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GREENBELT — In the Prince George’s Challenge face-off between Frederick Douglass High School and Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. boys basketball teams, it became apparent who wanted to win more.
Douglass guard Kaylen Vines distinguished himself as the premier performer with 27 points, four rebounds and five assists to lead his team to an upset win, 72-71, over Wise in an exhilarating PG Challenge duel at Eleanor Roosevelt High School on Jan. 26.
The contest was fast-paced and highly competitive as both teams traded buckets and went on scoring runs in a game that ultimately came down to the last minute in regulation.
Vines said the key to slowing the Pumas down was making them uncomfortable with a full-court press, which worked well for Douglass.
“It just took heart from all of my teammates,” said the southpaw senior after capturing the win over a 4A opponent. “It’s a big win. It shows that we can compete with anyone, and I feel like we can always compete with anyone. I feel like we’re one of the top teams in PG County.”
Wise was efficient in transition early, but Douglass found ways to respond with 3-pointers and tough layups on fast breaks to keep the score close. The score was tied 15-15 after the first. The Eagles ended the second on a five-point scoring run to head into halftime down 33-29.
The end of the second quarter was a critical moment, Wise Head Coach Lou Wilson said. It was a chance for the Pumas to extend a nine-point lead to double-digits. Instead, they allowed the Eagles to tack on five quick points to keep the game close heading to halftime.
“I thought it was a fantastic game. Both teams worked really hard,” Wilson said. “In the second quarter closing out the half, I thought that was a big part of the game. I know everybody thinks it came down to the last possession of the game, but I really thought that we didn’t close out that second quarter going into halftime the proper way.”
Wise had a rough start in the third, but dug itself out of a seven-point deficit and regained a slim lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Douglass committed many costly turnovers late but managed to make the right plays to keep the game close.
After a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the Pumas held the 71-70 edge with 30 seconds left. After getting what looked to be a game-clinching defensive stop, Wise turned the ball over on an outlet pass to give the Eagles a chance to win the game.
On the ensuing possession, Douglass guard DeQuan Jackson knifed through the lane and dumped it off to Abdou Samb for a layup with 5.9 seconds remaining. Wise quickly inbounded the ball to guard Fred Crowell, who pushed the ball up the floor quickly to get to the rim, but missed the game-winning layup as time expired.
After the buzzer sounded, the Douglass bench erupted, ecstatic after securing the upset victory over arguably one of the toughest teams in the county.
Togetherness, Coach Tyrone Massenburg said, was central in the win.
“Just sticking together and (we) made one more play than Wise,” Massenburg said. He was proud with his team’s ability to make Wise earn every point it scored.
“The game plan was just to make them (Wise) work and outwork them… This is a good win for us, for our program.”
Also for Douglass, Darnell Snowden scored 15 to go with four rebounds. Mikhal Arnold had 13 points, three rebounds and four assists, and Samb, a six-foot-eight sophomore, netted 14 points along with seven boards and five blocks.
Douglass’s guards, led by Vines, persistently penetrated the lane to find open scorers, who also played a large part in the fate of the game.
“He’s a leader. He’s the only player we really have coming back that played last year,” Massenburg said of Vines. “We go off of his energy. When he’s playing well, we’re probably doing pretty good.”
For Wise, forward Joel Webb led the way with 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks, while Daemond Ford finished with 16 points.
“We did good, but we could do much better,” Webb said following the loss. The six-foot-six senior said miscommunication on defense also hurt Wise.
Wise mishandled some passes, missed some crucial layups and could not really find an answer for Douglass’ toughness, Wilson continued.
“Ultimately, it was Douglass’ ability to get the loose balls (and) to score layups deep in the paint area. I thought that was the difference in the game – and them getting to the free-throw line and making their free throws.”
Crowell and Gabrial Arnold combined for 23 points and six boards as the Pumas fall to 11-3 on the season.
Douglass moves to 8-4 with the win and will host Central High School next on Jan. 29 at 7:15 p.m. The Pumas hope to rebound from the loss when they take on Eleanor Roosevelt on Jan. 29 at 7:15 p.m.