiz master as he reads the question and offers an incorrect answer, the team loses five points.
Perry is the only returning starter for the Panthers. He started with Collins and Clayton Hatcher in all three matches.
Hoping to find a solid fourth player, Rappahannock County head coach Dave Naser rotated juniors Katie Hale, Austen Cloud, Adam Carter and senior Brittany Stephens.
“The whole evening was pretty much a nail biter for us,” Naser said. “I was pleased with the outcome. I thought we knew the questions, but we waited too long to buzz in in many cases.”
Hatcher felt playing in Saturday’s James Blake Invitational in Silver Spring, Md., helped to ease any nerves he would have before the district opener with George Mason. Naser took Perry, Collins, Hatcher and sophomore Case Kramer to the Blake event, where they finished 3-2 against some of Maryland’s top teams.
“We got to play in every match, and that helped us gain confidence,” he added. “I wish more people can come, but in a way, I’m glad they didn’t, because Case and I got to play matches all day.”
The district, however, should be most competitive.
The Panthers will see Manassas Park, who finished its evening with three wins, and Strasburg when the teams clash Nov. 1 at Clarke County.
“We need to study the things that we’re weak in or can get better in,” Collins added. “As we move along in the school year, we’re going to learn more in our classes, and that will make an impact on our matches.”