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.”

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.”

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

Washington Wizards’ 2017-2018 Regular Season Schedule Released

The Washington Wizards are coming off a 49-33 season, and a second-round playoff exit against the Boston Celtics that went to seven games. During the offseason, the front office did what it promised to do when they retained restricted free agent Otto Porter, as well as resign John Wall to the designated player veteran exception.

With a core of Wall, Bradley Beal, and Porter in place the Wizards present and future looks as bright as its ever been. Not to mention the sudden dissension going on in Cleaveland, the Wizards are primed to advance further than they have in recent memory. After a strong first year with Scott Brooks at the helm, expectations of the first 50 win season since 1978-1979 campaign and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance are widespread.

National Exposure:

In a show of good faith, the  NBA schedule makers have finally rewarded the Washington Wizard with the gift of seventeen nationally televised games. Out of those seventeen games, all four matchups with the Boston Celtics will be on TV for everyone to see. The two franchises had one of the most physical playoff series last season, and its easy to see why the NBA would want to capatalize on the purest rivalry in the sport right now. Fans will be pleased to see that three out of the four games against the Cleaveland Cavaliers will be on that national schedule as well. After the overtime thriller they had last season, any regular season contest between the conference foes is potential must-see tv.

Predictions:

For 2017-2018 the Wizards are essentially running it back with the same core group of guys in Wall, Beal, Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. The starting lineup played a league leading 1,347 minutes together. With that type of continiuty and chemistry coming back, the starters must have even more confidence in each other on both sides of the court.

The bench mob was also upgraded with some solid talent in Tim Frazier and Jodie Meeks. The two guards have the offensive chops to really be able to give Wall and Beal a chance to rest. Kelly Oubre Jr is now in that pivotal third year, Ian Mahinmi is coming back injury free, and the ever solid Josh Smith to hit feathery jumpers. The hope is that after averaging only 27 PPG as a unit last season, the Wizards bench mob can only improve from here. Scott Brooks needs this unit to really step up and play consistently solid minutes in order to get over that hump. Being the weak link once again is a non-option.

Record Prediction: 52-30

Along with the Wizards schedule, the Association released the regular season schedules of the 29 other franchises this past Monday, including its nationally televised games. In one of the more intriguing developments of the offseason, the Association has no teams playing four games in five nights. This was all because a plethora of star players sat out marquee games, as well as critical comments by Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. 

Wizards Win In Overtime vs Kings Behind Bradley Beal’s 31 points.

It took a little longer than expected but the Washington Wizards won their sixth game of the season in overtime. DeMarcus Cousins nearly won the game with his spectacular 36 points and 20(!) rebounds. He was able to take the game over late in the 4th quarter hitting a variety of turnaround jump shots, layups, and dominating the boards. The Wizards dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 10 points in the overtime session and helped deliver a much needed W after a disappointing loss against the San Antonio.

Tensions were high once again as Scott Brooks, John Wall, and Marcin Gortat all picked up technical could in the first half. This is Wall’s fourth tech of season, which puts him behind former college teammate DeMarcus Cousin. For the night the rest of the starters played well, in particular ever-improving glue guy Otto Porter  had 15 points, 8 rebounds, and played the passing lanes well gathering 3 steals. Porter also continued to do the dirty work on the unsung glue guy, holding Rudy Gay to just 18 points, including forcing him into six turnovers and 1-4 performance from the 3-point line. Kelly Oubre notched his first career double picking up 10 rebounds to go along with 10 points. .

The Wizards Commit 24 turnovers, Including a career-high 11 from John Wall

24 times the Wizards turned the ball over. 24 times! Nine of those turnovers were unforced. What’s worse is John Wall, the All-Star and leader of this team, had 11 of his own. Now more so than ever Wall has been throwing ill timed passes and dancing around the ball like it’s no ones business. Not sure what needs to be done but Wall, who previously has been a strong decision maker, has to find his groove back in that department

Wizards Finally Defend the 3-point Line

The Wizards have routinely allowed teams to make double digit 3-pointers but tonight only allowed three to fall. That maybe due to the fact that along with the Wizards, the Kings are one of the worse 3-point shooting teams.

 

 

Butler’s 37 drops Wizards in 2nd straight loss

With the the starting  backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal absent due to surgery rehab, and injury respectively, the Wizards had a tough game ahead of them. The rookie backcourt of the Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan played well and fearlessly together. In fact on multiple possessions Satoransky and Marcin Gortat displayed a unique chemistry together. ” A eastern European thing” as Gortat called it at halftime. The Wizards, in the first quarter, started off well grabbing 21-12 before Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Cannon took over and sparked a 10-run and took the lead 22-21. They ended up winning the 1st quarter 28-27. The second quarter was a back and forth affair. Late in the quarter the Wizards went on their own run, an 11-0 one to be exact. With the lengthy scoring and strong defense they took a 56-53 lead into  half time.

The second half was a complete disaster for the Wiz and company. The Bulls defense dominated, holding the Wizards to only 14 points. Combine their smoothering defense with a balanced attack and you have the recipe for a hard earned lead going into the 4th quarter  81-70. In the final frame the Wizards played with more passion and played like they knew what was at stake. The closest they pulled to was seven points, but from then on Butler took over and the Bulls defense played better and pulled out 106-95 victory.

Satoransky and McClellan Proving To Be Hidden Gems:

With their first career starts, Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan became the first rookie starting backcourt for the Wizards since John Wall and Jordan Crawford did in 2010-2011. The two young guns had pretty solid games, Satoransky dropped 12 points along with 9 spectacular dimes. Meanwhile McClellan had 15 points, attacking when he had the opportunity and not allowing himself to make silly mistakes. Their development and confidence will be pivotal for nights when John Wall and/or Bradley Beal are out.

Bench Struggles Again:

In what has become a recurring storyline for the Wizards the bench struggled mightily. Trey Burke, in particular, was having a hard time running the offense and it created problems for the rest of the bench. Only producing 18 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists exasperated the issue. It will be interesting to see how they respond to Marcin Gortat’s comments about ” being the worse bench in the NBA”.

Warriors Pursuit of Regular Season Greatness Led to Finals Collapse

The Golden State Warriors were transcendent all season long. They started the regular season off with a bang, winning 24 consecutive games, and rumbled on to a 73-9 regular season record. It seemed that this team didn’t flex their collective greatness unless they had. There were numerous times when teams like the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Oklahoma City Thunder each had the Warriors on the ropes. The only thing that these teams were missing was someone like Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. It only took one defensive stop or a turnover and they would go off on one of their explosive runs and miraculously win games they had no right to win. That’s what happens when you have two great players on a great team, you win games on your worse days. Having the first unanimous MVP, the runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year, and several two-way players that can also score and take games over are also key ingredients to amassing the greatest regular season in NBA History.

The Warriors entered the playoffs as the clear favorite. In the first round they faced the Houston Rockets. It was a conference finals rematch from the season prior. Everything was going great in Game 1, until Curry twisted his ankle. Which just so happens to be the same ankle he had surgery on back in 2011. When he made his return 3 games later the unimaginable happened and he sprained his right knee. Now, not only is the Warriors organization panicking, but the Warriors fan base and the NBA as a whole. Not to worry though, as we all know by now, Curry made his triumphant return in late in the second round against the Portland Trail Blazers. In the Conference Finals was where Curry and the Warriors truly struggled, where they faced the Thunder, who were coming a great playoff series win against the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors initially struggled against the Thunders massive length and elite athleticism and dug themselves into a 3-1 hole, creating more questions and rumors. Questions and rumors surrounding the health of MVP Stephen Curry due to his struggles. Draymond Green was even getting into trouble accumulating flagrant fouls points after kicking Steven Adams in the groin and playing a very physical series against the Thunder big men. The Warriors luckily completed a seemingly impossible task and came back against the Thunder thanks to their elite shooting. Although the Thunder was clearly the better team in the series, the Warriors were able to shoot themselves out of their hole and make it to their second straight NBA Finals.

In the NBA Finals we got another rematch, the Cleveland Cavaliers vs the Golden State Warriors. The first three games were complete blowouts, the Warriors taking a 2-1 series advantage. The Warriors looked stronger than ever, until catastrophe struck. First Draymond Green inadvertently hit LeBron James in the groin and they got into a heated conversation due to James attempting to step over him during play. This resulted in Green drawing a flagrant foul point, which was the last flagrant foul he could get without getting punished with a 1 game suspension. Secondly Andrew Bogut, the Warriors best rim-protector, went down with a season ending sprained knee. Despite winning the game the Warriors entered Game 5 with a lot of questions. Without their fiery leader game 5 and their rim protector for the rest of the series, the Warriors suffered an epic collapse that resulted in the Cavs becoming the first team in NBA Finals history to successfully come back from a 3-1 series deficit.

What was it that led to possibly the greatest collapse in NBA Finals history? The accumulation of fatigue, emotional and physical is what most likely did. At least that’s what most pundits and fans believe. It makes the most sense, too, as the Warriors most serious mistake ended up with them failing to defend their title. All season long the team claimed they didn’t care about beating the 95-96 Chicago Bulls’ regular season title, but clearly they did. That pursuit of the title of being the greatest regular season resulted in them clearly being on their last legs in the playoffs, running on fumes and feeling the fatigue and frustration of an incredibly taxing season and playoffs. It’s why Stephen Curry hurt his knee and ankle, noticeably showing the signs of those injuries in the Conference Finals and Finals. It was the reason Andre Bogut’s legged buckled on him and the big men went down with a knee injury, and why Andre Iguodala battled a back injury the last two games of the series. A word to the wise, and any team seeking regular season infamy, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Look at these Golden State Warriors as proof that the regular season truly means nothing in the long term.

Can Steph Curry Solve His Shooting Woes?

Ever since Stephen Curry sprained his right knee in the first round of playoffs against the Houston Rockets, he hasn’t been his usual dynamic self. He’s struggled with turnovers, efficiency, and a noticeably slower first step. As recently as Monday, there were multiple reports stating that Curry now has shoulder and knee issues that may even require surgery. If all this is true then it would make sense of why the back-to-back MVP has failed to make a significant impact in the playoffs. In the 14 games that Curry has played since his knee injury, he’s averaged  26.7 points on an inefficient(for Curry) 43% shooting and 37% 3 point clip.

For a player that became the newest member of the vaunted 50-40-90 club, that’s just unacceptable. Of course as an athlete and competitor, Curry won’t go out to the media and make an excuse that his injuries are the reason why he’s played so poorly, it just isn’t in his DNA. It certainly doesn’t help ward off all the hate that has been thrown his way either. All throughout the season, NBA legends such as Oscar Robertson, Scottie Pippen, and Charles Barkley have all gone on record saying that their teams could beat the Warriors, that Steph Curry wouldn’t be as great in their era, that Curry and Warriors are even “soft.”  If Curry fails to win the NBA Finals MVP again, pundits may even have the gall to question his importance to their playoff success. That award might even go to Draymond Green or Andre Iguodala so far as they have had a far better impact on the Finals. Of course only  way to solve this unadulterated contempt for greatness is to just win. All the pressure is on the Baby-Faced Assassin to win one more game, and to cement this team legacy as not only having the best regular season of all time, but also back to back champions. Something, that no matter what anyone else believes, puts them on the short list of all-time greatest teams in NBA history.

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