High School

Laurel Boys and Girls Reclaiming Their Legacy

LAUREL – As soon as you walk through the giant blue double doors, up a flight of stairs, and through another double-set of doors, you see a basketball court and a boxing ring. In your peripheral to the left, you’ll see banners hanging of colleges, on the right images of athletes from years past. The banners represent alumni of the club that have gone on to greater heights, who take the lessons learned from days spent in the club in their daily lives as adults. 

The club is where Adrian Rousseau, President, and coach of many of the clubs sports programs, and Wilbert Nicholson, the vice president of the club, have created a culture where men and women, both young and new feel welcome to come back and help coach or teach, to play in club sports and participate in after school programs. Rousseau says he thanks his uncle and coaches in his life for keeping him in a gym and around positive influences. Without that guidance in his life, he might’ve ended up like so many of his friends who went the other way and got caught up in the wrong things. 

“What we try to do is lead by example. Make sure that the torch Never changes,” Rousseau said “If you look over the top of my office, I was here years ago as the basketball commissioner and the athletic director running the programs. And then when things start changing, I took over and we put a new staff in and a new board.”

Paying that guidance forward is a point of pride for the club administration. To see so many come back and say they remember they’re time as kids at the Laurel Boys and Girls Club fondly. The flameouts, those who fell for the attractions of the street life, who sought out hustling instead of playing sports, come back and the memories of when they were an athlete come rushing back and they greet Rousseau with a smile and a hug. 

A specific pair of young men have always come back to the Laurel Boys and Girls Club. Whether that’s to mentor the children who roam around the halls, play basketball late at night, or help maintain the building. These two men, Terrell Willis and AJ Rousseau, both 24, share a bond much more special than just being cousins.

“The work ethic we have to be successful,” Willis said. “Came from here”

 The younger Rousseau is a student at Frostburg State, as well as a new father of an infant daughter. Willis is a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He even coaches at Frederick Community College as an assistant coach. For Willis, the bonds he made within the Laurel community were because his parents, who were still teenagers when they had Willis, knew that he would be safe at the boys and girls club. They trusted the Rousseau’s enough to let him stay there all day and night because their son would be out of trouble. 

Willis continues to pay that leadership forward, forming a professional-amateur league, The One League, that is held at the boys and girls club. The idea came after watching Goodman League games, a legendary streetball league in D.C. that’s been in operation for 23 years. A phone call to AJ Rousseau precipitated the birth of the league in the summer of 2017.

“I called him and I was like yo, let’s do this bro. What do we have to do to make it happen? Why can’t’ we- I went out to Goodman and I saw everybody, the whole community out there, they would get off work and come straight up to Goodman, like that was the after-work thing.  You’ve been down there, it’s a crazy atmosphere,” Willis said as he reminisced. 

Two years later and the One League has become a hot-spot every weekend in Laurel. The One League has jumped from 10 teams to 23 teams in 2019. College players and professionals clamor to play in the league, valuing the unique uniforms. The players in the league remind Rousseau of a bunch of big kids.

“Don’t know what goes on with people outside the league, but coming in helps people forget and be around positivity. Maybe change their life around, not take life so serious.” Rousseau said.

The One League has even had Aquille Carr, the Crime Stopper, a folk legend in Baltimore, come down and play games. Carr knows AJ, going to Princeton Day and his presence and subsequent mixtape playing in the game blew up the popularity of the league. Willis envisions the league becoming the top pro-am in the DMV, surpassing the popularity of the Goodman League. 

There was one moment that made all the late nights cleaning up the gym, washing uniforms, dealing with business specifics all worth it. Willis told a story of one player who while leaving the gym following a game profusely thanked Willis for creating the league and all that he does to maintain it. 

“He’s like nah, thank you, you helped me, this league has helped me, please dont stop, I wanna come back every single summer. “ Willis said. 

Moments like that are what built the Laurel Boys and Girls Club. It stands for affecting kids growing up in cities like Laurel who seek accountability and guidance from the right role models according to Willis. 

“ This building, all of the champions, and I say champions meaning on the court, off the court, on the field, off the field, whatever,” Willis said with an intense look.  “Started from here.”

Roosevelt Finishes The Job

COLLEGE PARK – Eleanor Roosevelt High junior forward Jahmal Cochran grabbed a rebound following an East Broadneck High School senior Jaamar Young miss and when he threaded a bounce to streaking senior Cameron Brown in transition who posterized Broadneck forward Logan Vican and send Roosevelt fans into a frenzy.

” I just wanted to run the floor and (Cochran) gave me a nice pass,” Brown said,  “After that I just do what i usually and go to the rim.”

Roosevelt captured their third state 4A title in this decade and fourth overall with their 77-48 win over East Broadneck High School Saturday night. The Raiders had multiple outstanding perfromances from their senior quartet of Cameron Brown (25 points, 14 rebounds, three steals double-double), Jaamir Butler (13 points and four steals), Isaiah Gross (10 points) and Kyle Rose (Six points, 10 assists, six steals) to junior guard Jahari Simon scoring 12 points. Meanwhile, the Bruins were led senior Jamar Young and his 22 points and eight rebound stat-line.

” I’m just super excited, i’m super proud of these guys” Roosevelt head coach Brendan O’Connell said, ” They’ve been one of the most fun teams to coach all year long. So happy for these seniors because they’ve been such a big part of what we’ve been doing for the last four years. They deserve it.”

The way the game started out, it seemed like Broadneck and Roose were in for a dogfight. At one point early in the first half the Bruins knocked down three 3-pointers in a row, leading the Roose 16-9, their largest lead of the night. Roose would respond and dominate from the second quarter on when they hold the hot-shooting Broadneck to just 27 points the rest of the way. On the other hand, the Raiders blew the game open scoring 27 themselves in the second quarter and establishing a lead that was never threatened.

“We’ve been doing that all year,” O’Connell said, ” We’re extremely hard to guard because we just got a lot of skill on offense.”

Roosevelt took a one-possession lead midway in the first half when Gross nailed a heavily contested 3-pointer. Things got out of control in the second half with the Raider unleashed a 21-0 run, including a no-look scoop pass from Rose to Cochran and then a Rose alley-oop to Brown to bring Xfinity Center a frenzy. From there the state title was only a formality. At the end of the game, the Roosevelt defense, utilizing their elite athleticism, embracing physicality, and length led to the Raiders scoring 26 points on 14 forced turnovers, scoring 16 points in transition, and scoring 28 points in the paint.

” You don’t get touches on the defensive end ,” Gross said, ” So you just impact the game on the defensive end and I’m glad that my defensive ability led to this win.”

Post-game, a question was raised about whether or not this Roosevelt team was the greatest after going 24-3, including going undefeated against PG county opponents. O’Connell said he would need a few days to consider the question, but Isaiah Gross just a few seats down confidently shook his head yes, demonstrably stacking the other teams against his and putting his on top.

” Just coming in here and ending the year off on a high note was really great to me,” Gross said, ” You can’t ask for anything better.”

MPSSAA 4A Semis Ridiculous and Fun Day

COLLEGE PARK – The Maryland 4A state title game is set forSaturday night after Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Dulaney High School playedfor the first spot in the championship round.

The co-main event of the day between Roosevelt and Dulaneyended in a thrilling 63-61 win for Roosevelt. The senior trio of Isaiah Gross,Cameron Brown, and Jaamir Butler led the Raiders in scoring.  On the other end, the Lions had fourdouble-digit scorers in Che Evans, Isaiah Cornish, Cameron Buyers, and Ryan Conwaywho scored 17 points, 15 points, 12 points, and 11 points respectively.

“We knew it (would) be a battle,” Roosevelt head coach Brendan O’Connell said, “ It wasn’t looking there for a couple minutes and they were just tough and found a way to get it done.

After initially giving each other fits on the defensive with zone schemes like a 2-3 zone from Dulaney and 2-1-2 matchup zone from Roosevelt, it was the Raiders who initially broke away for a big lead. An 11-4 run led to a 15-point lead for Roose and alley-oop finish from Brandon Thomas to Quinton Mincey was the cherry on top.

The Lions responded midway into the second half by going ona 9-0 run, cutting the deficit to 42-40 after Evans knocked down a 3-pointerand gestured at the Dulaney student section to raise their energy. The Raidersthen grabbed control and took a seven-point edge going into the fourth andfinal frame of the game.

The Lions nearly shocked the Raiders when they reeled off a15-straight-points and took their first lead of the night when Jaylin Websterdrained a 3-pointer. Dulaney would take a six-point lead in the final minutesof the game following an Evans 3-ball. After Conway split a pair of freethrows, Butler scored on back-to-back layups to make it a one-point game beforeGross drew a foul shooting a 3-pointer from the right corner with 15.8 secondsleft. The senior guard calmly made all three foul shots, setting up a finalsequence where the Raiders guarded the Lions final play well enough to force a desperationshot from junior forward Cameron Beyers that bricked off the rim and gave theRaiders an exhilarating win.

“I didn’t think he was going to foul me my purpose was tohit the shot,” Gross said, “ Just me getting fouled was just, you know, theicing on the cake to me.

The final game of the evening resulted in a 72-57 win forBroadneck. The Bruins have Che Golbert (19 points) and a double-double outingfrom Logan Vican, 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Jamar Young who contributed 18points to thank for the victory. RM was led Kordell Lewis (18 points), DjordjeOrcev (13 points), and Miles Gally (12 points).

“At this point I’m along for the ride with this group,” Broadneckhead coach John Williams said, “ I’m amazed at our senior leadership, perseverance,and I’m amazed at how we have progressed throughout the season and we’repeaking at the right time.”

From jump the Bruins established themselves as the hungrierand more aggressive team in this finale. The Rockets on the other end came out timid,the high-intensity moments a little overwhelming. Broadneck was able to score frequentlyand efficiently via an offense that executed at a formidable pace. They endedthe game scoring 26 field goals on 16 assists. On the defensive side, theBruins held the Rockets to only four assists against 12 turnovers. According toRichard Montgomery head coach David Berslaw, out of all the tape the coachingstaff and his players watched they never saw Broadneck knock down perimetershots or move the ball as well as they Thursday night.

“They really came to play,” Berslaw said, “ Definelty adifferent experience and it’s something that our program is very proud of andprofit off of in the future.”

For every bucket that RM got, Broadneck would march down andrespond with their own. The closest the Rockets got was one-possession whensenior wing Brian Sadeghi drained a 3-pointer.After that, the game slowly wentaway from the RM. Bruins were able built a lead as large as 18-point points midwaythrough the second half when senior guard Mike Cantrell snuck into the passinglane and hit a layup to make the score to make it 44-26.

In the fourth quarter the game looked like it couldinteresting when Gally put down a pair of free throws to make the game 58-47early in the fourth quarter. The Bruins responded by reeling off a 6-0 run and effectivelyclosing the door on any comeback for the Montgomery County champion and emergedwith what felt like a win that was larger than the 15-point margin they won by.

“ We all know how difficult the challenge will be,” Williamssaid, “ ER is extremely talented, who knows with this group.”

Overtime Thriller Ends In Buzzer Beating Fashion

ROCKVILLE – Sophomore guard Ryan Cornish was ice cold all night, but with the score tied at 53-all he streaked into open space and received an outlet pass from senior Djordje Orcev and unfurled a running jump-shot to secure a tight victory and a MPSAA 4A West sectional title.

“I’m not going into a second overtime,” Cornish said defiantly on his game-winner, “I know I had to get that win and I had to make that layup.”

Richard Montgomery High School and Gaithersburg High School needed overtime

before they could determine the winner of the boys 4A West sectional final. The Rockets ended up the winners, 55-53 despite an off night from almost all of their major players. Cornish led all scorers with 20 points, Orcev contributed 11 points, and junior Devin Liyanamana rounded the Rockets out with 10 points. The Trojans were led by sophomore Jao wing Ituka, sophomore Mandela Tark, and sophomore forward Jordan Hawkins, who scored 17 points, 12 points, and 10 points respectively.

“This is what high school basketball is all about,” Head coach David Berslaw said, “ I love that we have this with Gaithersburg, I love how we’re going back and forth. I just love what us and Gaithersburg are creating.”

Gaithersburg was able to play their style of basketball all night, crashing the boards, and imposing their will physically throughout the night. Meanwhile, the Rockets couldn’t finish at the rim, their jump-shots clanked frequently, but their defense was outstanding. The Rockets game-plan of pressing full-court, as well as using a 2-3 zone and double-teaming Ituka And Hawkins whenever they had the ball up top worked to perfection. The aggressive trapping scheme helped the Rockets to force double-digit turnovers, while also forcing the ball out of their star sophomore wings.

The staunch defensive performance also helped on a night when the biggest lead was only a five-point lead by the Trojans. The low scoring affair afforded the Rockets a path to be able to fight back slowly, taking their third lead of the night when Cornish drained a long pull-up for 2, giving RM a 41-40 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Trojans nearly pulled a victory when they took a three-point leAd late in the fourth with a minute to go, but Liyanamana answered the ball scoring on a fast break layup, and then fed Orcev for a game-tying layup off a botched out-of-bounds play.

“ I just had to step up,” Liyanamana said, “ we know not everyone’s going to score 20 points every game. We’re a very balanced team everybody can play their role and know what to do.”

In overtime it was the Cornish show, scoring all six of the Rockets points. Despite being off the mark with his jump-shot all night, it was a pair of free-throws that gave him the confidence to drain that aforementioned buzzer beater.

Sidwell Friends Shocks Wilson In DCSAA Title Game

WASHINGTON D.C. – Sidwell Friends School senior Dean Mazlish had the ball in his hands with six and a half seconds left and down two points against defending District of Colombia State Athletic Association champion Woodrow Wilson and shocked the DMV hoops scene when he launched the game-winner over senior Romaro Hutchinson.

“We threw it in down court and they were pressing so there wasn’t enough time to run the play,” Mazlish said, “I came down I saw the clock had like, three seconds and I knew I had to improvise. Went behind my back, saw the guy kinda just, take a step back so I had to pull -up.

The Quakers won their first ever DCSAA title Sunday night over the Tigers, 63-62. Guard Jason Gibson led all scorers with 24 points, and forward Jack Lewis contributed 18 points of his own. Junior wing Dimingus Stevens scored a team-high 21 points and was followed up by senior Boston College-commit Jay Heath and his 17-point performance.

Sidwell was able to grab a eight-point lead early in the second quarter off a Gibson 3-pointer and if Wilson didn’t unleash a 10-0 run, including a breakaway dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers Stevens, the Quakers looked like they were primed to extend their lead to double-figures. Following a pair of free-throws from senior Carlos Dunn to give the Tigers a 27-26 lead with seconds to spare in the first half, Mazlish was able to take back a one-possession lead when he nailed a 3-pointer right before the buzzer sounded off.

Wilson came out in the second half and after initially trading buckets early on, reeled off a 12-3 run that culminated in a 44-35 lead after a pair of Stevens free throws. The Quakers gradually battled back and took the lead late when Gibson went on a personal 13-6 run and took a two-point late within a minute of the game. Heath responded when he got to the lane, drew a foul, and then sunk two free throws to tie the game up. Both programs had a final chance to hit a game-winner but Gibson’s shot was too strong, while Heath’s desperation from beyond half-court fell shot. The pair of missed shots forced an unexpected overtime at 53-all.

One development the crowd and coaches were interested in was the fact that the trio of Carlos Dunn and Mitchell twins (University of Maryland-commits Makhi and Mahkel) fouled out within the closing minutes of regulation.

“Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” Gibson said, “ my seniors came (up) big for me when I fouled out and I can’t ask for a better group of guys.”

During overtime, the Tigers took the first of the extra period off a Stevens layup, but gave up six straight points including a Gibson to Lewis dime for a 3-pointer that gave the Quakers a 59-55 lead midway through overtime. Wilson responded sinking four free throws in their subsequent possessions, but Gibson drew one more foul but then fouled out the next Tigers possession with 39 seconds left. The Tigers were able to get one more stop and looked to cement their win when Dimingus Stevens caught a Heath pass in stride and layed the ball up to make it 62-60. Tigers head coach Angelo Hernandez called a timeout immediately after with just over six seconds left while it looked like Lewis sunk a possible buzzer beater. Although the shot was waived off, Malzin caught the ball out of the timeout and sunk the Tigers on an incredible dagger 3-pointer with the clock hitting zeroes.

“This amazing,” Mazlish said after climbing the ladder to get his piece of basketball net twine, ”This is the best way to get out.”

Gonzaga Wins An Improbable Third WCAC Title In Last Five Seasons

Gonzaga Wins An Improbable Third WCAC Title In Last Five Seasons

WASHINGTON D.C. – After coming up short in the 2018 Washington Catholics Athletic Conference championship,Gonzaga College High School junior Terrance William and senior Anwar Gill told their teammates and head coach Steve Turner all season that they’ll be back to make up for that letdown.

“Everybody was counting us out at the beginning of the season,” Gill said, ” We got the W and it just feels good.”

Monday night, Williams and Gill fulfilled their promise and led the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win over St. John’s College High School. Williams scored a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, Gill followed up with 19 points and eight rebounds, and junior Myles Stute put up 10 points and eight rebounds. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell(19 points), Darius Maddox(14 points), and Ishmael Leggett(11 points).

” They’ve been dying for this,” Turner said of his championship squad, “This has been all they’ve talked about since the day we lost here last year at the same time. They worked their tails off. We’ve had some ups and downs and when it mattered most, this team bonded at the right time to make it happen for them to stand here tonight as WCAC champions.”

If you followed the WCAC all season, you know that these two programs being in the championship was a shocker. Gonzaga hit bottom when they lost to PVI, 69-44, but ended the conference and regular season winning 14 of their next 15 games. St. John’s themselves had some tough moment collapsing late in games, including losing to PVI and Baltimore Polytechnic in buzzer-beating fashion. They changed things around on an early season 10-game winning streak but they ended up losing four of their final seven regular season games to PVI twice and DeMatha and Gonzaga as well. However, three of the losses came to DeMatha, Gonzaga, and PVI at a combined 14-points, and looked to be playing their best basketball despite the losses.

Gonzaga and St. John’s came out trading buckets from the opening tip, until the Purple Eagles went off on an 11-0 run, with Williams scoring nine of those points, including back to back turn-around jumpers. Gonzaga turned an 18-9 lead into a 13-point lead after a Williams reverse layup gave the Purple Eagles a 28-16 advantage. St. John’s refused to give in and cut the lead to 29-22 after Morsell nailed a 3-pointer, but Stute came back with a tip-in and gave Gonzaga a nine-point lead going into the second half.

The Cadets were able to cut their deficit to seven points once again after going on a 9-2 run at the free-throw during a sloppy third quarter where St. John’s got a 10-2 advantage in team fouls. The Cadets and Gonzaga went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter. The Purple Eagles built a 12-point lead when Stute corralled an offensive rebound and put it back up to make 51-39, Gonzaga. The Cadets responded with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to 55-53 when Leggett knocked a 3-pointer to make the score 51-48 midway through the final frame. Gill came back down after a timeout laying the ball up on end and stripping Casey Morsell and throwing down a dunk in the subsequent possession to make it 55-48. John “Manzie” Wilson then connected with Morsell for a timely 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 30 seconds left in the game, but Williams was able to close the game out at the free-throw line, knocking five down.

“It’s a great moment,” Williams said, ” You know close throughout the game, solidifying the championship win, live for moments like that.”

Another Stunner! Gonzaga Upends PVI for Berth at the ‘Chip Versus SJC.

Another Stunner! @GonzagaHoops Upends PVI Thanks to @Cth23Chuck , @StuteMyles , @Devin2__ and @iamjodybreeze For A Chance At The WCAC ‘Chip vs @SJCBoysHoops

WASHINGTON D.C. – Washington D.C. – The WCAC descended once again on American University for their annual playoff to determine their conference champion this past weekend. After a long regular season, the final four teams remaining were DeMatha Catholic High School, Paul VI Catholic High School, Gonzaga College High School, and St. John’s College High School. The winners of these two games will advance to play for the championship on Monday.

After a stunning () the crowd at AU was clamoring for the second game between no. 2 seed PVI and no. 3 seed Gonzaga. Gonzaga pulled off the second upset of the day, prevailing 63-55 and have the right to face off against SJC for the conference crowd. Junior Chuck Harris scored a game-high 17 points and handed out three assists, followed up by double-digit performances by forward Myles Stute(14 points and 12 rebounds), freshman Devin Dinkins (12 points), and senior Anwar Gill (10 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds). Freshman point guard Knasir “Dug” Williams led PVI with 12 points, while wing Josiah Freeman and sophomore Avery Ford each contributed 11 points.

“For our kids to gut out, we were down what, (13)? 13-point comeback to win against one of the best teams in the league all year,” Gonzaga head coach Stephen Turner said, “I’m just proud for them and their opportunity to go out tomorrow night and have a chance to bring home a championship.”

In any conference, it’s hard to beat any team three times in a row. In a conference like the WCAC, widely regarded as the best high school basketball conference in the country, it’s nearly impossible. However, PVI seemed like they would scoff at that notion, building a 13 point edge by the end of the half behind a balanced offensive onslaught, sophomores Avery Ford and  Trevor Keels dominated with 16 points at the half, relying on the physical drives of Keels and finesse of Ford to build their lead. A 3-2 zone that Gonzaga had trouble adjusting too also played a large roll in forcing the Purple Eagles were unable to execute as they traditionally do and the Panthers to walk into the half up 35-22.

That all changed in the second half when Gonzaga was able to neutralize the threat of Keels and forced everybody else to make plays. The revitalized defensive effort by Gonzaga forced PVI into scoring just 18 points the rest of the way. The Purple Eagles patiently chipped away at the deficit, being able to whittle down the lead to four by the end of the third quarter. By midway into the final frame, Gonzaga knotted the game up, 46-all, when Chuck Harris fed Dinkins on the left wing for a 3-pointer. That was the impetus to a 10-run that ended with three straight trips to the free throw line for Stute as he fought off PVI wings and forwards for several rebounds.  The gritty sequence by the junior provoked a smirk and flex moment as he soaked in cheers from the Gonzaga student section.

“Just felt good,” Stute said, “I was in my rhythm, affecting the game in different ways other than scoring, getting rebounds, getting to the line. When I got to the line, I knew I had to convert.”

PVI wasn’t done however, they went off on a 7-0 run and cut the Purple Eagles, 56-55, after Freeman nailed 3-pointer. That would be as close as PVI would get, Gonzaga ended the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run that ended all doubts for the Panthers. Harris finished a pair of three-point plays, smiling and letting out a loud “Let’s Go” after converting the second and-1. Forward Terrance Williams shot the final free throws of the game and secured the improbable Gonzaga win.

“ We just came out and played our hardest from the jump,” Harris said, “ We knew PVI was going to be a tough opponent and just had the best of them tonight.”

St. John’s Stuns Defending WCAC Champs DeMatha

Darius Maddox told me post game ” odds against us I just knew we were gonna go out there and fight,” with Ish Leggett adding ” It’s that simple.” SJC is coming in primed with confidence and playing some great basketball ahead of tomorrow’s WCAC chip’ game

WASHINGTON D.C. – The WCAC descended once again on American University for their annual playoff to determine their conference champion this past weekend. After a long regular season, the final four teams remaining were DeMatha Catholic High School, Paul VI Catholic High School, Gonzaga College High School, and St. John’s College High School. The winners of these two games will advance to play for the championship on Monday.

The first game went down between number 1 seed of the tournament DeMatha, also the defending WCAC champs, and number 5 seed St. John’s. The Cadets secured the first spot in the WCAC championship game, upsetting the Stags 53-52. Forward Earl Timberlake led all scorers with 19 poins, and guard Justin Moore followed up with 15 points of his own. Guard Casey Morsell led three double-digit performance with 16 points, while Darius Maddox and Ishmael Leggett contributed with 12 points apiece.

“Definitely just coming out with energy, just coming out ready to kill,” Maddox said, “When I’m down then Ish is up, so we always got someone coming. Then when we’re both down then Casey is up so you never knew where it’s coming from.”

From the onset, the Cadets were able to throw the first punch. St. John’s was often the more physical squad, and made sure to force contested rebounds, catches, and shots. According to junior wings Darius Maddox and Ishmael Leggett, the Cadets took pride in being the underdog and coming out to fight, not just taking a punch to the mouth but landing frequent counters as well. The game was close throughout the contest, the largest lead of the night was the Stags by six, while the Cadets lead by a 4-point margin. The Cadets were able to grab the lead three times in the fourth quarter, after a Morsell layup to make it 41-40, and then off a forward Jalin Abbott 3-pointer off a Morsell pass in the pick-and-roll. The Stags responded swifty and took the lead off a Timberlake tip-in. The Cadets then reeled off a 7-0 run and grabbed a 51-47 lead they would not surrender when Maddox converted on an and-1 over center Hunter Dickinson. Timberlake cut the lead too 53-52 with a 3-pointer at the top of the key, responding to a  Morsell pull-up jumper from the free throw line. SJC had two chances to ice the game with less 30 seconds remaining with both Morsell and Abbott at the free throw line but both the seniors missed the front end of a one-in-one opportunity. DeMatha had one last chance to win the game, getting the ball to Moore who drove strong to the rim but Morsell leaped high in the air and swatted the would-be attempt way, sending Bender Arena in a frenzy and making sure a new champ would be crowned.

“We knew (Moore) was going to it,” Morsell said, “ We tried to make it as hard for him as possible, if he was going to shoot it, make him shoot going left. He’s shooting a way lower percentage going left than right. Forced him to my help side, I knew he was not going to pass it so that is why I went up to get it.”  

“Just a (wave) of happiness,” Leggett said, ” We been struggling throughout the season and all that hard work paid off that nobody saw it showed on the court today.”

Carlos Dyches Big Night Leads to Potomac Win

By: Brooks Warren


BRANDYWINE – The offensive rebound had been available all night for Potomac High School. So when combo guard Carlos Dyches drew the attention of all five Gwynn Park defenders in the paint, junior forward Kevin Dozier had the easy job of gathering the missed Dyches floater and layed it up for a buzzer-beating win

“I just can’t get over that game winner,” Dozier said smiling, “I was just thinking how if he misses I got to go back with it.”

Potomac High School(Maryland) sunk Gwynn Park High School late 66-64, to finish the sweep of their county rival Thursday evening. Potomac was led by junior Carlos Dyches 24 point and 14 double-double, Sincere Jones added 11 points, and Jaquan Riddick rounded it out with 10 points. Senior combo guard Jalen Hayes contributed 17 points and Darious Boyd followed up with 13 points of his own.

“We got comfortable, kinda slacked off,” Dyches said, “Good thing we picked it up and started playing as a team again.”

After losing 69-49, the first time they met, Gwynn Park was ready to gain some revenge and gain a key win over their rival. The Yellow Jacket have forged an identity this season a squad that will never stop fighting. That stubbornness was evident tonight, never giving  the Wolverines a chance to relax. Despite being down most of the evening, the Yellow Jackets fought back from deficits as big as eight and tied the game twice, and led the game late twice.

“I was telling them stay composed and kept with the mission,” Johnson said, “We are normally a second half team that we kinda put guys away at the end but today (Gwynn Park). just wouldn’t go away and that is a testament to their culture.”

The sheer size in difference was a major factor in the game, Potomac controlled the boards and grabbed multiple offensive rebound for got up second chance points. The Wolverines held control of the contest largely due to a stifling 2-3 defense designed to help slow down Hayes. The difference in length and athleticism not only helped to force difficult shots, but it also keyed advantageous transition plays. Twice off of defensive rebounds, Dyches leaked out in the open court and punched electric dunks off outlet passes from Elijah Crawford midway through the second that nearly changed the complexion of the game and sent the crowd into a frenzy. The first rim-grazer set off a 7 point run that led to a 31-25 lead. A Riddick outlet pass for another Dyches slam in the third led to another 7-0 run that made it 48-43 lags in the third frame. The end of the third featured more theatrics when Boyd’s desperation 3-pointer as the buzzer went down. The officials didn’t take long to say the shot counted, much to the chagrin to Potomac head coach Renard Johnson.

In the fourth quarter was when the Yellow Jackets took control. Senior Camren Bullock played a major roll with his hard-nosed defense and late shot-making. Bullock scored seven points and got into passing lanes for steals three separate times. He second steal of the game led to the first Gwynn Park lead of the game at 60-58. Dyches responded with a individual 5-0 run when converted and-1 finish and an point blank tip in bucket to give the Wolverines a 64-59 late. On the ensuing Potomac posession, Bullock collected back-to-back steals and fed Hayes in transition where he sunk two pairs of free throws to tie the game at 64-all. The Yellow Jackets nearly stole a win when Hayes stripped the ball from Dyches with 20 seconds left. Unfortunately Jayden Wingard missed both of his double-bonus free throws and gave Potomac the chance to win at the buzzer.

“If every game ends like that I will take it, ” Gwynn Park Head Coach Rob Garner said, “ You hate to be on the side on the losing end. They was killing us on the offensive rebounds so it’s not ironic that that is how we lost. ”

Two-Sport Athlete Josh Wallace Chooses The Gridiron

HYATTSVILLE – After a long deliberation with coaches and family, DeMatha Catholic High School two-sport athlete Joshua Wallace finally decided which school and sport he would be dedicating his path on.

Following a championship season with the Stags basketball team last year and on pace for another run, Wallace announced on Jan. 22 that he was committing to the University of Massachusetts and to play football for the next four years.

Wallace, a 6-foot-1 athlete who also played cornerback for DeMatha’s football team, knew choosing the gridiron was the easiest chose for him. Football is where his heart is and has always enjoyed watching the sport more than basketball, the senior said.

“The process has been pretty crazy,” Wallace said, “Not knowing if a school is going to offer u or not.”

Lastly, he believes his self-described press and ball-hawking style of play as a defensive back, that helped DeMatha only give up 194 points last season, can help the Minutemen. A 4-8 finish and a defense that ranked 126th out of 129th in scoring defense, and gave up nearly 485 yards ensures a spot in the cornerback position for Wallace. Wallace picked off four passes, recovered three fumbles, and broke up 11 passes in his senior campaign at corner. 

The new staff from UMass, featuring new head coach Walt Bell, was also a key part in the decision, Wallace stated. He listed the youth movement and new culture being put in place by Bell and the Minutemen staff, as major attractions. From top-to-bottom, Wallace noticed an infectious energy and how “hungry” everybody at the university was during his visit on Jan. 19.

“The new staff played a big role of me committing there,” Wallace said, “They are all young coaches and they all are ready for a new culture.”

Josh Wilson, former nine-year NFL veteran cornerback and one of Wallace’s position coaches at DeMatha, said that Wallace will be “hidden gem” for the UMass locker room and a figure in keeping the culture of the rebuilding program. Although he is unsure of what his role will be and the competition that lies ahead, Wallace is only focused on competing and helping the defense wherever he can.

“UMass just got the steal of the century,” Wilson said, “Kid’s a going to be a great corner!”

One thing that’ll help make the college transition will be the help of teammate and fellow UMass commit Jermaine Johnson. The 5-foot-10 wide receiver committed early to UMass and was a part of the team’s eight signees during the early signing period.

Johnson is counted amongst Wallace’s closest friends on DeMatha, along with fellow cornerback Nick Cross and free safety DeMarcco Hellams. The three members of the secondary were critical in DeMatha’s eight-win season that earned them a trip to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Championship game.

“That’s my bro he a great kid very competitive and just great to be around wants to learn never arrogant just a great guy,” Cross said, “It’s great to know I don’t have to worry about having to save him, but he knows I have his help whenever on and off-the-field.”

Currently, the senior plays on the basketball team, averaging 5.3 points per game. The Stags sit at first place in the WCAC standings at 11-0 and 19-2 overall. According to Wallace, the season has been going well and he believes that the Stags will be repeating as WCAC champions. After this season basketball will be on the backburner so creating these last memories are important. He joins a long line of two-sport athletes that DeMatha that have gone star at their schools as Chase Young or Justin Gielen. Since he’s currently in-season, Wallace hasn’t been able to take a moment to step back and appreciate the journey he’s been on to this point.

“I haven’t really thought that deep into it,” Wallace said, “ But it is really special”

Wallace commend Joan Phalen, a tutor and teacher, who was a part of the DeMatha Academic Support staff that helped him become college ready. Wallace is leaning towards earning a business degree, although he isn’t 100 percent sure that’ll be his final decision.

One thing he does know is he is prepared to fight for his spot on the next season’s team.

“Just going there to compete,” Wallace said. “That’s all you can ask for.”

Douglass Escapes Surrattsville Behind Brenae Ford

By: Brooks Warren



UPPER MARLBORO – Frederick Douglaass High School guard Brenae Ford scored 13 points, including a dagger pull-up jumper from mid-range to ice a win versus Surrattsville High School.

“It felt good because, I was like, we really needed that,” Ford said, “I mean the game ain’t stop and it wasn’t over so I got to play until the last second.”

Douglass outlasted Surratsville, 43-38, to advance to 13-8 and Surrattsville fell to 12-10. Senior guard Teona Smith contributed nine points of her own to back up the performance by Ford. The Hornets leading scorers were junior Seriyah Wren(14 points) and freshman Jadyn Wages(10 points). The victory was their second of the season against Surrattsville, the first being a 40-33 win on February 12, and adds a 10th victory in a row over their Prince George’s County foe. 

“We got out to a good start and I think we got a little lax,” Douglass head coach Derwin Faulkner said, “They came back, and we were in a dog fight and stopped executing at the end.”

The Eagles came out striking first with a 7-0 run before Surratsville head coach Devin May called a timeout. May was visibly up with the Hornets, during the opening sequence they coughed the ball up six times on unforced turnovers. It wasn’t until nearly two minutes into the second quarter that Surratsville got on the board on a junior guard Danielle Ellerbee layup.  However, Douglass continued to pour it on, building a 15-point lead after a Ford mid-range jumper with under a minute to go in the first half. The Eagles lead ballooned to 33-10 after Douglass emerged from the locker room, scoring the first seven points of the second half. 

After Wren stopped the bleeding with a layup, it helped the Hornets close the gap to 16 points, 33-17, before Douglass brought it back to a 21-point deficit after forward Kailah Major-Taylor scored on a layup. 

In the final frame the Hornets stole all the momentum. A 7-0 Surrattsville run closed the Eagles lead to 38-24, before a Major-Taylor free throw momentarily stopped the run. The Hornets response this time was scoring 10 unanswered points in a row. Surrattsville reeled off three and-1s in a row, however, only junior Tori Tolson completed one of those three-point plays making the score 39-29 early in the fourth quarter. With each bucket drawing more blood, the Surrattsville bench got increasingly excited. After a Wages free throw closed the deficit to 39-36 with about two minutes left, the Eagles called a timeout as the Hornets celebrated the moment.

The magic would stop there for Surratsville after the timeout, the Hornets proceeded to turn the ball over twice and only scored once more on a Wages steal and layup that made the score 41-38. Ford would end any doubts on the subsequent possession. An out-of-bounds play resulted in the junior guard getting open on the right wing and burying the aforementioned midrange pull-up jumper, resulting in the final score. 

“As a team, we got to come together instead of letting the other team get in our heads,” Smith said, “When we make a mistake we can’t just keep looking back on that mistake. We have to move forward from it.”

As playoffs and County championships begin next week, Smith let it be known that with five seniors and equipped with a deep and talented rotation according to Derwin, the Eagles are coming in teeming with confidence and ready to shock the state.

“We aren’t going to get kick out of the playoffs easily,” Smith said, “We’re going to work hard, whoever plays against us, they’re going to feel us for real.”

Gonzaga Dispatches DeMatha

By: Brooks Warren

Follow @_bwarren on Twitter

Washington D.C ~ It was the perfect exclamation point to end the game on. Senior Anwar Gill corralled a DeMatha Catholic miss and took one dribble before flicking a outlet pass to Terrance Williams. The junior forward threw down the two-hand hammer and stared down Carsten Kolgenik in celebration.

“It was a good pass from Anwar,” Williams said, “ I just found an open spot on the (floor) to get it and I just finished it.”


The 65-58 Gonzaga victory was a full on battle. Both teams traded punches but Gonzaga landed the final one to secure their 10th win a row and first over DeMatha since losing to the Stags in last seasons WCAC championship game. The Eagles were led by a quartet of double-figure scorers. Williams scores a team-high 19 points while junior forward Myles Stute followed that up with 18 of of his. Junior guard Chuck Harris, who missed the first go around, and freshman point guard Devin Dinkins both contributed 10 points apiece. Earl Timberlake dropped 20 points Friday night, Hunter Dickinson handed out 13 of his own, followed up by a 10 point outing by Josh Wallace.

“You already know it’s going to be a big game, high intensity crowd,” Harris said in reference to the rivalry, “We owe these guys since they beat us at home.”

“I’ve been waiting to play these dudes,” Harris said since playing against DeMatha for the first time since last season, “Missing the first was alright but I had to come (to Carmody Center) and play my hardest.”

Gonzaga threw the first haymaker building up a seven point 19-12 advantage. The lead was created by the play of Dinkins and Williams. The freshman guard nailed a three pointer the top of the key followed by a Williams layup layup, then Gill nearly had the play of the night when he had a chase down block against Timberlake that brought the crowd to its feet. The Stags responded with a 7-0 run that gave them a 20-19 lead in the closing seconds of the first half. It was back-to-back layups from Wallace and Timberlake, and a pair of free throws from senior point guard Jahmir Young that highlighted the lead change. Just shortly before the buzzer went off Young went down with a leg injury and didn’t come back in the second half.

“Team effort”, Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner said, ” Only way you’re going to beat time like that is you got to have everyone dialed in and playing their part.”

The Eagles were more or less head to head throughout the third frame, with the Stags holding the lead, 28-23, after back-to-back 3-pointers from Timberlake. Dickinson created more of a cushion when he dropped a baseline jumper and went to work on the right block. The Eagles responded with a seven point spurt off the back of a Harris 3-pointer and free throws, then a Williams one legged fade-away to help Gonzaga to a 35-34 lead going into the final frame.

Following an 8-0 run powered by a Gill three ball, a Stute tip-in, and another 3-pointer by Stute, the Eagles grabbed a 46-41 lead and never looked back. In fact, Stute played out of his mind, scoring an incredible 14 points in the fourth quarter. Gonzaga build a lead as large as nine points, 57-48, after Stute nailed two more 3-pointers and flexed as the home crowd went wild. Williams then hit a step-back jumper over Dickinson then Stute blocked a layup attempt from Timberlake. The Stags cut the lead to 59-54 after successive layups from Wallace and then Kolgenik. Wallace was able to cut into lead once more after another pair of free throws and a point blank tip in but it wouldn’t be enough as Dinkins iced the game from the free throw lane.

“I was just playing, wasn’t thinking,” Stute said, “I was out there on the court just trying to give the best effort for my team. Play for my dogs and, I mean when the ball came to me I just shot my shot and it went in.”


Trevor Keels Rips the Cadets Hearts Out Late In a WCAC Classic

Washington D.C ~ With just 3.3 seconds left and PVI down 60-58, Trevor Keels and Panthers teammates had all the confidence in the world that they would make the game-winning shot and steal one from St. John’s on Military Road.

“I knew I was going to hit the shot,” Keels said, “I had confidence in it. My team believed in it, I told them the games not over it.”


PVI stole a key WCAC win over St. John’s, 61-60 to extend their conference win streak to 32 wins. Keels finished the contest with 24-points and Dug McDaniel contributed 15-points. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell who scored a game-high 29-points. Ishmael Leggett joined him in double-figures with 14-points.

“They just don’t want to give that up,” PVI head coach Glen Farello said smiling and on the steak, “I thought we fought the whole game and Trevor kinda willed willed that shot in.”

It was a back-and-forth affair between the Cadets and Panthers. The Cadets held the lead for the majority contest, only facing a deficit twice. The game was tied up only three times as well. The largest lead of the night was just nine points after Casey Morsell dished an assist for a John Wilson layup to make it 23-14 early in the second quarter. Despite the adversity throughout the afternoon, the Panthers continued to dig and dig away at leads. Through the patient and poised play of Dug McDaniel, and the constant battering ram forays of Trevor Keels was all the offense PVI needed.

“Just pick up the slack,” McDaniel said on his role, “And just lead the team.”

The Panthers never gave up throughout the afternoon, and when Josiah Freeman implored to Keels to takeover late in the second half, that’s exactly what he did. In fact, he scored 17 of his 24 alone. That’s with Keels being blanketed by Morsell, one of the best on-ball defenders in the DMV. It was also Freeman that initiated the final exciting sequence of the game. The junior guard nailed a pair of free throws to tie it at 58-all after Morsell turned the ball over on the baseline with 29 seconds left. Casey Morsell patiently dribbled the clock down until nearly eight seconds were left on the game clock until he attacked the rim. He easily shed the defense of Trevor Keels off and extended for a left handed layup over the outstretched hands of Josh Oduro.


The late bucket left 3.3 seconds on the clock and enough time for PVI and Trevor Keels to get a potential game-winner off. The Panthers subsequently dropped the pass off the Keels who ran to the right side of the court and put up a near half-court shot that hit nothing but net. Dagger! Effectively ripping the Cadets hearts out and making a meal out of it.


The Cadets play Bishop Ireton and the The Heights this coming next, while the Panthers play DeMatha, McNamara, O’Connell, and Good Council.

Roosevelt Runs Away With Victory Over Wise

Greenbelt ~Greenbelt ~ As he caught the ball at the top of the key with a running and one defender already on the ground all Cameron Brown had to do was rise up and finish. The Roose faithful were elated when Brown threw down a poster over Joel Webb.


“I’ve been playing here for my fourth year now on varsity,” Brown said “And every year there’s somebody out there that does the little thing to help us win and that’s what team always needs. Today was just my day.”

Eleanor Roosevelt took an important 72-50 victory over Wise in what has evolved into the marquee 4A Prince George’s County rivalry. The two proud programs faced off for first time this season after being delayed twice due to weather. Isaiah Gross quietly dominated with a game-high 24-points, Cam Brown turned in another two-way performance chipping in 11-points of his own, and Quinton Mincey finished off with 10-points of his own for Roosevelt. The Pumas were led by Joel Webb(14-points) and Fred Crowell (11-points).

The Pumas looked as if they were on their way to a big-time win after building a 12-point lead over the Raiders. Early in the second quarter, Wise was playing a more aggressive game. Playing with a sense of urgency as they continuously beat Roosevelt for coveted 50/50 loose ball opportunities, grabbed more offensive rebounds, and dug in defensively. Capitalizing on the slow start by Roosevelt is what led to Wise going on a 10-0 run, punctuated by a Javon Jones 3-pointer to make it 20-11. A layup late in the half from Webb created the largest lead of the night for Wise at 28-16. After a Roosevelt timeout, the Raiders finally woke up out of their haze and strung together numerous defensive possessions while going on a momentum stealing 9-0 run. The 50/50 balls, offensive rebounding, and general intensity the Raiders were generally missing came back at a critical juncture of the game. It was just 28-27 after Kyle Rose nailed a 3-pointer to end the first half.

“We were struggling just a little bit” Brown said, “But we just came together as a team and just kept getting stops, getting stops and we knew basically it would convert into offense.”

There was plenty of back-and-forth action in the second half, with neither team giving an inch to the other. That is until back-to-back 3-pointers from Willie Rivera and Kyle Rose gave the Raiders a 49-45 edge. The Raiders capitalized on the momentum further by going on another 9-0 run that made it 64-48 after a Brown layup and the aformentioned Brown dunk. It was all a part of a dominant fourth quarter where Roosevelt outscored Wise 26-7. In fact the Raiders didn’t allow another field goal for the final four minutes or so. The only point the Pumas could buy were from the free throw line when Crowell buried a pair.

“Everything was one and done,” Gross said, “Everyone started to lock in. Because we knew that this game could either make or break our season.”

The Raiders and Pumas face off again on Monday, this time in Upper Marlboro.

Poly Breaks St. Francis’ Heart

Towson ~ You’re teammates trusting you to hit the biggest shot of the game even though you hadn’t scored all night says a lot. That’s exactly what happened when Justin Lewis drew a double-team and threw a precision pass to Ian Wallace who hopped into it for a dagger 3-pointer over Jordan Toles with just just 15 seconds to go in the game.

“The first option option wasn’t there (and) of the course the plan was to get the ball to the rim,” Wallace said, “They closed in on Justin so I had to be ready to shoot the ball at the arc.”

The final tally being 59-58, Brandon Murray(game-high 22-points), Justin Lewis(16-points), and Rahim Ali(11-points) carried Poly to a thrilling marque victory over St. Francis. The Panthers were led by Rajeir Jones’ team-high 21-points, followed by Jamal West and his 15-points.

“Our program was built around wanting to test ourselves in games like tonight,” Poly head coach Sam Brand said, “St. Francis was one of the first of my AA teams that would play us. We been doing this six years now and its been a big time atmosphere and competitive game every time.”

Playing at SECU Arena and a college court, both Poly and St. Francis acclimated to the size and depth of a college arena and decidedly played some high level basketball. The Engineers and Panthers went back and forth for the entirety of the first half, with Poly grabbing their second lead of the game when Ali finished a layup off a Murray assist to make it 26-25 at the half. The third quarter is when the Panthers flexed their dominance with multiple different defensive looks to get the Engineers fit. It resulted in a 21-11 scoring quarter.

“We got it, it only takes one run,” Ali told his teammates “The game is a game of runs and I knew that ours was google to come. All that matters is we had the last run we was going to win.”

After being down by as many as 11-points late in the third frame, the Engineers methodically climbed their way back into the contest to steal victory. During the decisive fourth quarter the Engineers narrowed the lead down to 52-47 after a Murray dunk. After a quick spurt from from the Panthers to make it 56-50 the Engineers responded with their own 9-2 run. The run was punctuated by back to back three pointers, first from Murray to make it a one-possession game at 56-53. The latter coming from the aforementioned 3-pointer by Wallace. The play was a perfect amalgamation of Brand telling his players they’re all stars earlier in the day and anyone can make the winning play. Tole raced back down the court and drew a foul to get to the line but missed both free throws, and when Amani Walker missed the front end of a one and one, the Panthers again had another chance but couldn’t put down any of their point-blank tip in chances.

“We just knew we had to push” Murray said on the last run, “We all came together, the heart and the soul of the team is through everybody. It’s from one-14 and it’s not even just the starters it’s not (anybody) it’s all of us.”

Video courtesy of Brooks Warren