UPPER MARLBORO – Two second-half runs (combining for 26 points) and the standout play of junior guard Kaniyah Harris were the key factors that the Charles H. Flowers High School girls basketball team needed to defeat Gwynn Park 68-59 to win the Prince George’s County Championship on Feb. 27.
Following a tight first half that ended with Flowers holding a two-point lead, the Lady Jaguars (18-2) sprung out of halftime into a 14-4 run. The scoring drive was in part of Harris, who scored 11 of her team-high 24 points in the third quarter. The junior facilitated fast break opportunities with steals and quick reactions off of rebounds, helping Flowers build a double-digit advantage.
“(Gwynn Park) posed an offensive rebound type of challenge for us so when they were pushing us, we had to push back until we had nothing left to give,” Harris said.
However, Gwynn Park (19-3) was not done fighting.
The Lady Yellow Jackets went on their own 13-2 scoring run late in the third and in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, dropping their deficit to one point.
Junior Jenae Dublin assisted in their success, dropping a game-high 27 points after team captain and senior Denai Bowman (14 points) struggled to find her shot throughout the second half.
Nevertheless, Flowers pulled away thanks to a 12-2 scoring barrage. Senior Jasmine Hilton (bottom left), who finished with 14 points, stopped any chances of a comeback bid with a steal followed by a thunderous layup to put the Lady Jaguars’ lead to nine points. It steered all the momentum back to the Springdale squad, who loudly celebrated the victory in the locker room.
“I am beyond speechless right now,” Hilton said. “This is our first time playing in this level, but I am beyond excited, but we are not stopping now; we still have more ways to go.”
As the top seed in the 4A South side of the state playoffs bracket, Flowers received a first-round bye and will face Eleanor Roosevelt on March 5. Meanwhile, with the No. 1 seed in the 2A North bracket, Gwynn Park will not face an opponent until the regional semifinals in the third round on March 7. They will host the winner of Central and Baltimore-based Patterson.