BLADENSBURG – Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. senior guard Michael Speight saw blood dripping from his face as it splattered onto the court, but tried not to lose his composure. While trying to draw a charge early in the first quarter, Bladensburg guard Amin Sanya’s elbow slammed into Speight’s face, creating a cut along the […]
BLADENSBURG – Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. senior guard Michael Speight saw blood dripping from his face as it splattered onto the court, but tried not to lose his composure.
While trying to draw a charge early in the first quarter, Bladensburg guard Amin Sanya’s elbow slammed into Speight’s face, creating a cut along the left side of his nose. Drops of blood trailed behind Speight as he was rushed off for medical treatment.
“When I looked down and saw the blood, I was kind of shocked at first,” Speight said. “But once I got to the locker room and got cleaned up, I was fine.”
Speight powered through the injury, finishing the game with 11 points while a bandage covered the wound and part of his nose. Along with guard Brandon Howell, who led all scorers with 22 points, the Pumas continued their winning ways and defeated Bladensburg, 70-50.
The road victory improves Wise’s record to 7-0 and earns them their sixth straight win over the Mustangs. The streak began in 2013.
The team’s four senior starters ended the game in double-figures. The quartet displayed the trust the coaching staff has with them to solve any matchup problems without relying on extra game-planning, according to Pumas Head Coach Rob Garner.
“These guys are elders,” Garner said. “These guys have been on varsity for several years and their leadership is very high-level. And so, as a coach, we’re giving those guys the opportunity to run and govern the team.”
Bladensburg (8-2) tied the game with back-to-back jumpers toward the end of the first quarter. It would be the closest they would get as the Mustangs could not muster enough offense, failing to score more than 16 points in any quarter.
Junior sensation Daniel Oladapo, who was averaging 21.8 points-per-game coming into the contest, was limited to just six points by halftime as Wise’s double-team strategy kept him from converting key plays in the paint. Oladapo finished with 12 points while junior point guard Sherwyn Devonish led the team with 13.
Wise’s zone defense continued to create several turnovers in the second half, as Bladensburg struggled with its shot selection in an attempt to catch up.
“We left a lot of points out there that we should have had,” Bladensburg Head Coach Antonio Williams said. “I told them (after the game) the flip side of it: we played a great opponent. But we did give away too many 50-50 shots, 50-50 rebounds, loose balls and we were a step or two slower than them.”
Howell said he and the Pumas knew who Bladensburg wanted to get the ball to.
“We had to lock down on defense and take a couple of people out of the game. We knew who their offense was running through,” Howell said.
The turnovers were also critical in allowing Wise to create small scoring runs to establish a double-digit lead. Fans began to slowly exit the gym as the Pumas led by 18 with less than five minutes to go in the game. Captain Brent Pegram’s under-hook layup for two of his 11 points put the finishing touches on an 8-2 run with three minutes to go.
“We have so many options, but the awesome part is how they share that,” Garner said. “(Howell) did a great job. He releases spaces and opens up the floor with his jump shot. But watching everyone play-make and give each other opportunities to do what they do on the floor has been special.”
The loss is Bladensburg’s first against a county team this season. Williams hopes his team learns from their defensive and offensive struggles and bounces back quickly against lower-caliber county opponents such as DuVal and Northwestern in the upcoming week.
“I believe we are one of those bigger teams (in the county), but we just got to play like one of them every night,” Williams said. “Our motto is that we play hard, play smart and play together. When we do those three things, we will be perfectly fine.”