GREENBELT – Taylor McCormick wanted to end the night the right way. After scoring 11 of her game-high 19 points in the first quarter, the senior had a cold streak, missing five of her last six field goal attempts.
Late in the third quarter, the point guard took her chance, charging inside the paint before suddenly stopping to pull up for a midrange jumper. McCormick was fouled as she released the shot, but that was not enough to prevent the ball from floating inside the hoop.
She would cap off the three-point play, leading to momentary applause from first-year Head Coach Aubrey Butler.
Her talent, combined with her co-leadership with fellow senior Makayla Adams, has made Butler’s job much easier than expected.
“She facilitates movement of the ball so well,” Butler said. “I don’t have to do a lot of coaching while they are on the floor, so we have some good court generals out on the floor.”
It was that kind of night for the Eleanor Roosevelt High School girls basketball team. After jumping out to an early 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter, their dominance continued thanks to the offensive play of their senior co-captains. Along with a stellar team defensive performance, the Lady Raiders (3-1) stood tall in victory, decimating Parkdale 67-30 on Dec. 20.
With the win, last year’s 4A state champions continue to stay undefeated against county teams so far in the young season. Much of their success this year has been credited to McCormick, who has blossomed into the role of a leader following the departure of star guard Ashia McCalla.
The senior did not waste time against Parkdale after connecting four of her first five shots, including converting three straight three-pointers, in the first quarter. McCormick’s early scoring stretch set the tempo and started the Lady Raiders’ 17-3 first quarter run.
As McCormick got cold, Adams continued to push Roosevelt’s superiority. The five-foot-10 forward stunned her home crowd with her smooth jumper, hitting four three-pointers to finish with 16 points.
During the offseason, the senior said she began working with a shooting coach to make her long-range shot more lethal while continuing to work on collecting rebounds.
“She is so versatile,” McCormick said. “She can shoot from three and play in the post; She can do it all and it is weight off of my shoulders.”
After seasons of tough match-ups against the Lady Panthers, including a regional final loss in 2016, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore commit admitted it was important not to take them lightly. Roosevelt kept the fast pace throughout the game even after they headed into halftime with a 23-point lead.
“We’ve always struggled with them so far as well as we played today, I’m proud of how we shot and kept our turnovers down,” Adams said.
On the defensive side, Roosevelt never allowed Parkdale (1-3) to score more than nine points in a quarter.
The Lady Panthers committed 13 turnovers, allowing for quick points off quick fast breaks. Players like junior forward/center Daja Claiborne took advantage of the scoring opportunities for quick buckets as she registered a season-high 14 points.
Despite their defensive performance, Butler acknowledged the importance of boxing out their opponents to collect more rebounds as a major fix that is needed for his Lady Raiders to continue to excel moving forward. However, once that is rectified, both co-captains believed that Roosevelt will be ready to compete for their fourth state title in six years.
“I was personally excited to get the year started and get my senior year started, so we can go back to states to win another championship,” McCormick said. “… We can take it one game at a time (approach) while also striving to win states again.”
Roosevelt will take a small break for the holidays before returning to action in the Title IX D.C. Classic at the D.C. Armory. The Lady Raiders will take on Perry High School (Gilbert, Arizona) in the first round of the Patsy Mink bracket on Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Parkdale will also take part in the tournament, playing their first-round game against St. Andrew’s Episcopal School at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 27 as part of the Bernice Sandler bracket.