HYATTSVILLE – Despite having no scorer accumulate double-digits points and a double-double performance by Potomac School forward Jalen Melvin, the Gwynn Park High School boys basketball team punished their McLean, Virginia rivals, winning their Capitol Hoops Summer League matchup 55-28 on June 9.
It was an overall team performance by Gwynn Park from start to finish as they had 10 players in the scoring column by the end of the game. Even though it was a large margin of victory by the Yellow Jackets, Head Coach Rob Garner attempted to rein his team in after the win. After a 10-win season last season, the goal for this summer is to become a stronger, more competitive team.
“You know you look at the score and you win by almost 30, and that can sometimes be a curse,” said Garner. “At the end of the day we just really want to get better, I know that can sound cliché, but it’s really factual but the win still motivates us to continue and execute like that.”
Gwynn Park showed its growth as a team as it led 23-9 by the end of the first half. The Yellow Jackets shot 35 percent in the first half while their defense let the Panthers score only two field goals. Returning guard Darius Joyner and incoming guard Benjamin Roberts finished the game tied for a team-high of nine points.
“Every day, our chemistry has gotten a lot better,” said Garner. “Joyner was on the team my first year at Gwynn Park, so you’d like to think those core guys coming back in our second year together, we just have better chemistry.”
The team chemistry continued building for Gwynn Park throughout the game as Roberts made his presence known in the offense. Coming into his first season at Gwynn Park from National Christian Academy, Roberts has already made it a goal to have one of the best regular season records and help lead the Yellow Jackets to a state championship.
“Ben Roberts coming in just took us to the next level,” Garner said. “He’s a kid who can do a whole lot of things on the basketball court, and he’s contributed a lot already to the team, and his relationship with the guys has been really good as well.”
Defensively, Gwynn Park limited Potomac School to converting field goals as they finished the game going 7-for-43 in attempts. The Yellow Jackets also took advantage of free points off of turnovers created by ball pressure on the defensive end. Gwynn Park finished the game by converting 17 points off turnovers.
“I feel we really worked hard as a team, moved the ball well, and played good defense today,” said Roberts. “Some things we need to work on despite the win is boxing out and rebounding the ball.”
Melvin kept the Panthers in the game with an 18-point and 12-rebound performance. However, only three other players added a combined 10 points for Potomac School.
Gwynn Park found its shooting groove in the second half, converting 60% of its shots from the field to expand their lead further. Meanwhile, Garner rotated his players throughout the half, allowing everyone to play while establishing depth early in the summer.
Joyner, a rising senior, hopes that the summer league work that Gwynn Park is putting together will lead to success during the regular season.
“This upcoming season, we just want to win,” Joyner said.
In their next five summer league games, Gwynn Park will be taking on opponents all from Montgomery County, including a meeting against last season’s 4A state semifinalist, Richard Montgomery, on June 11.