LARGO – In Summer Madness League action on June 2, Parkdale High School boys basketball team were unable to stop Washington and Lee High School. Senior guard Max Gieseman scored a game-high 21 points as the Generals defeated the Panthers, 56-35.
Parkdale arrived into summer league play in a rebuilding phase. Following a 4-17 season, a first-round exit in the state playoffs and seven seniors graduating, the Riverdale-based squad will be looking to start fresh. Assistant Coach Philip McQueen said the onus is on multiple sophomores and junior varsity call-ups to step up and take major strides during the summer.
“(We’re) definitely looking forward to them stepping up in a major way,” McQueen said. “I think we will be good to go, keep working hard during the summer, keep working in the weight room.”
Two of those talents that made an impact right away were forwards Bryan Jackson and Isaid Martinez. Jackson, who has experience at playing center as well, was a physical force in the paint by altering shots on defense while scoring on put-back opportunities. Martinez displayed characteristics of the modern big player with his inside-outside style. Against the Generals, he scored on hooks, tipped in misses and showed a willingness to take perimeter shot.
Early on against in the game, Jackson, a rising junior, connected with a hook shot to reduce Parkdale’s deficit to two points. As the Generals looked to expand their advantage, Martinez responded by scoring a fadeaway jumper to keep their lead within one-possession. However, Washington and Lee reeled off a 12-2 run late and ended the half with a 28-13 lead.
As the game continued, there were glaring issues for the Panthers including transition defense and rebounding on both ends of the floor, McQueen said. The Generals frequently beat the Panthers down the floor in transition and dominated in the paint regularly securing second chance opportunities.
“Back to the basics, rebounding, boxing out, closing out,” McQueen said. “Working on our man-to-man skills, our zone skills, just all the basic things and build our basketball skills.”
The Generals lead grew to as large as 20 points after Gieseman hit a rim-grazing dunk. They embrace a physical style of play against Parkdale and saw playing against Prince George’s County teams as a free opportunity to play tougher competition, according to Gieseman.
“The competition here is better than the competition is (in Arlington, Virginia),” Gieseman said, “We entered this summer league to get more physical, get better, so we can dominate back home.”
Parkdale mounted a mini 6-2 run to cut it to within 16 points, but that would be as close the Panthers could get the rest of the way. Despite only scoring four 3-pointers, Washington and Lee dominated off of their scrappy play. Gieseman was the main benefactor of this, scoring on a variety of scoop layups, mid-range jumpers and free throws.
“They started out in a zone so I just found pockets of space so I could hit a short jumper,” Gieseman said. “I just found those pockets of space and get my shot off.”
Although it was a tough loss, the Panthers showed signs of improved play by revolving their offense around veterans Jackson and Martinez. McQueen said he expects his team to continue improving to establish players like forward Isiah Hughes and wing Norlan Orellana as fixtures for Parkdale before next season.
“(I’m) Trying to tell everybody where they’re making mistakes and trying to bring everyone together,” Jackson said of his growing role as one of the team’s veterans. “Not let everybody get a hot head or frustrated so they can calm down (and learn).”