LANHAM – In a game that featured two of the top boys’ basketball teams in the Prince George’s County 4A league, visiting Eleanor Roosevelt overcame an erratic performance at the free-throw line to overtake host DuVal, 62-57, in front of a packed gymnasium on Tuesday evening. Roosevelt (11-3 overall, 9-0 in the county 4A league) […]
LANHAM – In a game that featured two of the top boys’ basketball teams in the Prince George’s County 4A league, visiting Eleanor Roosevelt overcame an erratic performance at the free-throw line to overtake host DuVal, 62-57, in front of a packed gymnasium on Tuesday evening.
Roosevelt (11-3 overall, 9-0 in the county 4A league) has grown accustomed to playing in important contests over the years and last Tuesday in several pivotal situations the Raiders kept their composure. Their calmness, however, was not entirely reflected at the free-throw line where the Raiders connected on only 12-25 foul shots for the game after going 0-6 at the charity stripe in the first half.
“We’re just not a good free-throw shooting team,” said Roosevelt coach Brendan O’Connell. “We’re just not good at the line. I think defensively we’ve played very sound basketball. We still have some things to work on offensively, but defensively I like the way we’ve played.”
But following a first half that ended in a 25-25 tie following seven lead changes, Roosevelt ended the third quarter on a 7-2 run sparked by a 3-point field goal from Oludoyin Fadojutimi and ended with a layup by Christian Wright that gave the visitors a 41-36 lead heading into the final frame.
DuVal drew even at 41-41 at the outset of the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Khalil Newkirk and a layup by Kevin Simpson, but Roosevelt answered when Naji Marshall connected on two straight 3-pointers to give the visitors a 47-41 lead with 6:15 remaining. DuVal countered with a 3-pointer from Newkirk and another jumper from Simpson to get within a point at 49-48 with 3:50 left.
During the last three minutes of play, Roosevelt scored more points from the foul line than the floor. Fadojutimi made 5-6 free throws and nailed a short jumper down the stretch, while Ishmael Jabbie hit 2-4 free throws and added a layup. DuVal got close on several occasions, but even a 3-pointer by Emmaneul Ijeh in the waning seconds proved to have little impact.
After raising eyebrows across the county with an 11-game winning streak, DuVal (11-3, 6-3) has dropped two straight games. The Tigers saw their skein come to an end last weekend at Northwestern, and then on Tuesday they were unable to topple another county power. Coach Ulysses Lee said he expected his squad to be a little more aggressive on the offensive end, especially in the second half.
“I thought we settled for too many outside shots,” Lee said. “I really wanted to see our guys spread the floor and then attack the basket. We took way too many shots from the perimeter. We’ve had a couple of close losses now after our long win streak, which I didn’t realize was at 11. We’ll have to bounce back right away. We really want to get one of the top four seeds in the playoffs.”
Last Tuesday’s contest once again reflected the parity among the county’s elite 4A squads. While Roosevelt remains undefeated in league play and in line for the top seed in the 4A South Region tournament, the Raiders have already been in a number of close games. DuVal’s last two league losses have come by a total of six points, one of which was a one-point defeat at Northwestern whose only league loss was an overtime setback at Charles H. Flowers.
“This has always been a tough league,” O’Connell said. “It seems like this year the top half of the league is a lot closer than normal. You just have to come ready to play every night.”
“There definitely is parity in the league this year,” Lee said. “You know every game is going to come down to the fourth quarter. Roosevelt is undefeated in the league, but a lot of teams are clustered right below them. We can’t afford to lose too many games if we’re going to get one of the top four seeds.”