SUITLAND — In one of the more hostile showdowns in Prince George’s County high school basketball this season, Charles H. Flowers remained poised nonetheless and played at a high level all evening to decimate Suitland High School, 102-58, before an energetic crowd on Jan. 4.
Ronell Giles scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds along with an impressive nine assists while forward Mikkah Tobias poured in 16 points and accounted for three rebounds. Brian Brooks Jr. added 15 points to help Flowers secure its largest blowout victory of the season.
From start to finish, the atmosphere was chippy, with numerous arguments and scuffles breaking out after the whistle. Flowers and Suitland appeared to have hard feelings toward each other as there were six technical fouls called throughout the contest.
Presumably, former Flowers guard Isaiah Wade’s decision to transfer to Suitland for his senior season may have played a major role the build-up between the teams.
According to Suitland Head Coach George McClure, Flowers used its animosity to its avail while Suitland’s dislike mainly worked against them.
“Some kids can play with anger and emotion, some kids can’t. Tonight we found out who could and who couldn’t, and I think that was a big part of the game,” McClure said. “I think they (Flowers) played with it. They played with some anger and emotion with a smile on their face, and we had some kids that were angry and emotional with a growl, and they didn’t know how to handle it. But it’s a learning experience, so hopefully, we won’t have this again.”
Following the game plan, Flowers reversed the ball inside early for easy points at the rim, advanced the ball up the floor quickly and capitalized on second-chance opportunities to take a 27-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. From there, the lead rapidly expanded. As tensions grew, the point margin increased.
Flowers Head Coach Brian Brooks Sr. said his team’s depth and size were some of the advantages leading to the 44-point win.
“We played with a lot of intensity as we practice,” Brooks said.
“We work to develop and have depth. And when you have depth, a lot of nights it works for you. That’s all it was…depth, and we were bigger than them. We knew they (Suitland) were going to be scrappy, and we knew they were going to shoot the ball and play hard. [But] I thought it was one of our better games. We work every day to try to put good games together.”
The Rams (5-2) were forced to take tough shots early, which weren’t falling, and lost the rebounding duel, 33-21. Suitland was only outscored by two in the second quarter, but its confidence shattered in the third quarter.
In the second half, the Jaguars (5-3) continued its fast-paced style of play, disallowing Suitland to set up defensively as the lead became 83-48 after the third. Countless unforced turnovers and other errors ruined the Rams’ chances of climbing out of its worsening deficit. Flowers outscored Suitland 52-29 in the final 16 minutes.
Brooks said the team regularly looks to Giles for leadership and offensive production.
“I try to come out and get my teammates involved early so we can get everybody in because everybody works hard and they deserve to play,” said Giles, a senior guard. “We had to play a lot of defense. Coach stressed that we’re a defense-first team, and we like to run in transition. And that led to the big lead.”
Teams didn’t shake hands at the end of regulation, after officials and coaches had to break up an oncoming brawl when the buzzer sounded.
Leading the way for the Rams was guard Kyree Roberts, who recorded a game-high 18 points. He said he and his teammates gave up too many offensive rebounds and played substandard defense, which made it difficult to compete with the Jaguars.
“Basically, we gotta pick it up; we got a few struggles we gotta work on tomorrow in practice,” said Roberts, a 6-foot senior. “Defense, that’s the whole thing and offensive rebounds. If we get our offensive rebounds up, we’ll be fine… and play as a team.”
McClure said his team’s lack of intensity also led to the sizable loss.
“We came out flat. They didn’t. I don’t think we met their energy at all and it went downhill real fast. Their energy was great, ours was average. And great and average is not a good math equation,” he said. “It’s one game. You know, our emotions ranged from some kids being too high, to some kids being too low… and at the end of the day, I think we contributed to our downfall, and that can’t happen.”
Sophomore guard Cameron Howell netted 15 points to go with two rebounds and two assists for Suitland.