UPPER MARLBORO – In a game that was much closer than many onlookers might have expected, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School girls’ basketball team overcame a shaky first half to defeat Largo High School 57-53 in the Prince George’s County Basketball Championship game at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School on Wednesday evening. Roosevelt (20-3) […]
UPPER MARLBORO – In a game that was much closer than many onlookers might have expected, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School girls’ basketball team overcame a shaky first half to defeat Largo High School 57-53 in the Prince George’s County Basketball Championship game at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School on Wednesday evening.
Roosevelt (20-3) and Largo (19-4) had both gone undefeated in their respective leagues this season. The defending 4A state champion Raiders had rarely been tested en route to their 17-0 mark in the county 4A league while Largo had also won all 17 of its contest in the county 3A/2A/1A league.
From the outset Largo showed no intentions of being sent home early. The Lions and Raiders were tied at 9-9 after the first quarter and then Largo ended the second quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 30-25 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Lions’ defense forced Roosevelt to make nine turnovers in the first half and the Raiders also struggled from the perimeter while Largo’s Chance Graham controlled the paint.
“They had seen plenty of film on us and they even came to a few of our games to scout us,” said Roosevelt coach Delton Fuller. “They were ready to play. They forced us to make more turnovers than we normally do and they were in it all the way to the end. My girls needed to be in a close game like this. We know we’re going to have some close games in the playoffs.”
The simple fact that Graham controlled the boards should have hardly come as a surprise as Roosevelt is playing without senior center Tolu Omokore, a University of Central Florida recruit who suffered a torn ACL in her left knee one month earlier at Charles H. Flowers. Without Omokore’s stout presence in the middle, Largo got ample second chance buckets from Graham, Alexys Long and Antanae Cash and the Lions late run lifted them to a halftime lead.
Throughout much of the third quarter the two teams traded baskets and Roosevelt stayed well within striking range thanks to buckets from junior Allanah Baiyana and freshman Ashia McCalla, who had seven points in the frame including a three-pointer. But Largo took a tepid 40-38 lead into the fourth quarter despite the fact that the Raiders outscored the Lions 13-10 in the third.
Roosevelt opened the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run that enabled the Raiders to claim a 45-42 lead on a short jumper by Octavia Wilson. Later in the quarter buckets by junior Kaila Charles and free throws from Wilson extended the Raiders’ lead to five points on two different occasions, but Largo clawed back to tie the game at 51-all on a three-pointer by Graham with 2:30 remaining.
But the latter portion of the game belonged to the Raiders. Charles made three of four free throws and Daija Davis added a short jumper and the Raiders prevailed for their second straight county title. Roosevelt will begin its bid for a second straight 4A South Region title on Monday evening, while Largo will also look to emerge from the 2A South Region beginning on Monday.
“I was very proud of my girls,” said Largo coach and athletic director Ayanna Ball-Ward. “They fought hard the whole game and all the way to the end. It was a great experience for them. First of all, it was an honor to be representing the league and be playing in this game. They certainly got a lot out of this. It was a lot tougher than any practice or any scrimmage.”
Charles scored 13 points on the night despite being blanked in both the first and third quarters. Although Omokore is not on the floor with the team for the postseason, she will be a fixture on the bench for moral support.
“Even though she can’t play, Tolu is always there with us spiritually and emotionally,” Charles said. “We wish we could have her out there with us, but she’s going to be there to cheer us on. Tonight was a good win. We really had to work hard for it. But it should help us get ready for the region playoffs. We set our goals extremely high this season, so now we have to go achieve them.”