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.”

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.

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.”

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.”

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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.

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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.

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

Roose keeps Bowie an arms-length away

Bowie ~ The PG County 4A division is touted as having some of the most physical and competitive teams in DMV hoops circles and tonight’s thriller was another example of how you can never take a day during divisional play.

“We’re just happy to get another win,” Roose head coach Brendan O’Connell said, ” May have not been pretty at times, but it’s a win.”

Eleanor Roosevelt outlasted Bowie in a Friday Night Hoops thriller, 76-70. Jaamir Butler scored a game-high 26-points(four 3-pointers) while Cam Brown scores 18-points of his own to lead the Raiders. The Bulldogs received a double digit contributions from Kyree Freeman-Davis with his 23-points, Bobby Carson(12-points), and Nigel Santa-Cruz(11-points)

“Early on I was just hitting shots and my team noticed,” Butler said, ” Coach talked at the timeouts and was telling us that they saw I was hot so they wanted me to get the ball and if I’m open just put it up.”

The Prince George’s County 4A division game was nearly a replica of their earlier matchup when Roose stomped on Bowie 79-57. The Raiders offense was humming for nearly the entire contest, building a 20-point edge through the dominant play of Butler. The Raiders put together a strong thIrd frame behind an individual 9-0 run from Butler. The senior guard used his length on the boards for a tap-in, hit a nifty up-and-under layup, nailed his third 3-ball of the night, and finishing it with a trip to the free throw line creating a 55-35 lead.

Heading into the final frame down 20-points, the Bulldogs were desperate for a run to get back into the contest. That’s exactly what they received early on in the quarter when Bowie ripped off a 9-2 run. The run was punctuated by an and-1 bucket from Carson that brought the Bulldog faithful to their feet. After the ensuing free throw, the gap was closing before Butler swished a pair of free throws and made it 66-54. The sudden cold-shooting and defensive breakdowns were exasperated by Isaiah Gross fouling out at the 2:12 mark after battling foul trouble all night. The Bulldogs responded by reeling off yet another run going 9-2 once again, nearly blowing the top off the building when Freeman-Davis nailed a cold-blooded 3-pointer to make it 73-70 with just 23 seconds left in the game. Willie Rivera was fouled on the following possession but the freshman guard showed nerves of steel and hit both of his free throws.

“Playing in AAU, even in middle school I’ve played in games like (this),” Rivera said, “A lot of people in the crowd, and I just knocked down the free throws. I just knew I was going to make it.

Jordan Harris’ 3-pointer following a time-out clanked off the right rim. The Bulldogs valiant push fell short when Bowie turned the ball over and and Brown, went one for two at the line. The Bulldogs next opponent is Wise while Roose plays Suitland next.

KD2DC Isn’t Happening, But We Should’ve Seen It Happening

Kevin Durant’s journey to super-stardom began in the great state of Maryland. Growing up in Prince Georges County, raised by his single mother, he grew to love the game of basketball while playing AAU with future NBA players such as Ty Lawson, Greivis Vasquez and Michael Beasley. He expanded his game at the famous Barry Farms court, home of the Goodman League.  After playing high school basketball originally at National Christian Academy and renowned Oak Hill, Durant finally made his home at Montrose Christian. He concluded his high school career as an Washington Post All-Met Player of the year and the MVP of the McDonald’s All American.  As we all know he committed to play basketball at the University of Texas, unfortunately never fielding offers from either Georgetown or the University of Maryland. Part of that might be the fact that Durant was never recruited by either program or his lack of interest in playing for them. Nonetheless, Durant had a phenomenal freshman year, acquiring college accolades like they were candies. After becoming the first freshman to win the Naismith College Player of the Year award, Durant declared for the 2007 history and was selected second overall by the Seattle Supersonics. From his rookie year to this season, Durant has continued to improved. Growing from his role as a “professional scorer” and perennial All Star/NBA selection to the MVP, famously declaring that his mom was “the real MVP.” Throughout his amateur and professional career, Durant has become the pride and joy of the DMV area, a man whom players from the area have grown to admire and love.

KD2DC suddenly started to gain more traction in 2014. Fans started wearing Kevin Durant Wizards jerseys, shirts and having the KD2DC hashtag trending on Twitter. Rumors started churning more and more of Durant wanting to come home and play for his hometown a la LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately all these rumors and fans salivating at the possibility of one of the best players in the League coming home seems to have turned off the future free agent. When the Oklahoma City Thunder came to Verizon Center to play the Wizards this past season, he had some choice words for fans. He was quoted as saying that Wizards fans should be grateful and cheer for the team they have now. It also seemed to annoy him that fans were paying more attention to him than their own team, in his mind disrespecting John Wall and Bradley Beal. That single game may have been the demise of KD2DC dream. The KD2DC campaign never had a chance when compared to better teams and situations from the likes of the Celtics, Spurs, Heat, Warriors and of course the Thunder. Durant never promised anything, never saying whether it was or wasn’t a dream of his. Wizards fans just have swallow that tough pill and be thankful for the good team they currently have.

Superstar Diamond Stone Shows Potential and Growth 

Maryland basketball fans have been waiting for signature performance from freshman star Diamond Stone. On Wednesday night he finally delivered that game, with a dominating 39 point (19-25 from the free throw line) and 12 boards. In a game where Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Jake Layman struggled to get a bucket, Stone showcased his potential and kept the Terps in a game they should’ve lost with grown man plays like this:

Diamond Stone 1st half

In the first half the Terps where out-played thoroughly on both ends. Penn State controlled the tempo, dominated the paint, and basically outplayed and out hustled. Shep Garner and Brandon Taylor led the way for the Nittany Lions, securing rebounds and hitting big time shots to keep there team ahead. The 31-23 score indicates otherwise, but at the end of the first half the deficit should’ve been higher.

Once the second half began, the Terps team came out hot and inspired. They showed why they were the 4th ranked team in the nation scoring and defending well for the first 10 minutes of the half. Melo Trimble and Diamond Stone showed why they can be a great inside outside combination throughout this stretch. Melo Trimble at this point understood that in order for him to make more of an impact he had to become a facilitator, and that’s exactly what he did. He penetrated the paint at will numerous times and dishing it off deep in the paint, often times to Stone. Those two set the tone and really helped Maryland get back into this game. Trouble came a brewing late in the half, Penn State came roaring back and hit great shots. However Diamond Stone came to the rescue and took over the game with plays like this:

Diamond Stone Blockd/Dunk

 

And my personal favorite bucket:

 

Even Melo Trimble was able to join in on the late game heroics with this late three pointer:

Trimble Stone Pick & Pop

With Big 10 season just beggining it’s a very encouraging sign to see Stone have such a dominating day, and as a Terps fan I look forward to more games like this from him. Stone and his teammates next face Northwestern at 8 on Saturday in their first conference road game. Maryland_Terrapins2