UPPER MARLBORO – Big time players step up in big time moments, and Greg Boyd made a statement Wednesday night as he helped Riverdale Baptist capture the Falconers’ League championship Wednesday night with a game-winning 3-pointer against National Christian Academy. With the game tied at 36-36 with 20 seconds remaining, Riverdale Baptist settled for one […]
UPPER MARLBORO – Big time players step up in big time moments, and Greg Boyd made a statement Wednesday night as he helped Riverdale Baptist capture the Falconers’ League championship Wednesday night with a game-winning 3-pointer against National Christian Academy.
With the game tied at 36-36 with 20 seconds remaining, Riverdale Baptist settled for one last shot in its final possession. Boyd brought the ball across half court and looked for a high screen to his left, then looked for an open teammate, but neither was available. He changed directions after getting a high screen at the top of the key, drifted to his right and nailed a three-pointer that gave the Crusaders a 39-36 lead with 2.1 seconds remaining.
“That was just a big-time shot,” said Riverdale Baptist coach Dale DeBerry. “All game long Jamaal (Wright) did a great deal of scoring for us, but Greg came up big for us that last possession. Big-time players hit big-time shots. It was a great summer. A lot of these guys had not played together before. It definitely meant a lot to go undefeated and win this title.”
Riverdale Baptist (11-0) went unbeaten during league play, including an overtime victory over National Christian in their previous meeting. But in the semifinals one night earlier, Riverdale Baptist overcame a slow start to slip past Gwynn Park, while National Christian used a strong second half to pull away from Frederick Douglass.
In the previous meeting between the two squads National Christian had forged an early 24-8 lead only to watch Riverdale Baptist rally to force overtime, where the Crusaders eventually prevailed. But in Wednesday evening’s title game in Upper Marlboro, Riverdale Baptist avoided the slow start and led National Christian, 19-15 at the intermission, which set the stage for another tight affair throughout the second half.
Senior Jamaal Wright, a recent transfer from Bullis, broke the first of five second-half ties with a 3-pointer. After National Christian took a 27-26 lead with just over six minutes remaining, Wright again countered with a 3-pointer. He finished the game with 22 points and was named Most Valuable Player of the championship.
“Knowing that it was my first summer on the team, it meant a lot to be undefeated through the tournament,” Wright said. “We all really had to come together quick. We don’t really know each other, so it might have showed more on defense. But it was a great way to end the summer. Now I want to win a championship my senior year.”
While Wright took home MVP honors, it was one of his teammates who hit the biggest shot of the game. After two buckets from Fred Rowls and another from Christian Mathews gave National Christian a 33-29 lead with 4:30 remaining, Greg Boyd hit a jumper for Riverdale Baptist that trimmed the deficit in half and two minutes later he hit another jumper, followed by a 3-pointer from Wright. Then, with just seconds left in the game, Boyd hit the game-winning 3-pointer.
For the second time in as many meetings with Riverdale Baptist this summer, National Christian coach Trevor Brown watched his team suffer a narrow setback. Whether the meetings occur during the summer or in the winter, Brown said he knows what to expect when his team plays the Crusaders.
“It’s always a great game between us,” Brown said. “I think tonight the defense was turnovers and free throws. I think we had too many turnovers in the second half and we only went 11-of-21 from the free throw line for the game. But anytime we play them it’s going to be a battle. Both teams made some big shots. They just made a few more of them.”