HYATTSVILLE – On the last day of the DMV Live Period basketball showcase at DeMatha Catholic High School, two Prince George’s County rivals squared off as National Christian Academy took on Rock Creek Christian Academy.
Both teams battled in the Sunday morning matinee event to a thrilling contest that went National Christian’s way as they defeated Rock Creek, 62-56, on June 30.
“It was a good win,” said National Christian Head Coach Trevor Brown Sr. “We play those guys probably three or four times a year, so we see a lot of each other. The difference between today and the normal games was in front of a lot of coaches.”
The game started off fairly close, until National Christian led 19-11 in the first half, as the Fort Washington-based team was able to connect their shots and rebound well. Rising junior Jakai Robinson had an impressive first-half performance by dropping 12 points, while his senior teammate, Oumar Koureissi, put up 10 points and eight rebounds.
“We played that team a couple (of) times over the year,” said Robinson. “It’s just good that we could play that team in front of a lot of coaches.”
National Christian cruised into halftime with a eight-point lead over Rock Creek, whose highest scoring player in the half was senior Delonnie Hunt, with eight points.
“I think it’s great for high school coaches to coach their teams,” said Brown, “because with most AAU teams, the kids don’t get to play the way they play on their high school teams.”
In the second half, the score gradually became closer, as Rock Creek found many ways to nail their shots and cut the deficit to at least three points.
But National Christian was able to make some key plays – including multiple slam dunks – thanks to players such as Robinson, Koureissi and junior John Izemef. Robinson led his team with 23 points on 6-for-16 shooting, while going an impressive 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.
“Every time we play them, it’s a close game,” said Robinson. “Last year, we didn’t beat them at all, so it’s good we got a chance to beat them.”
Koureissi, on the other hand, followed up with 17 points and 15 boards, one of two double-doubles for National Christian.
“It was against a rival school,” said Kouriessi. “We knew that it would be a dogfight going in, but we play them three or four times a year, and last year they got us every time, so we just wanted to come out and just play our best basketball, and we came out with the win.”
Izemef was another player who finished the morning with a double-double, totaling 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles.
“I just did a lot of rebounding,” said Izemef. “I tried to consist in my shots. I missed a lot of shots, but I’m going to get better every single day.”
Overall, Brown is proud of the way his team has been playing throughout the summer, especially during the live period games.
“They’ve been pretty consistent with their play throughout the last two weekends in front of all these coaches,” said Brown. “Jakai’s pretty consistent at what he does, and John is getting better and better at rebounding, blocking shots and going around the basket.”
With the final day of the DMV Live Period basketball showcase wrapped up, both Robinson and Koureissi said they felt proud to have played before all those college coaches.
“It means a lot to me,” said Robinson. “You know how they made a rule where coaches can only come out in the summertime? So, it was good that we could play with our high school team, show what we can do.”
“It’s been tremendous,” said Koureissi, “because with your AAU team, AAU’s a more up-and-down game, but with your high school team, you’re more comfortable.”
Hunt and senior Milton Matthews tied for the highest scoring total for Rock Creek as they both scored 17 points, while junior Zaakir Williamson finished with nine points.