High School

Paint Branch Holds Off Churchill IN Double-Digit Win

Potomac ~ Despite holding such a commanding lead from the second quarter on, Paint Branch head coach Chris Bohlen still used every moment down to the last second as a teachable moment for his young Panthers squad. Knowing just what to say to each player and then giving them a love tap on the head at the end of every piece or coaching moment.

“Each team is a chemistry experiment every year,” Coach Bohlen said, “So it’s always fun a as a coach every year to try and find out what buttons to push, and who needs what.

Paint Branch held on for a 80-64 victory over Churchill. The win helps the Panthers move on to a 9-2 record, while the Bulldogs are now 6-3. Paint Branch relied on their multitude of scorers, placing five players in double-figures. They were led by Richard Dudley and Myles Mosley who each scored 14-points, Marley Sume contributing 12-points, rounded out by Anthony Wright and Juan Bell scoring 11-points as well. The Bulldogs were led by David Orta and his 26- points performance, followed by Jomo Goings’ 12-points.

A decisive second quarter run gave Paint Branch a lead that would grow as large as 24-points in the second half. The Panthers went on a tear offensively, outgunning the Bulldogs on an 18-0 run that was punctuated by a Dudley up-and-under layup off a ally-oop feed from Juan Bell. Churchill was able to stop the bleeding when Nadav Stern nailed a free-throw line jumper, but the damage done was extensive enough with the Panthers leading 47-23 at the end of the half after a Mishi Etauful layup to beat the buzzer that sent his teammates into a frenzy.

“It turns your team up (with) plays like that,” Dudley said, “Just threes, steals, and we try to continue that.”

Before the second half began, Bohlen implored his boys to enjoy the game and express themselves more on the court with their big-lead. It may have led to his Panthers squad taking their feet off the pedal instead. It led to Churchill giving their adversaries a lesson and a scare. The Bulldogs gradually whittled the lead down and cut the deficit to as close as 11-points after a Orta 3-pointer made it 71-60 midway in the final frame. Coach Bohlen decoded not to call a timeout, and let Dudley close the game out on his terms. The senior guard had a hand in scoring or assisting on seven of final nine Panther points being scored. He dished a pair of dimes, first to Mosley for a corner 3-ball, then  Etauful for a nifty layup, and finally sunk a layup to finished off the game at 80-68.

“We played (well) as a team,” Dudley said, “We just have to tie something’s up on the defensive end.” 

DeMatha Outlasts Gonzaga

Hyattsville ~ For the first time since the 2018 WCAC championship, DeMatha and Gonzaga, two proud teams with plenty of rich tradition and history met for the first time this season. For Gonzaga, it was a chance to exact some revenge and gain a little redemption from last years defeat. The storyline for DeMatha -ad the defending championship team was letting everyone know that the conference runs through them. 

“Just try to come and make a statement,” Jahmir Young said, “We know we gotta (target) on our back so we gotta come ready to play.”

DeMatha reigned supreme over Gonzaga,62-58, in arguably the fiercest rivalry in the WCAC. The Stags relied on balance offensively with four players scoring in double-figures. Justin Moore led the way with 13-points, Jahmir Young and Earl Timberlake had 12-points apiece, and Hunter Dickinson dropped 11-points of his own. The Purple Eagles also had a trio of double-digit performers on their side. Anwar Gill and Myles Stute tied for team lead with 11-points, while Josh Watt flanked them with 10-points of his own. 

“We pride ourselves (on) being team guys and making sure everyone gets part of the share,” Moore said, “When we move the ball, and play together we’re a hard team to stop.”

After a free flowing first quarter where DeMatha and Gonzaga combined for 47 points, the two teams knew they had to settle in defensively. Getting a bucket was increasingly difficult the rest of the way during the decidedly defensive slugfest. For the Eagles, big man Terrance William (nine-points) was in foul trouble, forcing Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner to play with lineups that found it difficult to score the ball. The offensive futility was exasperated while DeMatha went on a 9-0 run, highlighted by a Earl Timberlake block on Stute and a forced shot-clock violations. Gonzaga was nearly blanked in the second quarter until Anwar Gill gathered an offensive rebound and laid it up to make it 33-27. Josh Watts then hit a 3-pointer off a John Marshall feed, and on the ensuing possession popped a trey of his own to make it a 36-33 game at the half.

“No defense in the first quarter though that was awful,” Stags head coach Mike Jones said candidly, “That was awful on both sides. 25-22 at a DeMatha-Gonzaga game? That never happens. 

Heading into the final frame after a back-and-forth third quarter, the Stags and Eagles were primed for a scintillating finish. After Stute gave Gonzaga a one-point edge after knocking down a pair of free throws, the Stags responded with a decisive an 8-0 run. Punctuated by a sequence where Carsten Kogelnik splashed home a 3-pointer, Justin Moore drew a charge on the subsequent possession, then Earl Timberlake capped it off with an up-and-under layup and gave the Stags a 54-46 lead they wouldn’t give up. With under 40 seconds to go, Turner decided to play the game straight up trying to avoid sending anybody to the line before Moore converted both free throws on his second trip to the line to give the Stags a 60-55 lead. The strategy shaved 14 seconds off the clock. The Eagles responded when freshman Devin Dinkins cashed a 3-ball off a dish from Stute to make it a 60-58 lead. That would be as close as the Eagles got, as Timberlake iced the game away with a pair of free throws to make up the final four-point deficit. 

“We’ve been doing a good job all year of just staying composed,” Moore said “We gotta do a (better) job of finishing games. We’ll get a lead up and we keep letting them come back and come back so we gotta put them away earlier.”

Richard Montgomery Remains Undefeated Behind Big 3

RM Advances to 9-0 behind Rocket Big 3 Play!

Rockville ~ With the backdrop of a raucous home crowd, the hottest ticket in the Montgomery County was the between Gaithersburg and Richard Montgomery. TheRockets and Trojans scratched and clawed their way to victory, fighting for bragging rights and County supremacy. As RM Head coach David Berslow described, it was the team that didn’t take their lead for granted that was going to win. For every pull-up jumper cashed in, someone else seized control with a key offensive rebound or three-pointer. Plain and simple, you can make any mistakes in this type of rivalry game.

“This is the biggest game of the season and we’re going to play them two more times,” Ryan Cornish said, “I feel like we got to move on. Fix our mistakes. We didn’t play as well as we could’ve.

Rockville held Gaithersburg at bay, 70-65, to remain unblemished at 9-0. The battle of Montgomery County 4A titans lived up to the hype in spite of Gaithersburg coming in at 8-1. Sophomore Ryan Cornish and Miles Gally scored 21-points apiece and Djordje Orcev finished with 15-points of his for the Rockets. The Trojans were led by the sophomore backcourt of Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins dropping 26 and 21-points respectively.

“It’s always fun playing against (Ituka and Hawkins),” Cornish said, “You know people are going to come out and watch us play.”

Initially, Gaithersburg was able to build a 5-point lead bu crashing the offensive boards, and the play of Jordan Hawkins. The 6’4 guard was getting to the rim at will, and controlled the glass scoring 15-points in the first half, including nine in the first quarter. Gaithersburg was able to lead for the first 12 minutes of the game before Richard Montgomery roared back with an 11-0 run and led 36-27 late in the second quarter. The run was punctuated by a falling Cornish 3-pointer that fell despite a heavy contest.

“We go up nine, we just think they’re going to roll over. I think both teams are used to that,” Coach Berslaw, “It’s a maturity thing both teams are more than less led by sophomores. That’s its a big part of it we got maturity from the seniors.”

https://twitter.com/_bwarren/status/1081351533374177281

The sudden nine-point deficit was reversed into a lead after Ituka and Hawkins went on a scoring tear. After a Chris Kouemi layup tied the game at 42-all, back-and-forth the programs went. Until a 3-pointer from Ituka sparked a 10-3 run that gave Gaithersburg a 54-47 lead. After switching into a zone defense to switch things up, the Rockets went on a decisive 11-3 run behind the play of the Rockets Big Three. After Orcev knotted the game up with a 3-pointer from a Gally pass, Gally unleashed a full-court outlet pass to Cornish for a layup to take the lead at 65-63. The zone defense also led to a defensive lockdown of the Trojans, and the Rockets didn’t a single field goal over the final 2:29 of the game. The inability of the Trojans to score was accentuated by Cornish gaining his fourth foul at the 2:09 mark. Ituka tried valiantly to make up the deficit but his shots weren’t falling, meanwhile, Gally, Cornish, and Kordell Lewis closed the game out from the free throw line.

“This is nothing, this means nothing in the end. Undefeated, rankings, all that means unless we win the third game.” Berslaw said, “ If we win the next one, that third one that’s like we’re climbing up Mount Everest.  

SJC Takes Down Prep

Casey Morsell Leads The Way Against Prep

Rockville ~ With just under a minute to go in the first quarter, Casey Morsell waived off a set play and put down a 3-pointer over the outstretched Miles Somerville, giving St. John’s a 20-4 lead and summing up a strong night not just for UVA-commit but his 18th birthday as well. 

“It was great man,” Morsell said, “Nothing better than having a good game on your birthday.”

The Cadets beat Georgetown Prep at the seventh annual Shepherd Foundation Hoops Classic, 80-54, avenging last seasons 59-58 loss. Morsell led the Cadets with 18-points with John Wilson and Darius Maddox joining him in double-figures with 15 and 13-points of their own. Kamdyn Curfman scored a game-high 24-point performance. Zion Russell and Miles Somerville complemented him with 11 and 10 points apiece. 

“Today was just a day where I got downhill,” Wilson said, “I saw opportunities for myself and other players to get them open shots .” 

After an explosive start to the game, St. John’s was able to push the lead to 17 before Curfman sparked an 8-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer that made it 23-14 just moments into the second period. Just as momentum was swinging, Little Hoyas head coach took Curfman out of the game, leading to the Cadets responding with their one 8-0 run, creating a 31-14 lead that was punctuated by a Morsell steal and dunk, exclaiming his emotions on the way down the court. 

“I guess I’m showing my emotions more which can be a good thing or a bad thing.” Morsell said, “I’ve always had a high level of passion and love for the game. I don’t know it’s just me being me”

From there on, the Cadets would lay it on the Little Hoyas, leading by as many as 24-points after John Wilson canned a pair of free throws to make 51-21 early in the second half. Morsell even hit a turnaround jumper on the left side of the court, emphasizing a night where just about everything went right for them offensively and defensively. It was the type of overwhelming performance that the Cadets needed heading into the meat of their conference schedule first facing Bishop Ireton on Friday. Prep will look to bounce back versus Flint Hill on Saturday. 

DeMatha Silences Wilson In Overtime Thriller

ICYMI: Technical Difficulties have been resolved! Click the link and read more about the the controversial overtime classic that went down at Madison Ave Saturday night

Photo Credits Courtesy of The Hop Media

Hyattsville ~ Finally! After three days we now have a DeMatha Christmas Tournament champion. Not only that, we have a true champion bearer of DMV hoops. Speculation of who would win a game between DeMatha and Wilson was finally answered Saturday night.

“That was just a great game,” Stags coach Mike Jones said, “It was ugly, the referees let us play. Ultimately we had the ball last and thats, I think why we were successful.”

The Stags extinguished the Tigers, 56-54, in a thrilling overtime victory that ended on a controversial buzzer-beater from Earl Timberlake. Timberlake led all scorers with 18-points and a number of jaw-dropping blocksHunter Dickinson joined him in double-digits with 17-points. Makhi Mitchell led Wilson with a 13-point performance.

“We been playing against each other since we were kids,” Timberlake said, “They’ve always been good as a friendly rival.”

The sellout crowd on provided the ideal background for the game. Fans from all over the Washington D.C. metropolitan area traveled to Madison Avenue just to see these two champions play. Funny enough, it seemed like the crowd was split mainly between the Tigers and Timberlake, whom lives and grew up in the city himself. The game itself was fast-paced and physical. Neither team giving an inch to the other, bodies flying and falling on the floor like it was a 90’s NBA playoff game. Back-and-forth they went when Jay Heath hit a floater, DeMatha fed Dickinson on the right block and let him go to work. In fact, that hook shot led to a 9-2 run, giving the Stags a 20-15 lead going into the second quarter. The Stags entered the second half up 27-24, after Carlos Dunn’s double-clutch layup to end the half. Midway through the third quarter, Heath drove to the rim for an and-1 opportunity and had a chance to make tie the game at 33, but missed the subsequent free throw. Romaro Hutchinson tied the game up at 37-all when he knocked down a 3-pointer after a feed from Mekhi Mithcell. Hunter Dickinson responded with a hook shot from the right block to give the Stags a one-possession lead going into the fourth and final quarter.

It was in the final frame that Wilson finally took the momentum on a 9-0 run, highlighted by Dimingus Stevens’ back-to-back 3-pointers, including finishing a 4-point play over Justin Moore. Mekhi Mitchell than gave Wilson a 49-48 lead to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. Justin Moore had a chance to give the Stags a one-point lead but bricked the first free throw and then sunk the other one for just a 49-all tie. Heath’s ensuing fadeaway against Dickinson fell well short and forced overtime.

In the decisive overtime period, Wilson had to go at it without the Mitchell twins, M Makhel being disqualified at the 2:13 mark and Makhi leaving at 24.3 seconds. Nonetheless, the Tigers took the lead after back-to-back buckets from Zaakir Williamson gave Wilson a 54-50 lead. Dickinson, ever a consistent offensive hub, dropped another hook shot and then Jahmir Young sunk both his field trip to tie the game up. On their final possession, Jay Heath drove to the rim but lost the ball on the way up, giving DeMatha the ball with 24.9 ticks left. That’s when Earl Timberlake worked his magic and hit a fadeaway over Dimingus Stevens.

“We knew it was going to be one the top games in the DMV,” Timberlake said, “We just tried to use our heads and play tough.”

Despite the controversy of the game-winning shot going up in time or not, we would be remiss as media and basketball fans alike to say this contest won’t go down as a classic. Wilson’s next game will be against Ballou on January 4, while DeMatha goes up against Good Council on the same day.

Baltimore Poly Takes St. John’s Down In Epic Thriller

Washington D.C. ~ Simply heartbreak. That was what Baltimore Polytechnic came in to deliver during their trip to the nations capital. The Engineers were already playing with something to prove, fully aware of the perception that Baltimore players do not stack up to the elite talent that the Washington D.C. metropolitan produces. The Engineers knew that a capturing signature win over a top 50 program like St. John’s College High School would make a very loud statement. The type of statement that can put Baltimore on the map as a hoops hotbed.

“This was for Baltimore,” Poly head coach Sam Brand said, “We heard a lot of talk about how Baltimore teams can’t compete down here and we know that we can. We embraced the opportunity to do so.”

The Engineers prevailed in overtime, 59-58, in the main event of the More Than Basketball St. John’s Invitational. Justin Lewis scored 16-points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Rahim Ali scored 15-points, dished a pair of assists, and grabbed six rebounds. The Cadets were led by a 20-point performance by Casey Morsell. Jalin Abbott and Ishmael Leggett joined Morsell in double-figures with 14 and 13

points respectively.

” We came in the game with a chip on our shoulder,” Ali said, “They’re a top-50 team in the country and that’s where we want to be.”

Through each bucket exchanged and every bit of trash talk spoken neither the Engineers nor the Cadets allowed themselves to lie down without a fight. That competitiveness and desire to win helped the Cadets erase an 11-point deficit on the strength of a 14-5 run in the third quarter that culminated in a 40-all tie after a Devon Dunn spin layup in transition. After a scoring drought that lasted nearly three minutes, Casey Morsell went on a personal 5-0 run to end the quarter to grab a 44-43 lead heading into the final frame. From there the Cadets would be lead by as much as five before the Engineers took the lead back when Justin Lewis sank a pair of free throws to create a one-point lead in the waning minutes of the game. Jalin Abbott than forced a Poly timeout when he hit a dagger 3-pointer to give his Cadets squad a 54-51 lead. Ali responded when he went the full length of the court and sank a sidestep 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Morsell to force an extra period.

The overtime period provided some more fireworks from two proud programs. Ian Wallace scorched the nets late with a 3-pointer for a 57-56 lead, seemingly burying the Cadets after Morsell missed on a contested jumper, and John Wilson turned the ball after stepping out of bounds on the baseline. Poly than gave St. John’s after Lewis turned the ball over trying to inbound the ball and inadvertently set up the thrilling final sequence after Morsell scored on a tough layup with the clock dwindling down fast. Ali would coolly go the length of the full-court with untouched before hop-stepping and sinking a reverse layup to win the game.

“I just had to feed off my team,” Ali said, ” I had to know when to go and when to feed my team. I had to feed Justin (because) he was cooking. When they started double-teaming him I knew more was going to be open for me so I just took the shots that were open.

A Very Merry DeMatha Christmas Tournament:

Day 1 of the DeMatha Christmas Tournament has come and gone. The four games slated were played by Baltimore Poly and Granby, Wilson and Rock Creek Christian, host DeMatha and Riverdale Baptist, and finally JL Mann vs Bowie. The Hop only covered Poly vs Granby and Wilson vs Rock Creek Christian. 

Poly vs Granby:

The Baltimore City powerhouse continues to perform on the biggest stages and finish well in the late stages. The Engineers put on a defensive clinic, blocking five shots, collecting eight steals on 13 total turnovers, including forcing a pair of shot-clock violations in both halves. Poly created separation midway through the second quarter when they went on a 10-0 run, making it 27-17 before Jeriah Sweat finished a 3-point play. Granby got to within 34-33 when Sweat hit back-to-back layups in the third quarter but that was close as they would get to grabbing control. The Engineers would finish the fourth quarter with a 13-3 run highlighted by a thunderous Lewis slam to make it 51-42.

Justin Lewis led Poly with 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, and 5 steals in a true stat-sheet stuffing outing. Jayden Epps scored 23 of his own

Wilson vs Rock Creek Christian

The Tigers came into this contest ready to flex their signature electric athleticism out once again at the DeMatha basketball court. The plethora of dunks and sweet shooting from Wilson provided some worthwhile entertainment for the growing crowd on Madison Avenue. The Rock Creek Christian was willing to meet physicality and toughness with Wilson but we’re unable to hang after the first quarter. Simply being overpowered as far as shot-making is the only way to way to describe it. James Gross nearly gave his RCCA teammates a major boost when he attempted to posterized Mahkel Mitchell in transition but the attempt was too strong. 

 Delonnie Hunt was the only true threat with 17 points, but Hunt was battling an ankle injury suffered last week in a game against St. John’s. Mitchell led the Tigers with a game-high 18 points, joined by Jay Heath and brother   Makhi in double digits with 16 and 15 points respectively. 

Wilson Rebounds Before City of Palms Classic

D.C. Powerhouse WIlson overpowers National Christian

Washington D.C. ~ All season, Wilson was unable to play with the confidence and swagger that was prevalent throughout their summer workouts and games. Angelo Hernandez, head coach of the Tigers, says Saturday night was their first time hitting shots in an important game. At 7-2 with tough loses to Montverde and Prolific Prep behind them, Hernandez and the Tigers can only hope that their high-powered offense travels with them to the City of Palms Classic in Fort Meyers, Florida.

“It’s been kind of different than usual,” Hernandez said, “(Our) team is still jelling. We had summer league than there was no scrimmages, it was off. So there’s a big difference.”

“We just wanted to come in and bounce back tonight,” Heath said, “We just executed the game plan, share the ball, rebound and we got the W.”

Tempers briefly flared when Makhel Mitchell got tangled up wrestling a rebound away from National Christian’s Aaron Wilson, both athletes drawing techs for their extra circulars. Just a moment before, Mekhi Mitchell threw an elbow trying to create space as he was hacked at by the Eagles after collecting a rebound as well. Hernandez summed it up to frustration at their heavy minutes and dealing with physical play. Nonetheless, it was Mahkel Mitchell that was given the rest of the night off after 11 minutes, while brother Mekhi played 24. 

“I wish I could not play both, to be honest,” Hernandez said “ I know they need a break. Sometimes it becomes frustrating when your body is not the same as it was seven, eight games ago, 25 practices ago.

Wilson was never truly challenged at the contest, jumping out to a double-digit lead when they went on a quick 11-0 run before Jimmy Kpadey hit a 3-pointer to stop the bleeding and make it 16-6 early in the first quarter. The blowout allowed the Tigers to gain some much-needed confidence before their game against Mountain Brook at the City of Palms tournament. The joy and smiles were prevalent after every dunk thrown down and three-pointer swished through the net. Guys like Darren Buchanon Jr, Jay Heath, and Mahki Mitchell were more than happy to show off their electric athleticism in the open and half-court setting off of designed ally oops. It’s something that up until this game was hard to come by. The confidence that was featured throughout play when they ruled the Capitol Hoops Summer League and shocked media at the Maryland Team camp finally shined through.  

Triple Threat Training: A Modern Family Business

Get To Know Josh Morgan-Green and his growing training business! Triple Threat Training is the premiere training service that has clients walk through its facility like Chris Lykes, DJ Harvey, Luke Garza, Nia Clouden, and Liz Martino

Photo Courtesy of Triple Threat Training and Darnell Alexander

Joshua Morgan-Green was an active, athletic kid who excelled at basketball from the time he was six. He received well-deserved basketball honors from local publications throughout his career. Fast forward to now and meet the businessman who founded an innovative basketball training and multimedia company housed in a facility that doubles as a learning center.  He’s trained hundreds of kids all while caring for his growing family and fiancé at home.

 

“Working hard is the only thing I got to survive right now man,” Morgan-Green stressed.  “People are depending on me to get it right.”

 

His mother, Sheri Morgan-Johnson, defined those early years as stressful, to say the least. She recalls taking Joshua on a trip to Atlanta to help a friend that was in search of models for a children’s calendar for her company. He talked so much they were ready to put the family back on the plane.

 

“I told his pediatrician, ‘Okay either you’re going to have to medicate him or you’re going to have to medicate me, one of us is not going to make it.” Morgan-Johnson reminisced. “I didn’t really mean that I was just trying to express to her that I was tired. I was glad I didn’t have a pediatrician who would try to settle him down.”

 

After this appointment, Morgan-Johnson accepted Josh’s overwhelming energy as part of their life. She sought out other ways for her son to use that active energy; signing him up for soccer, basketball, even tapping into his future businessman by being a part of a children’s investment fund that owns stock in Mcdonalds.

 

“If I had really crushed that energy and said I need you to sit in a chair, I need you to focus, you know, things may have turned out a little bit differently,” Morgan-Johnson added.

 

Morgan-Green would go on to invest the majority of that energy into a basketball career. A 5’10” point guard, he led his high school team in scoring for three years. He averaged 26 points a game as a junior, earning Honorable Mention honors in the Washington Post, First-Team All-Baltimore Sun, First-Team All-Arundel County, and runner-up for Player Of the Year for Anne Arundel County. He finished his junior year with an MIAA B Conference championship over then-defending champs Mount Carmel.

 

It seemed his senior year would go down in the record books, averaging 34 points a game before he broke his left wrist in a Christmas tournament game. He came down hard after throwing down a dunk and a trailing defender accidentally took his legs out. The rest of that game he was in pain, but he played through to the final buzzer. His final high school shot would be an overtime game-winner.

 

“When I got on the bus it just like swelled up, and I felt like I was having an anxiety attack,” Morgan-Green said. “They had to take me to the emergency room and they had to give me all of these meds and they told me my wrist was broken.”

 

His mother scheduled his surgery with the top hand-specialist. Morgan-Green received surgery requiring three screws to repair his left wrist. Full recovery was six to seven months, effectively ending his high school career and Division I recruitment.

The injury wouldn’t derail his goal of gaining a college degree. He even signed to play Division II basketball for Southern New Hampshire University and legendary head coach Stan Spirou.

“He was great. I mean he was a hard coach. He’d motherf**k you to death,” Morgan-Green said. “I just wasn’t prepared for that. I thought ‘This dude doesn’t like me why does he have me up here’. But, as I grew as a person, I started to realize that’s just his teaching style, it’s not personal.”

 

He followed his high school success with over 100 games at the collegiate level, but the real championship he wanted was in the classroom. Morgan-Green graduated in 2012 with an Information Technology Systems degree with a minor in Accounting. His first job was at Accenture as a software engineer, but he felt a void in his life. Basketball was his passion and first love, and he missed it. That’s when he decided to link up with Coach Cedric Holbrook and future St. Mary’s Ryken men’s head basketball coach Keith Booth in 2012. It was there that Morgan-Green met a promising sophomore guard in Jared Grey. A key piece for the Bowie High School basketball program and certainly a solid talent in Prince George’s County, Morgan-Green saw a lot of himself in Gray. He schooled the younger ballers. Eventually, Gray asked his young coach to share his secrets.

 

The mentor and mentee would sneak into Sport Fit Bowie and workout. Gray’s incremental improvements left an impression on his Bowie teammates. Gray’s little brother, Mike, Jalen Robinson, a current sophomore guard at Morgan State, and Quinton Drayton, a redshirt freshman who plays for Towson University, soon joined the workout sessions.

 

“Josh has been nothing but a big brother to me,” Jared Gray said. “He’s One of the main reasons why I had such a drastic improvement in my game in high school and on to college, constantly helping me out in the gym and in life period.”

 

Morgan-Green started JMG Training in 2014, making the first step in branching out on his own in the training business. Jared Gray recommended another young player, Johnathan McGriff, for Morgan-Green to workout. McGriff was a hyped-up point guard and incoming freshman playing for Bishop McNamara. The scouting report on the diminutive guard was that he had exceptional handles, but his jump-shot wouldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Morgan-Green and McGriff spent every day in the lab honing that jump shot. Hard work paid off when McGriff attended the CP3 Rising Star camp and stunned everyone. He went 10/16 from beyond the arc against Cole Anthony, the son of UNLV legend Greg Anthony.

 

After the camp, Morgan-Green picked up another client, Sheriff Kenny from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the number one player in the 2019 class at the time. When Morgan-Green returned to Maryland, he started working out McGriff and Kenney together and put together a workout tape that ended up going viral.  

   

 

Video courtesy of Josh Morgan-Green’s YouTube

“That’s the first time I ever did like a little highlight tape for training,” Morgan-Green said, “Put it on Youtube, and it was like it blew up in a matter of days.”

 

Morgan-Green was able to get a consistent spot for JMG Training at Get Good Training Facility. He was also able to get McDonald’s All American and University of Maryland signee Jalen Smith on board to train as well. After posting another popular video sponsored by DMV Elite, Morgan-Green decided to take another big step. He knew that he wanted to create an innovative multi-million-dollar company and drew inspiration from Chris Brickley; a former Southern New Hampshire University player. Brickley was proof of the path out there for former college hoopers turned to overachieving trainers.

 

“You had these D2 guys that were now training D1 athletes, pro athletes. Morgan-Green said. “I’m like man, I know I can do it, it was just motivation for me.”  

The strides that Jalen Smith made since working out with newly named Triple Threat Training, caught a windfall of recognition. Other marquee guys like Darryl Morsell, Ryan Allen, DJ Harvey, Chris Lykes, Aaron Thompson, and Daquan Bracey joined Smith and started coming up to train; denouncing their shoe-sponsored AAU teams they could train with for free. Triple Threat gave these guys a new environment to compete in. After the Title IX D.C. Classic in December 2016, Triple Threat posted a workout session mixtape in 2017 that went viral featuring future Division I hoopers Nia Clouden, Lindsey Pulliam, Mykea Gray, Octavia Wilson, Aisha Shephard, and Liz Martino. With that tape out, more young women like Kalia Charles and Raven James from the University of Maryland and Villanova helped start the girl’s program respectively. Morgan-Green was on the right track with his methods.

 

“It’s gotten so intense where it’s like you would think there would be a lot more fights cause you got big-name guys,” Morgan-Green said. “It’s just so fun to watch. And I got a film of this like I still can go back and look at those tapes.”

 

After the Get Good Facility closed in February 2017, Triple Threat faced its biggest test. They transitioned to holding sessions in Bowie City Gym. Morgan-Green also had to navigate around parents who couldn’t afford or simply refused to pay the workout fee.

 

“It sucked because now you start realizing the economics of everything. Because parents don’t want to pay for training.” Morgan-Green said. “They believe that their kid is the best in the world so they don’t believe that they should be paying for training. I don’t believe I should be working for free.”

 

To top it off, he lost a government IT job when his contract wasn’t renewed, losing benefits sorely needed for his young son and a second child on the way. Just eight days later, his daughter Nova was born on April 10th. With his son, Lil Josh and newly born Nova on his mind, that very next day, Morgan-Green decided to gamble once again on himself and find a permanent facility. Merritt Properties saw the vision for Triple Threat and decided to invest. On May 8th, 2017, the current facility was opened.

 

“Not many companies were willing to take a chance but Merrett did,” Morgan-Johnson said. “They have really stood by this company, Triple Threat Training and supported me in my venture.”

 

Now in 2018, Triple Threat is a thriving business. The entire Morgan family is heavily involved with day-to-day operations and allow Josh to focus on recruiting, marketing, and posting quality content.  The company means so many things. It’s a safe space for kids to come in and express themselves. They can look at Morgan-Green as more than just their trainer but a big brother as well. Cultivating a competitive but nurturing environment where kids are being mentored to be more than athletes. It’s about the kids, not the AAU organizations or the coaches. At the end of the day, basketball doesn’t work without the kids.   

 

“You have to be a listener. We always preach that this is more than training, you’re a mentor,” Morgan-Green said, “You just gotta keep instilling these qualities in these kids that it’s more than just basketball.”

 

Camps, all-star games and media sponsorships are a reality now, creating more exposure for his clients and other kids. The Triple Threat Classic evolved from holding three games to seven. The House of Threat Grind Session camp followed, which is an NBA-style combine for middle and high school boys and girls. The most sentimental event for Morgan-Green is the Audrey Augustus Breast Cancer Game, in honor of Morgan-Green’s aunt who passed away from breast cancer. Proceeds from the game are donated to the Avon Foundation and the game is dedicated to breast cancer survivors or those who passed. He’s even signed media contracts creating and marketing content for kids to get more exposure with St. James Academy, Archbishop Carroll and Bishop Ireton. Triple Threat also hosts the Gonzaga DC Classic. The girl’s program helped birth The Fifteen. Originally a local elite girls camp, it transformed into a national event in the summer of 2018, featuring local talents like Liz Martino, Lyric Swan, and Jakia Brown-Turner and national players like Celeste Taylor, Jordyn Oliver, and Deja Kelly. Jahmir Young, Mekhi Long, and Myles Stute were amongst the group headlining the inaugural boys The Fifteen.

The ultimate goal for the company is to start training professional basketball players. Morgan-Green hopes to maintain these training relationships starting with high school, through college and ultimately into their professional career. Generational wealth is the goal for his family. There’s a certain pride that comes with owning your own business with hopes of passing it on and keeping it in the family. According to Morgan-Green, it’s all for his two kids, and the future generation coming up. Acquiring generational wealth and being able to provide opportunities previously unattainable. 

 

“That’s one of the main reasons it’s even more important because it’s like to be that figure to a little boy and a little girl,” Morgan-Green said. “You know people have done that all throughout time and you see it feeds families.”

 

“You ask my mom that’s probably the first thing that she says,” Morgan-Green said staring off into the distance, imagining the possibilities, “She loves that word, that’s why she helps.” 

 

Photo Courtesy of Triple Threat Training and Darnell Alexander

Towson Takes Down Loyola 85-69

Towson ~ The college basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint. A frustrating 0-3 outing at the Island of Bahamas Showcase had Towson Head Coach reminiscing about his first season at the school, a 31-loss season. Nevertheless, he made it clear that he was proud of his guys for their resiliency, especially in the last 10 minutes.

“It’s a work in progress,” Brian Forbes said, “It may take a while, but this game definitely helps especially with our spacing, moving the ball, not being stagnant.”

The Tigers came back from a seven-point deficit at the half to win 85-69 over Loyola. Fobbs andTobias Howard combined for 48 points in the win, 25 and 23 respectively. The two transfer guards are a part of the 10 new players on this squad, and proudly own the pressure and responsibilities of being the leaders of this team. Nakye Sanders, the third of the 10 players, joined them in double figures with 14points and added nine rebounds. Loyola was led by Andrew Kostecka, who scored a career-high 30 points.

“They run good offense,” Towson Head Coach PatSkerry said, “Anytime a guy drops 30 on you, you got trouble.”

It was a tale of two halves for the two Baltimore universities. Loyola was able to run their sets and execute their offense in an efficient manner, hitting on 51 percent shooting of their field goals, including knocking down seven 3-pointers at a 41percent clip. Astonishingly, out of their 17 field goals, 11 of them were assisted. Loyola was able to rip off a 14-5 run to take control of the game, creating a 36-28 advantage. At this moment five different Greyhounds scored, including Kostecka who scored seven points. The junior guard hit a 3-pointer off an assist from Kenneth Jones that gave Loyola a 25-24 lead, a steal-and-dunk, and a tip-in basket.

 “We try to pride ourselves on defense,” Skerry said, “But they’re a hard team to guard.”

The Greyhound formula of forcing catches away from the play and giving up little to no space on dribble-drives resulted in the Tigers initiating their offense deep in the shot clock and having to put up heavily contested shots. Fortunately, Towson hit 48 percent of their shots, but couldn’t hit the ocean from distance, only hitting three3-pointers out of 11. The Tigers turned it around on the Greyhounds, stiflingLoyola into 27 percent shooting from the field, and allowing two 3-point baskets. Towson grabbed the lead and never looked back during a 10-0 run, finished off by the aforementioned Fobbs-Timberlake 3-point connection. Loyola cut the lead to as close as four after a Chuck Champion backdoor layup made it66-62, but that was close as the Greyhounds would get. The Towson defense didn’t allow a single field goal to go down in the final 5:48 of the contest, forcing the Greyhounds offense to a halt. Loyola went 0-8 down the stretch.

“They set the tone in the second half,” Loyola head Coach Tavaras Hardy said, “Thought we did things offensively in the first half that was difficult for them to guard but the second half they were able to get us out of our rhythm. “

By De La Pham: The One Who Stopped Fighting

The one who stopped fighting

you see, the thing is.. everyone is fighting for something.

whether it’s their life? someone else’s? a dream? a goal? a person? happiness? sadness? death? life? or love?

everyone’s fighting for something.

but then you meet the people who stopped, who stopped fighting for their lives, someone else’s, a dream, a goal, a person, happiness, sadness, death, life and most importantly love.

those people are lost in their own ways and lost in every way to the world.

These are the people who fought till they lost all of their fights and became brutally injured; inside and out.

how do you save someone who’s not willing to save themselves? do you let them drown? do you let them go in order to save yourself? the truth is… you learn.

you learn what your strength is, you learn what your weakness is, you learn what happiness does to you and what sadness does to you all because of one person. The one who stopped fighting.

you learn that your soul becomes apart of theirs only because your own lost soul finds another lost one and rekindles everything. Mesmerizing it to feel like they are no longer alone in this cruel world we all live in. Here’s the good part, you become a huge part of their lives, in fact you become their favorite. The part where they run to because it’s where they no longer feel lost. You in some ways become their home and they become yours.

You’ve learned what your strength does to others in a positive way. But what does it do to you?  I learned I can be someone’s light to help guide them out of their torturous darkness. But I also learned doing so people can take advantage. In learning your strengths, you learn your weaknesses. You learn you cannot take someone else’s pain and make it your own. But it’s not because you want them to think you understand you know how it feels because you couldn’t possibly. You make it your own pain so they don’t have to carry so much of it now. You start to care and that’s when you mess up. My weakness is thinking i can become someone’s happiness. You learn that you love this person and you want nothing but the best for them. Strangely enough, you learn about happiness here.  When it comes to happiness, it is within you. It is your light and your life. It is who you are. You bring your own happiness and someone else is supposed to simply add to it. Sometimes, when you’re bringing your own happiness.. People tend to take it as their own. This is where you learn sadness. As quick as I wrote about happiness is how quickly it went. Learning about someone else’s sadness brought me my own. As well as old pain that I had. But as hard as everything was, in the end.. I still learned more about myself than I ever have. I learned about my strengths, weaknesses, what makes me happy and what makes me sad. I learned I am the person in charge of it all and not the person who stopped fighting.. Because you know what? I am not the one who stopped fighting.

Boys hoops: No. 1 Wise overcomes 10-point deficit, puts away No. 5 Eleanor Roosevelt in OT

UPPER MARLBORO — On the first possession of overtime, Wise senior guard Brent Pegram was issued his fifth and disqualifying foul. Before stepping off the court, he had a message for his teammates

“I told them we’re not going out like this,” Pegram said. “And we was going to live to see another day”.

Thanks to the momentous contributions of Michael Speight (31 points), Brandon Howell (21 points) and Darron Barnes (17 points), No. 1 Wise erased a double-digit second half deficit to top No. 5 Eleanor Roosevelt in overtime, 86-72, and advance to the Class 4A South region final against Parkdale on Saturday.

If you were to tell anyone at Thursday’s game that Wise would bounce back with authority in latter stages of the fourth quarter, trailing by 10, they’d probably look at you like you were crazy. Everything that could’ve went wrong, went wrong for Wise at the beginning in the second quarter.

The Pumas couldn’t find the bottom of the net until a Terrence Gibbons layup dropped with about 3:30 left in the first half tying the game up 24-24. Thanks to the impressive defense of the Raiders, Wise only scored six points in the second period to Roosevelt’s 14.

“In that second quarter, we started to be selfish,” Pegram said. “That’s not the team that we are, man. We’re a great team when we play together”

After the break, the Pumas started to play like their usual selves, but were still falling victim to momentary defensive lapses. During a 9-3 run to begin the third quarter capped by a jumper from Jaden Faulkner, the Raiders pushed their lead to 37-29. Even when Wise tied it up at 39-39 with its own 9-2 run punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers from Howell and Speight, Cameron Brown spotted up from the right corner and canned his own transition 3 to regain Roosevelt’s advantage, 42-39.

Wise then brought it to one possession when Darron Barnes converted a putback to make it 46-44 to enter the fourth quarter.

Before the Pumas could blink, they were down 58-48 in the opening minutes of the final frame. Thanks to a quad of 3-pointers from Augustin Okafor, Cameron Brown and Juston Bailey, the Raiders seized the momentum.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Speight said. “We just wanted to settle down, take our time, and make our own run.”

As the game inched closer to the finish, a fire was lit in the Pumas. With less than three minutes to go, trailing 62-54, Wise was finally produced. They locked on both ends, getting key buckets from their senior starters, including Pegram, who battled leg cramps in the second half. A decisive 7-0 run brought Wise back within 62-61. After Bailey made a trio of free throws to make it 65-61, Barnes took over in the closing minute, tying the game up at 66-all with a putback. After misses from both Speight and Okafor, the game headed to overtime

“I mean, that’s, just what we do.” Barnes said. “We’ve been doing that since sophomore year, so this was nothing new for us. We just did what we know to do and took the game by the horns ”

In the extra period, Speight, Howell, Barnes each had a part in the hard fought victory. While holding Roosevelt to only six points in overtime, the senior trio combined for 18 points. Speight, himself, had 10 of those points, each time attacking the rim with intense focus.

When the game was all but over, and the score at 85-62, Barnes and Howell locked arms, watching Speight at the free throw line with smiles on their faces and daping each other up

“That just shows how persistent and strong we are,” Barnes said. ” Unfortunately it took us a while to crack down. But better late than never.”

Boys hoops: Jaden Faulkner powers No. 4 Eleanor Roosevelt past No. 6 Douglass-PG, 63-59

LAUREL — Behind a monster third quarter performance from Jaden Faulkner and stifling team defense on the other end, No. 4 Eleanor Roosevelt held off No. 6 Frederick Douglass in the Prince George’s County Challenge at Laurel High School Saturday night, 63-59.

The contest started in fast-in-furious fashion as Douglass controlled the pace, forcing Roosevelt sophomore guard Cameron Brown to play to their tempo. Douglass, with their full-court press, converted two steals into thunderous fast-break dunks, both by DeMarius Pitts.

Jaden Faulkner’s steady presence had Roosevelt out in front after the first quarter, 16-15.

The second quarter started off inauspiciously for Roosevelt, as Douglass clamped down on defense, going on a 9-2 run punctuated by two fast-break dunks from Pitts and Zion Cousins.

“I think we handled adversity well as a team,” Faulkner said. “We just came out together and said it’s just a run, they’re going to punch us so we’re going to punch back.”

Despite the sudden momentum change, the Roosevelt squad did not didn’t welter.

Instead of playing Douglass’ run-and-gun style, Roosevelt countered with physicality inside. Forwards Marquise Certain and Augustine Okafor controlled the boards, took charges, and challenged every shot they could at the rim.

Douglass led at halftime, 34-31.

In the third quarter, the Raiders outscored Douglass 21-6 to mount a 52-40 lead heading into the fourth period.

Once again, Faulkner (game-high 29 points) commanded the offense and reeled off another 10-point burst during the momentous third quarter. Okafor, Certain and Isaiah Gross also contributed to the burst.

Frustration settled in for Douglass, as a technical foul ballooned a four-point deficit into eight when Roosevelt’s Isaiah Gross converted four of five free throws.

Roosevelt led 50-42 after Gross’ four free throws, and Faulkner extended it to 12 after a layup.

Douglass opened the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run and temporarily took their first lead since the opening minute of regulation, 55-54.

“We knew they were going to go on a run,” sophomore Cameron Brown said. “We just had to stay together as a team and when it got close we had to get more stops and convert on offense.”

After the Douglass run, Roosevelt answered and retook the lead, 56-55, behind a pair of Faulkner free throws.

From there, the Raiders defense and four free throws from Cameron Brown put the game away.

“I think the kids showed a lot of toughness tonight,” Eleanor Roosevelt coach Brendan O’Connell said. “Just playing through mistakes and the ups and downs. Both teams went on a bunch of big runs, our guys showed a lot of heart and mental toughness.”

The Raiders were without starter Barly Kanu, who is out with an undisclosed injury. O’Connell said Kanu will likely be back next week.

Roosevelt resumes play against High Point and has a rematch with ranked Bladensburg. Douglass Douglass, meanwhile, plays Croom Vocational and Surrattsville.

Boys hoops: DeMatha gets revenge, tops Gonzaga on senior night

HYATTSVILLE —  As soon as Carsten Kolgenik’s 3-pointer banked in at the end of the first quarter, fans and students alike knew the soldout contest between Gonzaga and DeMatha would once again unfold as a classic.

“They’re clearly a rival, Steve [Turner] and I have battled for years,” DeMatha head coach Mike Jones said. “It’s fun, honestly. It’s really a lot of fun.”

With playoff implications at stake, the Stags were able to pull out the much-needed 82-75 victory over the Eagles to create a three-way tie with Gonzaga and Paul VI for top seeding in the upcoming WCAC tournament. With two games remaining, DeMatha is unsure if winning out will guarantee them home-court advantage for the postseason.

“They beat us at their house,” Ryan Allen said of DeMatha’s 76-63 loss to Gonzaga on January 24. “[There] was a lot of smack talk on Twitter. We all saw that, and it basically just fired us up to play harder today.”

DeMatha’s Allen and D.J. Harvey turned in memorable performances on senior night, scoring 34 and 25 points respectively. Allen also drilled six 3’s and provided highlight after highlight.

“After every shot I felt like the rim got better,” Allen said with a grin. “My teammates encouraged me to shoot so that’s what I did.”

The Deleware commit also went toe-to-toe with Miami commit Chris Lykes, a former AAU teammate.

Late in the second quarter, the duel between the two guards went full-throttle as Lykes started a sequence of 3’s to give Gonzaga leads of 39-36 and 42-36. The next trip down, Allen performed a crossover and nailed a pull-up jumper to make it a 42-38 game.

The final frame didn’t disappoint as Harvey shouldered the load after Allen had to sit with his fourth foul. Harvey scored 11 points in the final frame, hitting mid-range jumpers, going to the rack and even conversions at the free throw line. For the last two years, free throws have been a source of chagrin for Harvey, as the Gonzaga faithful heckled him about his letdown at the stripe in the WCAC championship game two years ago.

“For him as a player to take criticism and turn it into a positive where he just focused on free throws, and he didn’t take it the wrong way, he took it the right way, and just got better at it,” Allen said.

Allen put the nail in the coffin when he hit his final shot of the night with less than 25 seconds left to make it 80-75. Gonzaga had one last chance to threaten, but Myles Dread missed a 3-pointer at the top of the key.

For Gonzaga (22-5, 14-3) plays Bishop Ireton tomorrow evening in the regular season finale. DeMatha (21-5, 13-4), meanwhile, concludes their season with games against St. Mary’s Ryken on Saturday and Paul VI on Monday.

Jones also picked up his 400th career win as the head coach at DeMatha.

Boys hoops: Balanced offense fuels Blair in upset win over No. 17 Kennedy

SILVER SPRING — Heading into their rematch with Kennedy and its vaunted full-court press, Blair was keenly aware of the importance of ball security.

That awareness paid off on Friday night, as the Blazers stunned the No. 17 Cavaliers, 63-60.

“We had two good days of practice, with (Kennedy) they throw so much pressure at you,” Blair Coach Damon Pigrom said. “We just really worked on getting the ball out of pressure and then attacking”

In the first quarter, Kennedy forced Blair into six turnovers and converted three of them into fast-break layups to take an early 16-14 lead. Blair answered with a 3-pointer from Demetri Cooper and a pair of free throws from Julius Cobb to lead 19-16 after the first quarter.

Blair entered halftime with a 36-26 lead after holding the Cavaliers to 10 points in the second quarter.

Kennedy opened the second half with a new sense of urgency, chopping Blair’s 10-point lead to 47-44 with a 13-5 burst, capped by a Tavarez layup.

In the fourth quarter, Kennedy’s Johnathon Mustamu tied the game at 47-all, but Blair closed the deal with a 10-2 run to take a 57-49 lead.

Demetri Cooper, Anthony Smith-Davis, Von Natividad and Elyas Bisle sealed the win at the free throw line.

On the night, all five starters for Blair scored in double figures, led by Ethan Price (15 points) and Demetri Cooper (14 points on five 3-pointers).

“Our bench showed up big, everyone showed up tonight,” Demetri said “Played their role and everyone performed good”.

For Kennedy, Johnathon Mustamu led the way with a game high 19 points