Coach Glick & Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets Boys Basketball: My Site News

Thursday, March 6
Basketball: Gwynn Park boys edge Largo in 2A South quarterfinal

Basketball: Gwynn Park boys edge Largo in 2A South quarterfinal; girls rout Friendly

Chelsea Janes, Published: March 5

Lanky Gwynn Park senior Mike Pegram appeared to be completely unconcerned about his highly-charged circumstances Wednesday night as he sat near the foul line, meticulously tying his shoes with 20 seconds to play. His team was up a point over rival Largo in the 2A South quarterfinal — thanks to the two free throws he’d hit a few seconds earlier — and he’d just been fouled again, his upcoming shots as important as any he’d shoot in a Yellow Jackets uniform.

Everyone else in the gym felt the weight of the moment. The crowd was bursting with nerves, on the edge of its seat, the Gwynn Park girls’ team — next on the evening’s playoff schedule — was hovering anxiously behind the baseline, the players and referees were in position for Pegram’s shots. But Pegram didn’t share their agitation. He laced his Nikes slowly and carefully, stepped to the line and soaked in the moment with a few deep breaths, and hit two more free throws to doom Largo and send his Yellow Jackets into the 2A South semifinals with a 45-41 win.

I wasn’t nervous,” Pegram said. “I just thought in my head, it’s just practice.”

While his calmness was unique among players and fans at the third meeting and rubber match between the Prince George’s County rivals, Pegram’s deliberate pace mirrored the game perfectly. Gwynn Park wanted to slow its rival down, sagging in a 2-3 zone and doubling Largo big man Abdulai Bundu to stymie the Lions’ plan of attack. Offensively, the Yellow Jackets worked through long sets and took what Largo’s defense gave them — midrange jumpers that avoided taking on Bundu in his blocking zone down low and spread the Lions’ defense.

The strategy succeeded for Gwynn Park, which held Largo to its lowest point total of the season by 18 points, surviving a similarly stingy, season-low effort from its own offense.

“Defensively, we wanted to shut down Bundu,” said Gwynn Park center Isaiah Martin, who stole the block show with nine crucial swats. “Offensively, we felt their guards couldn’t check our guards and their big men couldn’t check our big men outside the three-point line, so we wanted to spread them out. We can run, but we had to play a different game today.”

Martin and the Yellow Jackets’ double-team kept Bundu at bay, forcing the 6-8 forward to the free throw line, wherd 10 of his 16 points. Largo’s outside shooters nearly made Gwynn Park pay for the zone, knocking down enough jumpers to keep up with the Yellow Jackets duo of Cedric Hines (10 points) and Evan Joiner (13 points). The game featured 14 lead changes, six in the fourth quarter alone.

“That was the kind of game we wanted to play: a slow-down, grind-it-out game,” Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick said. “I was really proud of how our kids hit free throws at the end.”

Gwynn Park girls cruise

Even without leading scorer Takayla Ellis, who was sick, the No. 20 Gwynn Park girls cruised to a 67-25 win over Friendly in a 2A South quarterfinal.

The Yellow Jackets rallied from a slow start under the guidance of junior Armani Mooney, who scored nine points and kept the offense clicking.

“She played solid; she’s been playing solid for us all year,” said Mike Strother. “She’s sacrificed a lot in terms of scoring this year to help lead the team, and I think she’s done a great job, and did a great job tonight.”

Gwynn Park’s other constant back-court spark, senior Tashina Cardwell, turned in a high-energy performance against the Patriots (7-15), scoring 13 points to lead Gwynn Park’s scorers. Senior center Ashanti Freeland added 12 and Chantelle Gross scored 10 to propel the Yellow Jackets.

Gwynn Park (19-2) will host Largo in the semifinal Thursday in what will be the third meeting between the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A rivals. Each team has won one of those matchups, the Yellow Jackets most recently with a 66-54 win to clinch the league title in the last game of the regular season.



Thursday, March 6
Gwynn Park edges Largo 45-41 in 2A South district semifinal
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 Gwynn Park edges Largo in section semifinal Boys’ basketball: Pegram’s clutch fourth-quarter free throw shooting helps clinch 45-41 win by Jennifer Beekman Staff writer All nine of Gwynn Park High School senior Isaiah Martin’s blocks in Wednesday’s Class 2A South Region Section II semifinal against the visiting Largo boys’ basketball team were important. They did, after all, prevent the ball from going into the basket. But there was one, in particular, that came at quite the opportune time. Four consecutive free throws from Mike Pegram had given Gwynn Park a three-point lead with just over two seconds remaining in regulation. Largo had one option to keep itself in the game: Go for the 3-point shot. As the Yellow Jackets expected, the Lions got the ball straight to its 3-point extraordinaire Aaron Thomas — 40 3-pointers this season — but as Thomas jumped up, the ball above his head ready to be released, the 6-foot-7 Martin’s hand came crashing down on it and Largo’s chances at evening the score. Martin was immediately fouled and converted one of two free throw attempts to put the game completely out of reach for good, 45-41. The Yellow Jackets’ (16-7) win Wednesday avenged a seven-point loss to the Lions (16-8) on Feb. 20, Gwynn Park’s last game before the section semifinals; the Yellow Jackets defeated Largo in the teams’ first 2013-14 meeting. Gwynn Park is expected to travel to the section’s top seed, Potomac High, a semifinal winner over Frederick Douglass, for Thursday evening’s scheduled section final. “That was a great win for the team and a great win for the program,” eighth-year Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick said. “We hadn’t played for 13 days and our last game was [the loss] to Largo. We hadn’t practiced since Saturday. ... That game was typical of our league. Everyone’s beating everyone, everyone’s so evenly matched.” Both teams were held to season lows Wednesday, but in particular, it was just the second time the high-scoring Largo offense failed to reached the 60-point mark. The Yellow Jackets’ 2-3 zone defense did its job, keeping Largo’s 6-8 leading scorer Abdulai Bundu well below his 24.7 points per-game average at just 16 points. Gwynn Park also limited Thomas (13.3 points per game) to just five points. “Our focus was packing it in [in the 2-3 zone] and denying [Thomas] the 3-pointer,” Pegram said. “I think it was good win to show our ability to win the close games.” Though the Yellow Jackets were outsized, Glick said he was proud of the way his players stayed “active on the boards,” especially senior Evan Joiner who played down low and way above his 5-10 stature. It was more than two minutes before Gwynn Park scored a single point Wednesday — senior Cedric Hines ended the drought with his first of many lucrative drives to the rim. The Yellow Jackets quickly erased a four-point deficit to take a 9-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. Largo again took a four-point lead late in the second quarter, only for Gwynn Park to finish the half ahead by one point, 18-17. The Yellow Jackets seemed to have settled into the contest with a 5-0 run to start the second half but this time it was Largo’s chance to make a comeback. The Lions went ahead by two points late in the third quarter but with the teams’ tied at 28-28, it was a Martin 3-pointer — off a great Hines drive and kick — followed by a block at the other end of the court that gave Gwynn Park a three-point lead heading into the final period. The teams traded leads several times in the fourth quarter but ultimately the Yellow Jackets converted when given the opportunity. “This was our third time playing each other and both teams are very good teams,” Glick said. “We did not want to let [Bundu] beat us. We wanted to slow it down, grind out the game and make free throws. [Pegram] has been our best free throw shooter but he struggled at the beginning of the season so I was happy to see him step up.” jbeekman@gazette.net Gwynn Park 45, Largo 41 Largo 8 9 11 13 — 41 Gwynn Park 9 9 13 14 — 45 SCORING Largo (16-8) — Abdulai Bundu 16, Isiah Boggs 9, Nathaniel Manning 9, Aaron Thomas 5, David Luckett 2. Gwynn Park (16-7) — Evan Joiner 13, Cedric Hines 10, Mike Pegram 7, Anwar Mack 6, Isaiah Martin 6, Jayson Johnson 2, Marquis Holland 1.

Sunday, February 2
Coach Glick on Jan. 31st High School Sports Final

Jan. 31st High School Sports Final

2/1/14 1:13 AM

Host Horace Holmes as our game of the week features St. John's vs. Paul VI. And, where is Damian Prince going to college? Plus, Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick joins us in the coaches corner.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/02/jan-31st-high-school-sports-final-99797.html#ixzz2sEO0EpmD

Follow us: @ABC7News on Twitter WJLATV on Facebook



Thursday, January 30
Flexibility: Great coaches share one attribute
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Flexibility: Great coaches share one attribute

How, many county high school basketball pundits seemed to wonder, would a team historically reliant on size and strength employ its traditional game with just one true “big [man]?” To answer simply: They don’t, because Glick knows how to coach to his talent. Rather than attempt to overpower their opponents, the Yellow Jackets (11-5, 9-2 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A League) have taken to a more guard-oriented approach this winter, and they are doing just fine. Gwynn Park is 136-55 overall in Glick’s tenure.

Similarly, Eleanor Roosevelt has been one of the biggest teams in the state in recent history. This year, the Raiders (11-4) don’t have anyone over 6-foot-3 in their starting lineup, but they still remain on pace to compete for another state championship, just with a different style of play.

“Some coaches try and make a team fit into their style, we change our style according to players,” Glick said.

Added Charles H. Flowers coach Mark Edwards following the Jaguars’ loss to Roosevelt earlier this month: “[Roosevelt] might not have as much talent offensively, but [coach] Brendan [O’Connell] has them so disciplined. He does a great job getting guys to understand their roles and what they want to do.”

Prince George’s has been privy to some pretty spectacular basketball players, but not every team is fortunate enough to have future NCAA Division I- or NBA-caliber stars on it every year, or ever. Nevertheless, there are programs that are able to produce some of the county’s best ball play year in and year out, and much of that has to do with coaches’ ability connect with and bring out the best in their student-athletes.

It takes a certain type of patient person to get through to and build prosperous coach-athlete relationships with high school basketball players, but the county has seen its fair share of coaches who seem to perennially draw the best out of whatever talent, or lack thereof, they are dealt.

The ability to communicate and get players to buy into one’s coaching system should be at the top of every coach’s list of priorities, Glick said. But what does it take to earn that respect in the first place? Coaches agreed finding a way to relate to their players plays a major role.

“I kind of try to relate to the kids in a way where I try to teach them that sports and life are challenges and we use a lot of examples of real-life situations and apply them to [basketball],” said sixth-year Frederick Douglass boys’ coach Tyrone Massenburg, who has been coaching in the county since 1987. “The kids have to understand the meaning of why they should try to achieve certain goals. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in three areas of the county, I’ve seen all types of kids in this area and I know what buttons to push to be consistent.”

Part of relating to players, Glick added, is keeping up with the times — five years ago he said he would never have texted his athletes but does it quite often these days. Adolescents are pulled in all different directions these days and don’t receive criticism the same way they did 20 years ago, so it’s important for coaches to convey constructive criticism in a positive manner.

“If coaches don’t criticize in a positive way, if they berate the kids, they’re just going to tune them out,” Glick said.

It’s also imperative, coaches agreed, for them to show their players they truly care about their well-being. Whether it’s attending a game during another sports season or listening when a player is in need, the kids need to know their coach genuinely cares.

Coaches also agreed there is a correlation between consistency within a coaching staff and a program’s success. Most of the county’s perennially successful teams have longer standing coaches. Within that, Glick said, is the development of a good junior varsity program to ensure that players are familiar with the Gwynn Park system and ready for varsity ball. Glick said hiring 2002 Gwynn Park graduate Spencer Way six years ago to head up the Yellow Jackets’ junior varsity team was the best decision he’s made for his program.

O’Connell said he is a players’ coach. Many of the county’s most effective leaders probably are. They remember what they enjoyed most as a player and speak to their charges in those terms.

“I think the fun part about coaching public school basketball is that we coach who’s there,” O’Connell said. “We don’t get to go get players like colleges or some of the private schools do. One year you can have a ton of big guys, the next year all guards. That’s kind of the fun part.”



Thursday, January 23
High school basketball showcases provide exposure for players, promoters

High school basketball showcases provide exposure for players, promoters

Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post - Arize Ifejika, a 27-year-old D.C. native, awards game MVPs to Jamall Gregory (left, from Coolige) and Cameron Smith (Miller School) following their game. Ifejka runs the More Than Basketball management group which is one of several organizations that put on one-day basketball showcase events in and around the District.

When No. 11 Clinton Christian meets nationally ranked Cape Henry in the featured game at the Nation’s Capital Hoops Classic on Saturday at Coolidge High, fans will be treated to a rare showdown of one of the area’s top teams against a Virginia Beach power. Several future Division I recruits, including Eagles guard Jon Davis (DePaul) and Cape Henry junior Chris Clarke, will be on display before a packed gym in Northwest.

The game will be the last of five scheduled in the event, one of nearly 15 showcases that have taken place during the first three months of the 2013-14 high school basketball season.

(Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post) - Flyers and DVDs are spread out at the entrace of Trinity University where Arize Ifejika and his More Than Basketball management group put on last month’s Uptown Hoopfest.

(Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post) - Arize Ifejka welcomes spectators onto the court at last month’s Uptown Hoopfest, part of a growing number of local high school basketball showcases.

“People in this area love to see good basketball,” said Coolidge Coach Vaughn Jones, whose school hosted the MLK Hoopfest Showcase last weekend. “When done right, showcases allow for that to happen.”

Showcase events feature rare, out-of-conference matchups within a day-long format that can include as many as seven consecutive games on the same floor. They provide an extra avenue of exposure for players, schools and outside organizers, luring college coaches and spectators, but also blurring the lines between high school athletics and profit-driven event promotion.

‘A very big undertaking’

In a region rich with basketball talent, perhaps the easiest step in the year-long event planning process is finding teams to showcase. Also included on an organizer’s to-do list are nailing down a venue, hiring referees, searching for sponsorships, navigating various league regulations to make sure teams are appropriately matched and locking down security.

No amount of money or planning can account for the seemingly inevitable during showcases.

Tip-offs are often delayed due to the unpredictable flow of games. Concession stands may become bare as most of the food is gobbled up during the day’s early contests. Inclement weather can also get in the way, as was the case when last month’s snowstorm forced organizers to cancel the final three games of the DMVelite Tip Off Classic at C.H. Flowers. With fans flocking to see top talent in a single setting, space can be a concern. The final game in last year’s More Than Basketball Uptown Hoopfest was nearly called off when a heavy flood of fans entering and leaving the Carroll gym briefly created a fire hazard.

“It’s a very big undertaking, and it can teach you a lot of about patience,” said Chris Lawson, who in 2009 founded DMVelite Showcase Events, which creates and hosts basketball events and covers area players and teams.

With the opportunity to place their players before college scouts at all levels and prepare their teams for the postseason against competitive opponents, more high school coaches are looking to fill their schedules with showcase events.

Both Maryland and Virginia limit public schools to 22 regular season games. In 2005, Virginia teams were given the freedom to make their own out-of-conference schedules, allowing for a player like former Herndon and Villanova star Scottie Reynolds to raise his profile with a 27-point performance against national power Oak Hill Academy and become a 2006 McDonald’s all-American.

“I’d rather go to D.C. and get my butt kicked by a really good team than play a bunch of teams that won’t challenge us,” said Wakefield Coach Tony Bentley, whose team has played in three showcases this year. “Some coaches get caught up in the win-loss record, but I see these events as glorified scrimmages that get you ready for the playoffs.”

In Maryland, the scheduling rules vary by district. Montgomery County schools must lock in out-of-conference opponents for two years in a home-and-home series, whereas Prince George’s County recently dropped the number of required conference games from 18 to 17, opening up another chance to schedule a showcase game.

With their greater scheduling flexibility, area private schools have competed in local and national showcases for decades, sometimes playing at two in one day, as Riverdale Baptist did during its packed 36-game schedule last year. The events can serve as a lifeline for schools vying to enter the local hoops discussion, like this year’s Clinton Christian boys’ team, which will compete in its fifth showcase of the winter this weekend.

Mike Glick has seen both sides of this dynamic. While coaching at Pallotti and Spalding, he knew that a handful of college coaches would fill the gym on any given night to see Rudy Gay and the other Division I talent that typically fills private school rosters. Once Glick took the helm at Gwynn Park in 2006, finding a similar platform and audience for his public school players proved difficult.

“I know that the game we played against Cesar Chavez normally wouldn’t draw any college coaches,” Glick said of the Jan. 20 game. “But because we played them in the MLK Showcase, we had 20 coaches in the stands to see kids on both teams.”

A promotional opportunity

With showcases often serving as a one-stop recruiting shop for college coaches, the focus can sometimes shift from the team to the player.

“As a fan of basketball, I like seeing good matchups. . . but I often wonder if too much is made of exposure,” longtime Magruder Coach Dan Harwood said. “When you’re playing so many games, there’s less time to practice and fundamentals sometimes are sacrificed in the name of individual attention.”

Depending on the contract and school system’s policies, a school also stands to benefit from hosting a showcase, be it through concessions, donations or venue fees, that can run upwards of $1,000, according to Wise Athletic Director Jason Gordon.

How the rest of a showcase’s profit is spent varies by event. Mark Tillmon, a former player at Gonzaga and Georgetown, directed most of his revenue from last weekend’s MLK Hoopfest to the scholarship fund under his nonprofit company, the Shooting Straight Program.

For Arize Ifejika, the annual showcases put on by his More Than Basketball company since 2009 have brought more publicity and consumers to his clothing line and go-go music band. Those who attended his Uptown Hoopfest earlier this month were greeted at the ticket table by flyers featuring Ifejika’s picture, product promotions and copies of a basketball documentary he directed.

“Same way I promote basketball to kids, I know they care about fashion as much as they care about basketball,” said Ifejika, a 27-year-old D.C. native. “They care about music as much as basketball. Because of that, the market is wide open for this.”

While many laud the elevated awareness of college opportunities that showcases provide, others remain cautious amid the concern that, in some cases, teenage athletes can be used as pawns for the interests of profit-driven individuals and event promoters.

“I don’t think they add anything to high school athletics, but what they might bring are the negative things that can sometimes happen in youth basketball with some of the out-of-school activities and characters involved,” Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association executive director Ned Sparks said. “It’s not really something that is complementary to education-based athletics. . . . But just because it doesn’t add anything to the stature of high school athletics doesn’t mean somebody might not find a lucrative possibility to promote themselves or gain some notoriety.”

Sparks and others fully expect to see more showcases pop up on the local scene in the coming seasons, looking to cash in on opportunities for exposure while feeding the region’s insatiable appetite for quality high school basketball.



Thursday, January 9
Boys’ basketball teams in 2A South anticipate diffcult path
Thursday, January 09, 2014            
       

Making it to the Comcast Center for the high school state boys’ basketball tournament is hard enough. No matter the classification or the opponent, it’s still a one-loss exit fee with little room for error.

With the new sectional system the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association put into place this year, a certain cluster of schools in the 2A South Region might claim to face the most turbulent and unpredictable path to states.

One particular “district” as Gwynn Park High School’s Mike Glick called the new bracket comprised of six teams within the 2A South, is made up of reigning 3A state finalist Potomac, Glick’s traditionally powerful Yellow Jackets, always-competitive Frederick Douglass, Friendly, a rejuvenated Largo squad and Southern of Anne Arundel County.

“I think our district is the best district in the state,” said Glick, whose team lost to Potomac earlier in the year, 69-49. “If you’re talking about top level talent, this is the best district. It’s just absolutely crazy that we’re all 2A and in one little district.”

Potomac has been dubbed by several coaches as the de facto No. 1 team, since they return the two integral pieces from the 2013 team — Maryland recruit Dion Wiley and Randall Broddie — that extended their season all the way to the 3A state finals last year before dropping down to 2A this season.

“All things considered, you got to give it to Potomac with all the hype they’ve received,” said Largo coach Lew Howard, whose team defeated the Wolverines, 68-64 on Monday. “You got to come to play every night. There’s no nights off.”

Neither Howard nor Glick objected to the thought that a state-title quality game could realistically take place in the opening round, about three weeks before the MPSSAA-designated state final. Largo, Potomac and Gwynn Park have all established themselves as legitimate candidates to represent Prince George’s County at Comcast, and with the way the seeding works — only the top two teams are seeded, the rest is random — there is a fair chance that two of those teams see one another in the first round.

“The toughest road to the state semifinal might be in the semifinals or quarterfinals of the district play,” Glick said. “If you put [2013 4A state semifinalist] North Point in our district, they might not make it out of the first round. It’s just crazy that all of us are in the same pod. You got to beat two teams just to get to the region finals, and that’s not even Comcast.”

The silver lining behind it all is that the team left standing after making its way through that sectional will have already proven itself against possibly the best teams the 2A has to offer. The Prince George’s County teams, with 1A Central also included in their regular league play, may have outright the most competitive schedule from the first tip of the season to the last.

“The best team on that night is going to win,” Howard said. “And it only prepares you for when you get out. You’re battle tested. It’s only going to help you. Each level in Prince George’s County has some of the best talent in the state and even in the country.”

If and when they do get out of the sectional, any possibilities of taking a breather are off the table, because then there is the 2012 state champion Lake Clifton, the 1A state champion Dunbar team that moved up to 2A and the Edmondson/Westside team that beat Wicomico on the buzzer to win it all in the 2A last year.

In one bizarre scenario, with Dunbar and Potomac moving up classes in the same year, there could be three 2013 state finalists, of which two became state champions, all in at least the region finals.

“The competition is good,” said Largo’s Abdulai Bundu, the leading public school scorer in the Washington, D.C. region with 26.7 points per game. “People are coming at us now. They see what we have, seen what we can do. We got a bulls-eye on our back.”

Throughout the year, that proverbial bulls-eye could flip from Bundu’s Largo to Potomac to Gwynn Park and back around the loop again.

“I’d rival our league against anybody else in the state,” Glick said. “I’d put our league against the 4A, the [Washington Catholic Athletic Conference] — any of them, as proven by the play so far this season.”

tmewhirter@gazette.net



Monday, January 20
Gwynn Park among contenders in loaded Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A

Boys’ basketball: Gwynn Park among contenders in loaded Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A

As the league schedule in loaded Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A continues, the race for positioning among contenders No. 9 Potomac (Md.), No. 19 Largo, Gwynn Park, Central and Douglass will pit top teams against one another in heated battles night after night in the coming months.

As Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick put it: “It’s going to be a blood bath.”

Glick’s Yellow Jackets (9-5, 7-2) gave a glimpse into the challenges the top teams will pose to one other’s league title hopes last week when they knocked off Largo 67-63. The Lions, led by seemingly unstoppable big man Abdulai Bundu, had upset Potomac a week earlier.

Gwynn Park’s success against the rising Lions, Glick said, was 32 minutes of box-and-one defense on Bundu that held the 6-foot-8 force below 20 points for just the third time all season.

“We couldn’t let Abdulai beat us,” said 6-foot-7 senior forward Isaiah Martin. “He’s a good player. Everything goes through him on Largo, and I feel we slowed him down from the start. We played great defense.”

Certainly Largo will anticipate that approach from the Yellow Jackets when the two meet again in the regular season finale, the first move in what will quickly become a game of strategy between contenders’ coaches who will have to face each other multiple times in the coming weeks.

For anyone who thought Potomac and Largo had turned the stretch run into a two-team race, Gwynn Park’s win also announced the need for game-planning for the Yellow Jackets’ big three: Martin (12.5 points per game) and guards Evan Joiner (14.3) and Cedric Hines (13.7).

“We have a lot of guards that can do different things,” Joiner said. “We have shooters, we have guys that can attack the rim, and we even have guys that can rebound at guard, so we know what we can do.” . . . .

A new face will likely affect the finish of 3A/2A/1A race, as big man Quadree Smith’s transfer from Paul VI to Potomac (Md.) gives the Wolverines a two-Smith (Anthony and Quadree) tandem of athleticism and girth inside to go with one of the D.C.-area’s most formidable backcourts in Dion Wiley and Randall Broddie.



Wednesday, January 15
Gwynn Park rallies to upset Central 66-62
Tuesday, January 14, 2014         
 

 

 

As another Gwynn Park High School turnover begat another Central point, a dismayed Yellow Jacket fan slumped his shoulders and shook his head.

“Nah, man,” he sighed to his feet. Central had a 10-point lead near the midpoint of the fourth quarter. “I can’t do another Gwynn Park game. I can’t handle them.”

The fan should have realized that coach Mike Glick doesn’t lose to Central, and that he didn’t plan on Tuesday being the end of his 14-0 career record against the Falcons. With a lot of help from Cedric Hines and some tremendous defense from Marquis Holland, Glick improved to 15-0 against Central, edging out a 66-62 victory in Capitol Heights.

“Of the 15 games we’ve won, it’s like they’ve all been single digits,” Glick said. “It’s just … it’s just weird. Somehow we just escape year after year after year.”

Glick, now in his eighth year with the Yellow Jackets, has seen his fair share of Central teams both strong and not so strong. This year’s is widely considered to be one of the best, as Davon Taylor has developed into the top backcourt threat in the county, averaging 24.9 points per game on 47 percent shooting. The coach’s plan: make somebody aside from Taylor beat them, and he had just the guy to implement it.

Holland, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior averaging barely three points per game, doesn’t exactly leap off the stat sheet, but he was the core to Central’s undoing. With his teammates sitting in a zone, Holland played Taylor in man, face guarding the 6-foot-1 senior to deny him the ball. When Taylor did have it, Holland blanketed him and was aided by constant double-teams when needed. The result: Taylor’s lowest offensive output (14 points) on 5-of-15 shooting, his second-worst percentage (33 percent) on the year.

“He’s a tough guard,” said Holland, who finished with five points. “He’s one of the better guards in our league and I did my best — not letting him touch the ball, forcing him left, making him think. They say I play good defense and they kept making me guard him.”

As Holland anchored the defense, Hines assembled his best game to date. He scored a season-high 25 points on an efficient 9-of-14 shooting and buried four straight free throws in the final minute to keep Central at bay.

“They were sagging off of me,” Hines said. “The first half, I wasn’t scoring that much, so they told me to be more aggressive, so that’s what I did. I tried to take it to the hole.”

Meanwhile, center Isaiah Martin continued his recent stretch of scoring, finishing with 14 for his fourth straight game in double-figures.

It was another chapter in a season of close calls for Gwynn Park, which has won one game by four, another in overtime, another by nine, and lost a 50-48 thriller to Frederick Douglass.

“I hope so,” Hines said when asked if the Yellow Jackets would ever be able to enjoy a stress-free game. “But with the way we play, I don’t know. We’re getting good at winning close games. I like games like this.”

tmewhirter@gazette.net



Gwynn Park 66, Central 62

Gwynn Park (8-4, 6-2): 15 15 16 20 — 66

Central (8-3, 5-3): 16 16 12 18 — 62

Gwynn Park: Cedric Hines 25, Isaiah Martin 14, Mike Pegram 12, Evan Joiner 7, Marquis Holland 5, Jayson Johnson 2, Isaiah Miles 1.

Central: Dequan Smith 18, Gary Stewart 15, Davon Taylor 14, Jonathan Brown 8, Derek Moon 3, Andrew Wimbush 2, Kenneth Pettaway 2.



Wednesday, January 8
Boys’ basketball: Eagles have won four straight meetings by eight total points
Douglass defeats Gwynn Park in thriller

Boys’ basketball: Eagles have won four straight meetings by eight total points

The previous three meetings, all Douglass’ wins, prior to Tuesday’s contest had been decided by just six total points. Tuesday proved no exception, as the Eagles hung on for a 50-48 win in Upper Marlboro and handed the Yellow Jackets their fourth loss in the last five games.

At no point did this one even feign the appearance of a potential comfortably-sized win, and neither Tyrone Massenburg nor Mike Glick expected any less. Given the way the past two years of this rivalry has gone, there would be no reason to anticipate anything else.

“Always,” Massenburg said. “Man, Coach Glick is a good coach. They’re always ready to play, our kids are up to the challenge and it always comes down to be a game that’s decided in the last minute. That’s what you coach for, you know, rivalry games, games against good competition. They’re a good team. We’ve been fortunate the last couple times and it’s a good rivalry.”

Neither team got off to a particularly strong start, namely on the offensive end. Douglass (5-5 overall, 4-2 3A/2A/1A League) missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the first quarter — the Eagles finished 5-for-18 from 3-point land — while Gwynn Park (5-4, 3-2) went 3-for-9 from the floor and the second quarter began with neither side in double-figures. The offense would slowly pick up from there, though it would remain a defensive struggle throughout.

“I knew I just had to be patient,” said Keyonte Frager, who led all Douglass’ scorers with 12 points despite shooting just 33 percent from the field. “Just look to open things up for my teammates, like [Cameron Hayes] and let them get to the hoop, be patient.”

Hayes lived up to Frager’s praise, scoring five straight during a 10-0 run midway through the second to turn a 14-13 deficit into a 21-14 advantage that the Eagles would never relinquish. Twelve times throughout the remainder of the game the Yellow Jackets would draw it back to a single-possession game or a tie, but Douglass didn’t budge, countering with a Frager 3-pointer here or a Hayes free throw there. Together, the two scored 22 points while Hayes made 5-of-7 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to keep Gwynn Park at bay.

“I’m proud of Cam,” Frager said. “Cam came through big. We needed that.”

With leading scorer Evan Joiner struggling to find open looks, or just get the ball in his hands at all, Glick turned to Isaiah Martin for any semblance of offensive production. The 6-foot-7 senior scored seven of the Yellow Jackets’ 11 third quarter points and 18 of the final 48, but it wasn’t enough. Two botched close-range attempts towards the end aided Douglass in preserving its lead, and Gwynn Park’s once solid 4-1 record dropped even further to 5-4.

“It’s a great rivalry,” Glick said. “They do a great job, Coach Massenburg does a great job. They’re a very, very good program and in every sport we play every game is a one or two point game. It’s a great rivalry, a healthy rivalry.”

tmewhirter@gazette.net

Douglass 50, Gwynn Park 48

Douglass (5-5, 4-2): 8 15 12 15 — 50

Gwynn Park (5-4, 3-2): 8 11 11 18 — 48

SCORING

Douglass: Keyonte Frager 12, Cameron Hayes 10, Donnell Robinson 8, Van Dunson 7, Anthony Byrd 4, Javaughn Talley 3, Tyler Smith 2, Kyle Green 2, Trevor Johnson 2.

Gwynn Park: Isaiah Martin 18, Cedric Hines 10, Evan Joiner 9, Marquis Holland 5, Mike Pegram 4, Anwar Mack 2.



Saturday, January 4
Gwynn Park Evam Joimer's will, not height, gets rebounds
Thursday, January 02, 2014         

And then you meet the 5-foot-10, 155-pound Joiner and that picture is shattered.

He’s a raw bundle of athletic ability who collects 1.2 more rebounds per game (8.8) than 6-7 teammate Isaiah Martin, blocks more shots than 6-3 Isaiah Miles, and leads the Yellow Jackets in 3-point percentage (44 percent) for those who have taken more than two (he is 7-of-16).

“He’s having a huge year for us,” Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick said. “Evan’s just an unbelievable athlete, Just a tremendous jumper, great quickness, and unbelievable motor.”

Joiner says there are no tricks to his swiping more rebounds than most big men he plays with or against. Unlike many guards, he doesn’t cheat out on fast breaks to get an easy layup on the other end or hover around the 3-point line for a quick outlet pass. When a shot goes up, he zips right into the lane as if he belongs with the taller post players.

“It’s just hard work, timing, timing,” said Joiner, who leads the team with 16.4 points per game as of Monday. “I rely on my athleticism a lot. That’s how I feel my flow. It’s tough. It’s a lot of will.”

The all-around production from Joiner hasn’t surprised Glick. He oversaw summer workouts with assistant coach Kevin Walker and took note of Joiner’s work ethic, and that he went “harder than 90 percent of the guys in the league.”

“Nothing he’s done has taken us by surprise,” the coach said. “He’s improved his outside shooting but also his body. He’s always been a great athlete but he’s really bought into the speed and agility weight lifting program. Rarely do you see your best athlete spending the most time with the speed and agility training. He went from a great athlete to an outstanding athlete.”

Joiner grew tired of the hype machine promoting fellow 3A/2A/1A guards such as Dion Wiley, Randall Broddie and Davon Taylor, all Division I-bound recruits who receive a lot of attention from opposing defenses. The low profile he retained translated into a relentless summer workout regimen which has subsequently translated into his becoming Gwynn Parks’ ubiquitous playmaker.

“I took no days off, really,” he said. “I just took it one day at a time. A week or so into [summer workouts], I could feel myself getting into better shape. Last season I didn’t have to do that as much as I do this year so I had to prepare myself.”

In the weight room, he concentrated on plyometrics, box step-ups with dumbbells in hand, core work, and lunges — the essential ingredients for an increased vertical and a quickened step. On the basketball court, Joiner took to the 3-point line, his self-admitted biggest weakness heading into this season, but still begins games from the inside-out, first attacking the rim, then stretching the defense beyond the arc.

“He has a high Division I athletic ability,” Glick said. “He plays with reckless abandon. He just plays harder than most guys. I would just say his motor — his motor and athletic ability — that’s what’s going to stand out.”

Colby Community College, located in Colby, Kansas and, according to Glick, one of the top junior colleges for basketball, sent a representative to Gwynn Park’s Dec. 19 matchup with Potomac. The Yellow Jackets lost, 69-49, and Joiner had one of his lowest outputs of the season (14 points, four rebounds). He was offered on the spot.

“Some kids level out, other kids continue to improve,” Glick said. “Evan spends a lot of time on his game. He’s continued to improve. We’ve been really, really happy with him.”

tmewhirter@gazette.net



Tuesday, December 10
Washington Post Preview 2013-14
Washington Post Basketball preview: Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A John McDonnell/The Washington Post - Maryland recruit Dion Wiley and Potomac have the talent to return to the Maryland 3A final this winter, and the experienced Wolverines will be satisfied with nothing short of a title. Buy This Photo By Chelsea Janes, Published: December 4E-mail the writer Top teams Potomac (22-4), Gwynn Park (13-11), Central (13-8) Top players G Davon Taylor, Central, Sr. G Dion Wiley, Potomac, Sr. G Randall Broddie, Potomac, Jr. F Abdulai Bundu, Largo, Jr. G Kavon Sclafford, Fairmont Heights, So. Skinny With a backcourt that features a returning first-team All-Met selection in Wiley (Maryland) and a potential first-teamer in Broddie, you’ll have a tough time finding anyone willing to bet against Potomac to finish atop Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A this year. In addition to Wiley and Broddie, the Wolverines return forwards Anthony Smith and captain Dayjar Dickson, four of the top six scorers from last year’s state finalist squad. .?.?. Douglass (13-12) was the only 3A/2A/1A team to beat Potomac last season, and while the Eagles lost last year’s leading scorer Saquan Epps-Walker, they return nearly all their other scoring threats including 6-foot-6 Marsalis Hurley and 6-foot-5 Tyler Smith. .?.?. Gwynn Park lost its top two scorers, including guard Jalen Harris and his 18 points per game, but the Yellow Jackets have plenty of backcourt talent — including Cedric Hines, Mike Pegram and Evan Joiner — waiting to emerge in his stead. .?.?. With Calvin Lovitt (18 ppg) gone to graduation, Taylor (16 ppg) will have to carry the load for Central, which must replace four of its five leading scorers.

Tuesday, December 10
PG Gazette Gwynn Park Preview 2013-14

Thursday, December 05, 2013

PG Gazette Gwynn Park Preview

Coach: Mike Glick

7th season

Last season: 13-10

Starters returning: 3

Last state tournament: 2011

Outlook: Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick enters this season with a challenge: “It’s one of the smallest teams I’ve had at Gwynn Park,” he said. “We’re going to be very guard-oriented team. They are all very good players, but we’ll have to focus on rebounding and defense.” Glick said he’ll likely start four guards with their lone post player, 6-foot-7 senior Isaiah Martin. Three returning starters — senior guards Cedric Hines, Evan Joiner and Mike Pegram — join two transfers from Washington Catholic Athletic Conference schools, Jayson Johnson, a sophomore point guard from St. Mary’s Ryken, and Marquis Holland, a senior guard from Bishop Ireton. Anwar Mack, Aaron Parker and a second post player, Marquan Lee, round out players who will receive the bulk of minutes this year.



Thursday, June 6
Gwynn Park basketball is “guardedly optimistic”
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Share on Twitter
Gwynn Park basketball is “guardedly optimistic”

Rising Gwynn Park senior Isaiah Martin kind of blended in with the crowd during this past winter's basketball season.

The 6-foot, 4-inches-and-above crowd.

But as the Yellow Jackets' summer league team stood around the Riverdale Baptist gymnasium court following a 58-47 win over Charles County's Lackey High in Thursday's 38th annual Falconers summer basketball league season opener, the 6-7 Martin stood tall above the rest.

For the first time in two seasons — the same amount of time it's been since the Yellow Jackets' last state tournament appearance in 2011 — Gwynn Park will return a solid nucleus of players next winter. But the team will have an entirely different look.

Last year five of seventh-year Yellow Jackets head coach Mike Glick's players stood at 6-4 or taller. This year Martin is the lone “big guy.”

Not to worry.

Gwynn Park has spent the past two months since summer league basketball practices started in March reworking its entire offense. A traditionally big team reliant on sheer physical strength, the Yellow Jackets employed a more guard-oriented approach Thursday.

The Falconers league, summer coach Spencer Way said, is the perfect opportunity for Gwynn Park to fine tune it's new style of play in preparation for what he and the Yellow Jackets hope will be a more prosperous 2013-14.

Way, a 2002 Gwynn Park graduate, just concluded his fifth season as the Yellow Jackets' junior varsity coach. His charges this summer, he added, are driven by the desire to get Gwynn Park back to the top of Prince George's County basketball after what he described as a rocky season.

“The tradition is there. The hunger is there. That's what I'm trying to instill in the kids,” Way said. “We've had to adjust to the personnel. We're used to bigger teams but we are a smaller team now, so we made adjustments to accommodate.”

Though Gwynn Park lost its top two scorers to graduation — Jalen Harris (18.2 points per game) and 6-6 Ackhel Bazil (8.4 ppg) — the Yellow Jackets are slated to return its next five top scorers.

And the special part of it is that each of them — Evan Joiner (7.6 ppg), Cedric Hines (6.5 ppg), Mike Pegram (5.5), Martin (5.4) and Anwar Mack (3.8) — brings a different skill and all of them, Hines said, complement each other well.

“We've built a more guard-oriented [game]. We're going to try and create mismatches off the dribble. We can spread people out. Our defensive pressure did a good job [against Lackey], our defense rotated well,” Way said.

Hines, who transferred in from DeMatha Catholic last year and has attracted attention from a number of Division I coaches with a strong spring AAU season, will be at the center of Gwynn Park's five-guard attack next winter.

A dynamic passer, quick-footed Hines will step in as point guard. He is emotionally intense in a good way, Way said, and can knock down an outside shot as well when necessary.

Martin will be the go-to player inside the paint. Hines said the Yellow Jackets will have to do everything they can to help him out on the boards.

Mack is a defensive specialist, Way said, and an incredibly cerebral player who will knock down some open shots and Pegram could be the team's best shooter. He can beat opponents off the dribble, Way said, and will be an inside-outside threat.

Martin led the team in scoring Thursday with 12 points. Joiner added 10 and Hines, Pegram, Mack, Jason Johnson and Marquis Holland all added at least seven points.

There are a number of county teams who would celebrate a 13-11 record but for a team with as rich a basketball history as Gwynn Park — 10 state championships — 2012-13 was a bit of a down year.

With a talented core of players set to return, next winter is shaping up to be quite a promising one. But with a different approach.

“I think teams might be surprised. We play a lot faster, We move the ball around, we have to run and drive and kick out and play good defense. We have a lot of athletic guards, we can adjust to anything,” Joiner said.

jbeekman@gazette.net



Monday, May 20
Gwynn Park’s Jalen Harris headed to Nyack College

Gwynn Park’s Jalen Harris headed to Nyack College

Gwynn Park’s Jalen Harris became familiar with the basketball recruiting process last year, watching his teammates set their future plans.

Gwynn Park guard Jalen Harris signs his National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Division II Nyack College. (Photo courtesy Tasha Harris)

Gwynn Park guard Jalen Harris signs his National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Division II Nyack College. (Photo courtesy Tasha Harris)

During his junior season, the 6-foot-2 guard was surrounded by seniors in the Yellow Jackets’ eight-man rotation. While Harris turned his focus toward his senior year, the other seven players all found colleges or prep schools to continue their careers.

After bumping his production up to 18 points per game this winter, Harris relished his chance to make a college pick. He signed with Division II Nyack College earlier this month, picking the New York school over a pair of other Division II options, Barton College (N.C.) and Newberry (S.C.).

“They seemed most interested in me, so that was important,” said Harris, who will have about 75 percent of his first-year costs covered by the scholarship. “Their coaches are very passionate, and I had a good rapport with the team. I felt like it was a good place for me to be successful.”

A three-year varsity player, Harris played an important role on Gwynn Park’s Prince George’s County champion team last year on a squad that featured guard Xavier Richards (Baltimore City Community College) and forward Marcel Boyd (Howard), among others.

But the long-range marksman had to adjust his game as a senior once he became the team’s clear top offensive option. With defenses focused on shutting him down, the guard found fewer open outside shots and had to learn to pick his spots to create his own shot.

This winter, Harris earned honorable mention All-Met honors, averaging 18.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for the Yellow Jackets, who went 13-11.

Late in the season, he missed three games after spraining his right ankle in practice but returned for the team’s Maryland 2A South playoff game at then-unbeaten Oakland Mills. The Scorpions cruised to a 73-45 victory, but Harris poured in a game-high 22 points, playing at less than full speed in his final high school game.

Harris said Nyack Coach Jason Crafton began pursuing him last summer. The former Navy assistant called Harris “a true gym rat” in a press release announcing his addition to the team.

Harris will play shooting guard for the Warriors and plans to study business administration and sports management at the school located just outside of New York City. He signed his National Letter-of-Intent during a ceremony at the Brandywine school alongside teammate Ackhel Bazil, a 6-foot-6 forward who received a full scholarship to nearby Washington Adventist.

Since the basketball season ended, Harris has been working out with a personal trainer and hopes to play this summer in the Kenner League to get better prepared for the jump in competition.

“I need to work on my strength right now,” Harris said. “I don’t want to be bullied around at the college level.”



Friday, April 12
Gwynn Park’s Ackhel Bazil cuts unique path to basketball scholarship at Washington Adventist

Gwynn Park’s Ackhel Bazil cuts unique path to basketball scholarship at Washington Adventist

Senior Ackhel Bazil moved to Brandywine from St. Thomas to seek a college baskteball scholarship, and he was rewarded with a full ride to Washington Adventist. (Photo courtesy Mike Glick)

Senior Ackhel Bazil moved to Brandywine from St. Thomas to seek a college basketball scholarship, and he was rewarded with a full ride to Washington Adventist. (Photo courtesy Mike Glick)

Washington Adventist men’s basketball Coach Patrick Crarey told Gwynn Park senior Ackhel Bazil he could take his time considering the scholarship offer. But the 6-foot-6 forward felt he’d already waited long enough, so he committed on the spot during a March 26 campus visit.

While still at the Takoma Park school that afternoon, Bazil dialed his mother, Gloria, on the phone back in the Carribean nation of St. Thomas with news that their shared dream had come true.

“She started screaming,” Bazil said by phone this week. “She started laughing. She started crying. She said she was really happy, excited. She couldn’t believe it.”

Long ago, Bazil locked in on basketball as has his ticket to a better life. While still living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the youngster got his first glimpses of this country through a series of annual trips to Florida with an all-star team of local players.

In early 2011, Gloria Bazil, a nurse in her homeland, took a leap of faith in sending her son to live with a family friend, Sheniko Frett, in Brandywine with the hope he’d earn a free college education through the sport.

Thanks to two strong seasons at Gwynn Park under Coach Mike Glick, the athletic forward with impressive rebounding skills and a raw offensive game has found a home with the Shock, who currently play at the Division II level but will move to the NAIA in 2014.

Bazil, who also had interest from West Virginia State and Baltimore City Community College, will have tuition and full room and board paid for at the school where he plans to major in criminal justice to possibly pursue a career in drug enforcement.

“Defensively, the kid’s a mid to high major [recruit],” said Glick, a former Washington Adventist assistant. “He’s the best shot blocker I’ve had in my seven years at Gwynn Park. … He’s really made a humungous step this season. He was our team MVP.”

Bazil arrived at Gwynn Park too late in his sophomore year to suit up for the Yellow Jackets, but Glick quickly got him in the gym and working out with his team.

At first, progress was slow as the forward adjusted to a different style of play and his new surroundings. Glick saw a player with little confidence who often struggled just to pass and catch on the offensive end because he was trying to move too quickly.

“Everything changed,” Bazil said.

Since then, Bazil has blossomed on and off the court. In his senior season, he averaged 8.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game for the Yellow Jackets, who finished 13-11.

Bazil said he became aware of Washington Adventist’s interest after posting 23 points and 18 rebounds in a 61-40 loss to eventual Maryland 4A state runner-up Magruder on Dec. 27. From then on, Crarey and his staff kept contact with Bazil, and the senior began to more clearly see his path to a scholarship.

“It made me want to play harder and show off, so he would keep the interest in me,” Bazil said. “I didn’t want him to want me for this week and then forget about me.”

The sport has opened up opportunities that Bazil never thought possible, including the chance to play with the U.S. Virgin Islands national team at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship in Brazil last summer.

Bazil started in the post for the U.S. Virgin Islands team, which went 2-3 during the competition. That included a 105-42 loss to the United States team that eventually won the title.

At the tournament, Bazil averaged 4.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, but he took his lumps against the Americans. He went scoreless and fouled out in 14 minutes, playing most of that time matched up against Julius Randle, the Kentucky-bound power forward who is considered among the top recruits in the Class of 2013.

Bazil said the experience showed him how much room he has left for improvement, while providing an unforgettable taste of what it might be like to play the sport at the highest level.

“I can’t even tell you how many autographs I signed,” Bazil said. “I signed hundreds and hundreds. They treat you like Kobe or LeBron. It’s amazing, and I owe it all to basketball.”

Have a high school sports question? Start a new thread in our forums and I’ll do my best to weigh in. (Click on ‘New Topic‘ to start your thread.)

 



Friday, April 12
Power forward averaged 12.5 rebounds per game signs with Washington Adventist
Thursday, April 11, 2013             
       

On April 4, Gwynn Park High School senior and 6-foot-6 power forward Ackhel Bazil signed his letter of intent to play for Washington Adventist University.

“I consider [Bazil] the top defensive post player in the [3A/2A/1A League],” Yellow Jackets coach Mike Glick wrote in an email. When listing off his stats, Glick mentioned Bazil’s 12.5 rebounds per game, 5.0 blocks per game and 8.5 points per game. He then added, somewhat jokingly, Bazil also had “one million altered shots.”

Despite the Yellow Jackets suffering somewhat of a down year during his senior season, Bazil, who was selected to the Prince George’s County Senior All-Star Game a few weeks back, still recorded five double-doubles and reached double-digit rebounds in 11 games. His season-high was 25 rebounds in a win over Fairmont Heights, which followed a 21-rebound performance in a three point loss to Potomac.

“I embrace it,” Bazil said of his role being primarily to dominate the glass and alter shots. “I like it. I love it.”

Washington Adventist finished the 2012-2013 season 9-19 and its leading rebounder amassed 121 total rebounds. Bazil said he was told that he is currently the “No. 1 power forward they were looking at” and that he should “play major, major minutes.” He guesses that he will likely start as a college freshman.

Bazil’s role, he said, would be “to rebound the basketball, block shots, play defense, and if I can get a shot off, then get a shot off.”

The Shock also looked into other local recruits such as John F. Kennedy’s Marcus Murray, a second-team All-Gazette selection in Montgomery County.

tmewhirter@gazette.net



Friday, March 1
Oakland Mills overwhelms Gwynn Park in Maryland 2A South quarterfinal

Oakland Mills overwhelms Gwynn Park in Maryland 2A South quarterfinal

Oakland Mills junior Marvin Williams has worked on his dunking all season during practices, but until Thursday night, he’d never dared to attempt to throw one down in a game. When Williams broke into the open court in the third quarter of the Maryland 2A South quarterfinal against Gwynn Park, the timing suddenly seemed too perfect not to go for it.

With a Yellow Jacket in close pursuit the layup might have been the high-percentage play, but the guard rose for a right-handed slam that whipped the capacity crowd in his home gym into more of a frenzy.

Everything seemed to work for No. 9 Oakland Mills in a convincing 73-45 victory over Gwynn Park in Columbia. The Scorpions kept their unblemished record intact thanks to balanced scoring and a smothering defensive effort in a game they led by as many as 34 points. They will host Largo, which beat Marriotts Ridge, 70-63, in a region semifinal on Tuesday.

“I wanted to go up strong, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” said Williams, who finished with 12 points. “Then I was like, ‘We’re up and it’s the playoffs, so I’m going to try and dunk it.’”

The emphatic victory helped avenge some painful history for Oakland Mills, which remains the only undefeated public school team in the state.

Two years ago, the Scorpions won their first 25 games of the season before Gwynn Park beat them, 52-48, on the same floor in the region final. The Yellow Jackets eliminated the Howard County school three straight years starting in 2009, twice with a state tournament berth on the line.

None of the current Oakland Mills players were around for any of those games, but 2010-11 All-Met Player of the Year Greg Whittington, now a Georgetown sophomore, was in attendance and briefly addresses the team at halftime.

“I didn’t talk much about [the history] because they don’t know,” Oakland Mills Coach Jon Browne said. “They don’t have a care in the world. They don’t think anyone can beat them, and I don’t want to burst their bubble.”

Indeed, Oakland Mills (22-0) left little doubt this time, building its advantage during the middle quarters. Gwynn Park (13-11) converted just one field goal in the second quarter as the Scorpions broke the game open with an 18-4 run.

Seniors Lavon Long (11 points) and Dajuan Dent (12 points) were both strong inside offensively and helped protect the basket on the other end.

Though the outcome had long since been decided, the Oakland Mills students, some of whom began lining up outside the school nearly two hours before tip-off, still exploded onto the court to celebrate at the final whistle.

“We’ve been working for two weeks as hard as we can every day, looking forward to this game and it really paid off,” said Long, a Loyola (Md.) recruit. “There’s not much I can say because I assumed we would do this.”

Gwynn Park senior Jalen Harris scored 19 of his game-high 22 points in the final quarter.



Friday, March 1
Georgetown’s Greg Whittington watches Oakland Mills eliminate Gwynn Park

Georgetown’s Greg Whittington watches Oakland Mills eliminate Gwynn Park

Former Oakland Mills standout Greg Whittington, seen here in a 2011 loss to Gwynn Park, provided his former squad some inspiration for Thursday's playoff victory over the Yellow Jackets. (Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

Former Oakland Mills standout Greg Whittington, seen here in a 2011 loss to Gwynn Park, provided his former team with some inspiration for Thursday’s playoff victory over the Yellow Jackets. (Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

Oakland Mills Coach Jon Browne didn’t bother with a history lesson before Thursday’s Maryland 2A quarterfinal against Gwynn Park. None of the current Scorpions had ever played against the Yellow Jackets, so as the veteran coach prepared the area’s last unbeaten team for its playoff opener, he thought it best to stay in the present.

Ninth-ranked Oakland Mills squashed any thoughts of an upset early in its emphatic 73-45 victory, and when it was over, the students still spilled onto the court to celebrate.

At 6-foot-8, Greg Whittington rose above the swarm, but really, he fit right in. The 2010-2011 All-Met Player of the Year wore a wide smile as he made the rounds, dispensing high-fives, hugs and pats on the head. The Georgetown sophomore never played with any of these Scorpions, but he clearly took pride from their performance against Gwynn Park, the team that ended each of his final three seasons at the Columbia school.

“He’s still a little kid, man, to me,” Browne said. “He’s a gym rat. He comes around a lot and makes his presence known because this place is special to him. He’s a program guy.”

Whittington, who is currently academically ineligible to compete for the Hoyas, had Oakland Mills in a similar position two years ago when he averaged 23.5 points per game and shot 60 percent from the field. The Scorpions won their first 25 games that season, only to fall to Gwynn Park, 52-48, in the region final.

Recent series history between Oakland Mills and Gwynn Park

YEARROUNDWINNERSCORE
2009 Maryland 2A QF Gwynn Park 66-50
2010 Maryland 2A Final Gwynn Park 79-75
2011 Maryland 2A South Final Gwynn Park 52-48
2013 Maryland 2A South QF Oakland Mills 73-45

A Georgetown starter relegated to scout team duties for now, Whittington arrived around tip-off for the teams’ fourth meeting in five years. He watched from the wall underneath one basket with former teammates Isaiah Allen and Evan Hopkins on Thursday.

Perhaps the most celebrated basketball recruit to come out of a Howard County public school in more than two decades, Whittington accompanied Oakland Mills into the locker room at halftime and briefly addressed the team.

“He was here in the same program as us with the same coach,” said senior Lavon Long, a Loyola (Md.) recruit. “In a way, we kind of did it for him because they didn’t get that win [against Gwynn Park] two years ago.”

Now 23-0, Oakland Mills advances to play Largo in a region semifinal on Tuesday. The Scorpions have not made the state tournament since 2001.

Brackets: Follow the Maryland playoffs from regions to the state finals



Friday, March 1
Oakland Mills boys basketball breaks through against Gwynn Park

Oakland Mills boys basketball breaks through against Gwynn Park

Scorpions make statement in 2A South playoffs; Long Reach, Marriotts Ridge fall in region quarterfinals

Oakland Mills vs. Gwynn Park

Oakland Mills' Nekhi Bradley, left, and Deshawn Willis, top, battle Gwynn Park's Evan Joiner for the ball. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / February 28, 2013)

It was a fitting end to a perfect night. Oakland Mills senior Devin Hunter’s 3-pointer from the wing as time expired hit nothing but net, the Scorpions’ overflow crowd began spilling onto the floor and a celebration five years in the making broke out.

For an Oakland Mills program that had been patiently waiting for another shot to get over the Gwynn Park hump in the playoffs, Thursday night’s emphatic 73-45 2A South quarterfinal win in front of a sold-out gym was everything it could have hoped for.

“That’s a statement win for this team and for me, personally, it’s especially huge,” said Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne, who had lost to the Yellowjackets three straight years between 2009 and 2011. “We needed a game like this against a team like that … I couldn’t be more proud of these guys for their effort tonight.”

Oakland Mills (23-0), which remains the only undefeated public school team left in the state of Maryland, ended up being led by four guys scoring in double figures. Deshawn Willis led the way with 15, followed by Dajuan Dent (12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks), Marvin Williams (12 points) and Lavon Long (11 points, 12 rebounds).

The win advances the Scorpions into a semifinal match-up with Largo on Tuesday.

For Gwynn Park (13-11), Jalen Harris led the way with a game-high 22 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter. By the time he got going, though, the game was well in hand.

In front of a capacity crowd that had filled the gym nearly an hour before tip-off, Oakland Mills came out firing. Williams hit two deep threes in the opening minute to quickly stake the Scorpions to a 6-0 advantage.

“It was really important to get the crowd involved (early) and it made the momentum go up more and more … I was just really feeling it in the pre-game warm up,” Williams said.

Browne said those early points, which ended up giving Oakland Mills a lead it never surrendered the rest of the night, was key to settling the team’s nerves.

“That set the tone, got the fans into it … two absolutely huge shots by him,” Browne said. “From there, we just methodically kept widening the lead after that.”

Oakland Mills was up 13-8 after the first quarter and then really separated itself in the second. Behind a smothering defense that held Gwynn Park to just one field goal in the second quarter, the Scorpions opened up a 28-12 lead at the half.

“We couldn’t score … we struggled against their zone, got down and had to play from behind. That wasn’t where our game plan was,” Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick said.

Things didn’t get much better in the scoring department for the Yellowjackets after intermission, as they mustered just eight points in the third quarter.

“They weren’t shooting the ball well, so we kind of packed it in a little bit more and forced them to take those jumpers,” Browne said. “Their penetration against the zone, I’ve seen it, is incredible at times. We just really wanted to limit that.”

And while Gwynn Park was sputtering, Oakland Mills took advantage.

During a four-minute stretch in the middle of the period, Oakland Mills rattled off a 15-2 run that opened up the team’s first 30-point lead of the night. Included in that game-sealing push was a fast-break dunk by Williams that brought the crowd to its feet.

Oakland Mills went up by as many as 36 points, 61-25, at one point in the fourth quarter before emptying the bench. The 73 points ended up as the second most points Gwynn Park has allowed all season

“We’d beaten them three years in a row in the playoffs, so of course they’re going to be inspired,” Glick said. “We knew we were going to get their best shot … they’re undefeated for a reason.

“All credit goes to them, I thought they played an exceptional game.”

While the victory over the Yellowjackets was certainly big, Browne was careful afterward to point out that this is just the first step in what he hopes is a lengthy postseason run.

We’ll enjoy this one tonight, but we’ve got to come back and do it all again against Largo — another very formidable opponent,” Browne said. “There can’t be a let down, we have to keep going up. This time of year, if you’re not getting better every night, you’re going home.”

Oakland Mills 73, Gwynn Park 45

OM (23-0): Willis 15, Dent 12, Williams 12, Long 11, Bradley 6, Reyna 6, Hunter 3, Kiely 3. Madden-Stricker 3, Zayatz 2.

Oakland Mills vs. Gwynn Park boys basketball [Pictures] Oakland Mills vs. Gwynn Park boys basketball [Pictures]

GP (13-11): Harris 22, Bazil 9, I. Martin 6, Hines 4, Pegram 3, Joiner 1.

Half: 28-12 OM.



Friday, March 1
Notes: Oakland Mills vs. Gwynn Park (2A South)

Notes: Oakland Mills vs. Gwynn Park (2A South)

As the lone undefeated team remaining in Maryland, the expectations are high for Oakland Mills in Class 2A. Considered a favorite for a trip to Comcast Center for the state semifinals and finals, the Howard County champs will have to come out of their 2A South region unscatched.

The Scorpions their journey towards Comcast Center with a dominant 73-45 win over eighth-seeded Gwynn Park on Thursday night, moving to 23-0 behind 15 points from Deshawn Willis.

Marvin Williams hit the first two shots of the game (both three pointers) for the Scorpions, who did not trail at any point in this regional quarterfinal victory.

Oakland Mills extended the top of their zone defense nearly to half court, forcing turnovers while challenging the Gwynn Park guards to drive. On the few occasions that the Yellow Jackets were able to get by Oakland Mills’ first line of defense, forwards Lavon Long and Dajuan Dent were ready and able to alter and swat away layup attempts.

Loyola signee Lavon Long  is leading Oakland Mills as they attempt to make a run at the 2A state title.

Loyola signee Lavon Long is leading Oakland Mills as they attempt to make a run at the 2A state title.

The Scorpions only allowed 20 points through three quarters and were able to force their up-tempo style of play upon the Yellow Jackets, who repeatedly tried to slow the pace to no avail.

Junior guard Marvin Williams provided the highlight of the night with a breakaway dunk, sending the capacity crowd into a frenzy and ending any hope Gwynn Park had for a comeback. The Yellow Jackets did not go down without a fight as they managed to score 25 points in the fourth quarter, 19 of which came from senior lead guard Jalen Harris (who did not start).

Oakland Mills will look to extend their season next Tuesday as they take on Largo in the 2A South regional semifinals. Randomly selected as the No. 13 seed, the Lions have won both of their opening games on the road–at No. 12 Marriotts Ridge in the regional quarterfinals and at No. 4 Central in the 1st round.

TOP SCORERS
OM- Willis 15, Dent 12, Williams 12, Long 11, Bradley 6, Reyna 6
GP- Harris 22, Bazil 9, Martin 6, Hines 4, Pegram 3

WHAT WE LEARNED

  • Lavon Long can do it all for Oakland Mills. The lefty forward can bring the ball up against the press, make crisp skip and outlet passes, as well as shooting the three or scoring from in the paint. Pair Long with Dent in the high-low game and the Scorpions have a deadly combination thanks to Dent’s midrange game. A Loyola (Md.) signee, Long is excellent against a zone defense, where he can drive or find open teammates from the high post.
  • Dajuan Dent originally struggled to see his 15 foot jumper fall but got back on track and finished with 12 points. Dent was a monster blocking shots, including a series where he smacked a lay-in attempt off the glass and trailed the fast break to tip in a missed layup for the Scorpions. One thing to watch with Dent is foul trouble, as he fouled out with 4:20 remaining in the fourth quarter in this one. Gwynn Park’s Ackhel Bazil (more on Bazil below) and Isaiah Martin could match up with Dent size-wise, which was a likely reason for his foul problems despite the fact that he got the best of the duo overall.
  • Jalen Harris had a courageous finish in a game that had been decided for over a quarter, coming up with 19 points in the fourth quarter. He was fouled with 5 seconds remaining and began cramping up but the senior limped to the line after a significant delay to take his final free throws. Harris did not start and appeared to be favoring one leg all night, leaving many shots short but still finishing with a game-high 22 points.
  • Ackhel Bazil was the only offense Gwynn Park had early, coming away with six first quarter points off of just putbacks, hitting the boards hard against Long and Dent. Bazil matched up well with Dent’s athleticism and provided a tough matchup down low due to his size and leaping ability. The senior has loads of raw talent but could not come up with regular baskets on the block that could have kept the Yellow Jackets close when they were struggling for offense.
  • Oakland Mills didn’t play a spotless game, going 8-for-14 from the foul line and turning the ball over regularly as they pushed the pace. Guards Nekhi Bradley and Marvin Williams can be great in transition but at times aren’t careful enough with the ball despite being a bit underrated at their positions. Bradley and Williams will be key components to the Scorpions winning a state title if they can continue to lighten the load on Dent and Long while taking advantage of and controlling fast break opportunities.

————-
Mike Wenig is a featured contributor for MDHoops.net



Thursday, February 28
Gwynn Park Tops McDonough 49-40 in 1st Round

DMVElite News

Gwynn Park Tops McDonough 49-40

By ERIK LARSON, DMV Elite Director of Scouting

BRANDYWINE, MD – McDonough (13-9) and Gwynn Park (12-10) entered the 2A South first round playoff game on Tuesday night with similar records and matched up well on the floor. Gwynn Park played the game without their leading scorer Jalen Harris who accounts for 18 points per game. It would take a full team effort to allow the Yellow Jackets to win this contest by the score 49-40.

The first half was dominated by McDonough’s point guard Marqel Austin (19 points), a 5’7 senior who was able to control the tempo of the game. He drove to the basket at will and finished with pull up jumpers and floaters over bigger players. He showed the ability to lead his team who was less talented and his ball handling made it difficult for Gwynn Park to pressure the ball. He performed as a one man fast break for most of the first half and was able to get his team out to a 26-20 lead.

The Yellow Jackets were able to turn the second half led by Ackhel Bazil who scored 8 points, but his effort was crucial for the win. Ackhel, a 6’5 senior forward, was the emotional leader and owned the paint on both ends of the floor. Either by blocking shots or rebounding (18 rebounds), he limited possessions for the Rams and provided the emotional boost Gwynn Park needed to pull away in the second half.

Other contributors for the Yellow Jackets included Cedric Hines (13 points), Rashawn Boyd (6 points, 15 rebounds) and Isaiah Martin (6 points). Hines, a 5’9 junior guard has 3 point range and was able to drive the paint and finish. Boyd, a 6’4 senior forward, rebounded well and defended very well. Martin, a 6’6 junior, showed he has a great shooting touch and the length to make a difference in the paint on defense.

Gwynn Park’s will line up at Oakland Mills on Thursday night in Columbia. Coach Michael Glick said he was unsure if Jalen Harris would return for the game.



Friday, February 15
Gwynn Park beats Friendly at the buzzer 65-64 in ot
Friday, February 15, 2013

Gwynn Park High School’s boys basketball team was already without leading scorer Jalen Harris against Friendly on Thursday, but after Ackhel Bazil fouled out at the end of regulation, the Yellow Jackets were also missing their top defensive player. So playing shorthanded made their thrilling overtime victory even sweeter.

With 3.6 seconds remaining in overtime, junior Cedric Hines took an inbounds pass, drove the length of the court, and converted a left-handed layup at the buzzer to give his team a 65-64 win over the Patriots. The victory extended Gwynn Park’s winning streak to four games as it heads into the playoffs.

“All I was thinking in my mind was, ‘Please make the layup.’ It’s unexplainable right now,” said Bazil, who watched the final moments from the sideline. “To watch my team without me and our leading scorer. They made me proud.”

Added Hines: “That was the biggest moment of my life.”

Trailing 62-60 in the final minute of overtime, Gwynn Park’s Xavier Duckworth dove to the floor for a loose ball and managed to slide a pass to Hines while on the ground, which led to a old-fashioned 3-point play.

On the next possession, Friendly’s Michael West hit a bank shot to give the Patriots a 64-63 lead with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick then called a timeout before setting up the Hines’ game-winner — a play the team had practiced more than 30 times over the last few practices.

“It was exactly how we drew it up,” Glick said.

The Patriots went ahead early, leading by 12 points in the second quarter. The Yellow Jackets, aided by Bazil’s defensive effort, slowly crept back into the game. He had four blocks, including a pair in the third quarter that helped swing the momentum in Gwynn Park’s favor. Bazil had 16 blocks in a win 68-44 win against Largo on Tuesday and averages nine per game.

Patriots guard Kevin Collins had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Terry Martin forced him to take a difficult shot. Martin was one of several role players to make significant contributions in the victory.

Harris, a senior, was out due to undisclosed reasons.

“We’re only as strong as our weakest link and once you kids start understanding that, you’ll be a championship team,” Glick told his team after the game.

Gwynn Park has grown accustomed to playing in close games. Before its four-game winning streak, the team suffered three consecutive losses by a combined six points.

“This game is typical of our league,” Glick said. “Our league has been a one or two point league all year long. It’s our third overtime game. Every game we play has been close.”

In addition to hitting the game-winner, Hines also made a pair of clutch free throws with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Hines and junior Mike Pegram led the team in scoring with 16 points, while Evan Joiner tallied 15.

“Right now, I feel like we’re a state championship team,” Bazil said. “We’re going to states. We’re going all the way.”

Gwynn Park 65, Friendly 64

Gwynn Park (10-8) 13 12 13 20 7 — 65

Friendly (11-11) 18 13 8 19 6 — 64

SCORING

Gwynn Park: Cedric Hines 16, Mike Pegram 16, Evan Joiner 15, Rashawn Boyd 8, Ackhel Bazil 5, John Wilburn 4, Anwar Mack 1.

Friendly: Kevin Collins 20, Michael West 17, Brandon Robinson 8, Michael Clarke 5, Alpha Kamara 5, Emmanuel Edmonds 5, Kevin Holston 2, Bryan Xymnis 2.



Monday, February 4
Dion Wiley shakes off shooting woes to lead Potomac over Gwynn Park in ot
Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 02/04/2013

Letters of Interest: Dion Wiley shakes off shooting woes to lead Potomac (Md.)

Potomac (Md.) junior Dion Wiley takes pride in his offensive versatility. With a potent long-range shot and deft touch around the basket to match, the 6-foot-4 guard has attracted scholarship offers from top college programs across the country.

Potomac’s Dion Wiley overcame a poor shooting night by being aggressive late in an overtime win over Gwynn Park. (Doug Kapustin - FOR THE WASHINGTON POST) But there came a point in the second half of Potomac (Md.)’s 58-55 overtime victory on Friday against Gwynn Park when Wiley concluded it was time to become more one-dimensional.

Wiley pushed through a poor shooting night with one explosive drive to the basket after another. He found a way to produce the offense the Wolverines needed to shake the pesky Yellow Jackets, scoring the game’s final four points from the free throw line in the last 20 seconds.

“My shot wasn’t falling, so I went to the hole and kept on attacking,” said Wiley, who finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and six steals. “I knew I needed to be aggressive.”

Gwynn Park nearly pulled the upset following a game plan tailored to frustrate high-scoring Potomac. The Yellow Jackets controlled the tempo with their disciplined play on the offensive end, forcing the home team to guard for long stretches. When the Wolverines finally got the ball, they were anxious and rushed shots.

Wiley, who now holds 10 scholarship offers, had trouble finding his rhythm in part because of Gwynn Park’s triangle-and-two defense. The Yellow Jackets sought to deny touches for Potomac’s top two scorers, Wiley and freshman Randall Broddie, and make the other players on the floor provide the offense.

Wiley converted just three field goals and was credited with only eight shot attempts because he was fouled so often trying to get to the rim. He finished 11 of 16 at the free throw line on a night the Panthers hit 31 of 38 as a team.

“That’s the hardest 18 points he’s ever going to score,” Potomac Coach Renard Johnson said. “I promise you that.”

Wiley said the performance helped highlight his improved ball-handling, an aspect of his game he has worked to strengthen.

Last summer, the guard emerged as one of the area’s most coveted recruits, boosting his stock playing with Team Takeover on the AAU circuit. On that squad, St. John’s junior Tre Campbell and Mount St. Joseph’s junior Phil Booth handled the point guard duties, setting up Wiley to showcase his scoring ability.

Though Broddie and senior Chris Winn are both more natural point guards, Wiley will often bring the ball up court for his high school team and initiate the offense.

The formula has worked well as Wiley has averaged 17.1 points per game, and Potomac (Md.) (14-2, 12-1) now hold a 2 1/2 game lead on Central (10-4, 9-3) for the top spot in the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A standings. The Wolverines are seeking their first league title since 2006.

“Some of the colleges looking at me thought I was just a shooter,” said Wiley. “They didn’t really know I could dribble and create plays for my teammates. When they see me doing that now [for Potomac], I think they’re impressed.”

Late last month, Wiley said Connecticut became the latest team to offer him a scholarship. The list also includes Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Villanova, Cincinnati and Miami.

Here are a few other highlights from a busy weekend in area high school sports:

• No. 12 St. John’s beat DeMatha, 60-58, on Friday, downing the Stags nearly 10 years to the day of their most recent win against their WCAC rivals. Junior Darian Anderson hit the game-winning jumper from the elbow with 1.6 seconds left. The last time the Cadets had defeated DeMatha was on Jan. 31, 2003. The weekend almost got even better for St. John’s as it just missed an upset of No. 3 Paul VI on Sunday, falling 55-53.

• Top-ranked Gonzaga added to DeMatha’s struggles with a 68-52 win on Sunday, closing out a regular season sweep of the Stags. All-Met Kris Jenkins led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds as the Eagles stayed unbeaten in WCAC play. With Paul VI’s win over O’Connell on Friday, Gonzaga is alone atop the conference standings, heading into Tuesday’s game against the Knights.

•No. 2 Theodore Roosevelt and No. 11 Oakland Mills are the last unbeaten teams left in The Post’s boys’ basketball Top 20 after Heritage took down Loudoun Valley on Friday, 77-70. Zach Coffman scored 32 points to spark the Pride’s upset.



Saturday, February 2
Potomac edges improving Gwynn Park in OT 58-55

Potomac edges improving Gwynn Park in OT

Ron Bailey, Publisher

 

Wolverines have to battle Yellow Jackets this time.

February 3, 2013 - Hoping to revenge their 12.20.12 home loss to Potomac, Gwynn Park strode into their PG 3A/2A/1A rival's gym last night with emotion and a solid game plan. Though they forced the game to an extra session, their goal would not be met, losing 58-55, before a packed gym.

"Our goal was to get them into a slow down game" revealed Gwynn Park's head coach, Mike Glick. "They are the most talented team in the league". He also noted during the team's first meeting, a 15 point defeat, Potomac used said talent to run up and down the floor, decidedly to their advantage.

Dion wiley picked up his overall play in the second half.

Last night, Glick employed that strategy in a counter-intuitive manner; down four points early in the fourth quarter, Glick actually held the ball for around 35 seconds, with his Potomac counterpart Renard Johnson eventually eschewing his zone defense and coming out to meet the spread out Yellow Jackets.

It's not common for a team down, to hold the ball, and for the team up, to respond by changing to a more pressure defense.

"We wanted to actually shorten the game" explained Glick, "We wanted less possessions", thereby reducing the touches - read chances to score - Potomac would have going forward. He was not concerned with reducing this own team's scoring opportunities.

Gwynn Park went on to force overtime, with emotion playing a key role; almost every 50-50 ball seemed to be gained by the Yellow Jackets.

Of the playoff atmosphere, the game's leading scorer, junior guard Dion Wiley noted "It was intense".

Wiley, who notched 18 points, though he did miss some crucial free throws down the stretch, saved his best for crunch time, manufacturing buckets out of Potomac's iso-centric attack. It was clear the Wolverines would ride on his shoulders.

Guard Randall Broddie scored 12 points, while going eighth of eight from the line, though he did force some shots late. Senior forward Romone Saunders finished with 11 points and double digit rebounds, while equaling his sophomore teammate's 8-8, free throw clip.

Senior forward Ackhel Bazil was a load down low for Gwynn Park, scoring 11 points and being credited with a whopping 21 boards. Junior guard Ced Hines led GP with 16 points, while class/position-mate Evan Joiner 13 points and seven caroms.

Up next for the Wolverines of Potomac (14-2 overall, 12-1 in league) is a January 5th trip to Largo. Gwynn Park, 8-10/6-8 and according to Glick "0-7 when tied or up with two minutes to go" welcome Fairmont Heights the same day. Both games are 7:15 tips.

"We are getting better" opined Glick of his team, a sentiment Potomac's Wiley conceded, saying "They are stronger (as a team) than last time".

The PG 3A/2A/1A heats up, as expected.

Recruiting Roundup:

Romone Saunders - A 6'3", 210 pound forward, Saunders is instrumental to Potomac's success - he rebounds, shoots, handles the ball against pressure (as a point forward) and finds people, all on a regular basis. Saunders makes it happen. Has reportedly dropped a double-double in every game.

Romone Saunders can do many things.

A solid student, Saunders presently has very little recruiting interest, though he's the type of player that with more work on his perimeter defense/lateral quickness, could transition nicely to a college three-man.

Ced Hines - A point guard that must more fully develop his left hand, Hines gets to the rim regardless, where he can finish - strong. Is very athletic and aggressive.

Is currently un-recruited, but a strong summer and continued good work with Gwynn Park could change that. Also has to demonstrate a consistent stop and pop jumer, to add to his finishing and floaters.



Thursday, January 3
Bazil moved from the Virgin Islands to pursue basketball scholarship
Gwynn Park senior goes from role player to leader

Bazil moved from the Virgin Islands to pursue basketball scholarship

There are hard workers, Gwynn Park High School boys basketball coach Michael Glick said, and then there is senior forward Ackhel Bazil.

The 6-foot-6 post player is here for a reason, though, and he plays like it.

Bazil uprooted himself two years ago, left his family in the Virgin Islands to come to the continental United States where he lives with his legal guardian, Sheniko Frett, in Brandywine, to pursue a basketball scholarship.

“That is what drives me to play every night, to be the best I can be. In the Virgin Islands, my opportunities were very limited. If I came [to the U.S.] I would have the opportunity to help my mom out, she would not have the money to send me to college. I could get a free education and then when I'm done, I would go back and help her, do what I can for my family,” Bazil said.

Glick said there is no doubt in his mind Bazil will earn a scholarship and attend college. Right now, he added, Bazil is focusing on the season and playing his basketball and the two will get to work on making college decisions in March.

Though Bazil quickly adjusted to his new surroundings in Maryland, he needed work on the hardwood, Glick said.

The Virgin Islands are U.S. territory but the style of basketball Bazil grew up playing in no way resembled American ball, he said.

The speed of Gwynn Park's game, the organization and offensive/defensive schemes, Bazil added, was a shock to his system.

But the raw talent was there, Glick said. And in just a year Bazil has gone from being a role player on last year's squad to a prominent post player in the paint this winter, one the Yellow Jackets (4-4), who didn't win the Class 2A South title last year for the first time in three years, have become reliant on.

“It's a totally different game. It was probably hard coming in, not being the best, being a role player. It's a much more up and down, racehorse type of game,” Glick said.

The 20th-year high school coach added that Bazil's experience playing with the Virgin Islands' U-18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship for Men in Brazil over the summer did wonders for his game and confidence.

Bazil is a more well-rounded player this year, Glick said. He has developed better court awareness and the ability to make quick decisions. Bazil said he also now understands the importance of playing strong defense, as well.

Two losses at the Montgomery County's Springbrook High's holiday tournament extended Gwynn Park's skid to four games after a 4-0 start to the season — Glick said only good can come of playing perennial powers such as Springbrook and defending 4A state champion Col. Zadok Magruder.

But Glick said in his time coaching basketball he has learned to look at the big picture, where the team will be in February.

The Yellow Jackets are still adjusting to the loss of seven of their top eight players from last year's team.

Senior leading scorer Jalen Harris (18.9 points per game) is still growing into his own new role as a standout player, Glick said.

Despite the recent losses, Harris and Bazil's dynamic has grown and will only get better.

“We play well together. [Harris] controls the outside and I can control the inside,” Bazil said.

Bazil averages 10.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. But in the past four games, as teams have applied more pressure on Harris, he's averaged 14.25 points, more than double his 6.25 average in the first four contests.

Though only in his second year with the program, Bazil was named a captain this year. Glick said his work ethic and drive immediately earned the respect of his peers.

“When you come from less, sometimes it makes you more motivated. [Bazil] is a kid who is focused and driven, that is his way to college. He has done a tremendous job and he is someone all the kids respect because of how hard he works,”



Saturday, December 29
Springbrook boys edge Gwynn Park 55-50
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Springbrook boys edge Gwynn Park 55-50

Take, for instance, the past week.

The Blue Devils beat defending Class 4A state champion Col. Zadok Magruder in overtime Dec. 21.

The Colonels defeated Gwynn Park by 21 points Thursday, on the first day of Springbrook's holiday tournament but Friday the Blue Devils worked hard for a 55-50 win over the Yellow Jackets.

“Every game is different. Just because [Magruder] beat [Gwynn Park] by 20 or so points ... it doesn't matter the amount of points, a win is a win. And Gwynn Park played a lot better [against us] than they did [Thursday],” Crowell said.

It's true.

Leading scorer Jalen Harris nearly tripled his point total and Gwynn Park (4-4) played at a higher intensity level throughout.

But Springbrook (7-1) was still the more consistent team through four quarters in what Crowell said was the Blue Devils' best overall performance this winter.

“Gwynn Park is a very athletic team, with good [defensive] pressure. I think we did a good job handling that,” Crowell added.

While teams certainly wanted to pick up wins and confidence over the two-day tournament, Crowell and Yellow Jackets coach Michael Glick both agreed their teams are still finding their way and the competition provided at Springbrook with four perennial state contenders — Thomas Stone was the fourth team — provided invaluable playing experience in out-of-league matches.

Tomazye Anderson and Andrew Robinson took control for Springbrook with 19 and 18 points respectively.

Gwynn Park had three players in double digit points: Harris (17), Ackhel Bazil (12) and Evan Joiner (11).

Springbrook led from the start and managed to keep its nose out in front the duration. But the Yellow Jackets were constantly in striking distance.

Springbrook led 12-9 after the first quarter and 26-22 at halftime. Just one point separated the teams in the second half.

“[Friday] we played much harder. When we play collectively as a team, we are as good as anyone. When we play individually and selfish, we can't win basketball games. [Friday] we did a good job, we had open looks and great passes but in the end they took it,” Bazil said.

jbeekman@gazette.net

Springbrook 55, Gwynn Park 50

Gwynn Park (4-4) 9 13 12 16 — 50

Springbrook (7-1) 12 14 14 15 — 55

Gwynn Park — Jalen Harris 17; Ackhel Bazil 12; Evan Joiner 11; Anwar Mack 2; Isaiah Martin 2; Terry Martin 2; Aaron Parker 2; John Wilburn 2.

Springbrook — Tomazye Anderson 19; Andrew Robinson 18; Nick Brewer 8; Isaiah Eisendorf 4; Jarod Mustaf 4; Dekon



Saturday, December 29
Colonels soar past Gwynn Park despite Epps not playing because of broken hand
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Magruder's point guard to be out a month

The out-of-county matchup against Gwynn Park at the Springbrook High School Holiday Tournament was the Colonels' first since losing in overtime to the Blue Devils and first without arguably Montgomery County's best point guard, JJ Epps.

Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick said the Yellow Jackets planned to pressure Magruder with its leading defensive player, Epps on the sidelines, his right arm casted and in a sling — Epps broke his hand in the Springbrook loss and will likely be out until Feb. 1, Magruder coach Dan Harwood said.

Instead Magruder did all the pressuring in a 61-40 victory.

When the Colonels (6-1) need a bail out, Harwood said, Epps is the guy to make that happen. He gets into the lane and creates a play for himself almost every time. But Magruder is an excellent passing team and its ability to move the ball around the court became even more important Thursday.

Matt Ricketts took over as floor general and led the team well, Harwood said.

“No one plays with as much heart as he does, he is the leader of our team,” Harwood said. “Matt Ricketts, I would have to say, is probably the second best point guard in the county. He is usually off the ball [for us] but he is comfortable on the ball and he played well for us.”

Magruder typically implements a man-to-man defensive scheme, propelled by quick-footed and scrappy Epps. Thursday it was the Colonel's match-up zone that made Gwynn Park the Colonels' second-lowest scoring opponent — only Northwood scored less (34 points).

“We didn't really plan on playing it that much [Thursday] but it was working so well so we stuck with it in the second half,” Harwood said.

Magruder virtually eliminated Yellow Jackets leading scorer Jalen Harris (19.1 points per game) from Thursday's contest, which was Gwynn Park's (4-3) worst offensive outing.

Ackhel Bazil's game-high 21 points were well above his 9.1 points-per-game average but it wasn't enough.

“Magruder did an excellent job moving the ball and hitting open shots and we just really struggled to score against their zone. That was the biggest difference, we could not score against their zone,” Glick said.

It took about eight minutes — Magruder scored just 10 points in the first quarter — for the Colonels to adjust to their new dynamic. But after a 10-4 first quarter, they took control on both sides of the ball.

Nick Griffin, Magruder's all-time leading scorer, netted five 3-point shots to pace the Colonels with 20 points.

Usual sixth-man Danny Schaerr (14) also came up with some big baskets for Magruder.

The Colonels doubled their scoring in the second quarter to take a 30-16, halftime lead. They never led by less than 14 points the remainder of the evening.

“We tried to pressure [Magruder] with JJ out...Magruder is a hard team to play from behind,” Glick said.

jbeekman@gazette.net

Magruder 61, Gwynn Park 40

Gwynn Park (4-3) 4 12 8 16 — 40

Magruder (6-1) 10 20 16 15 — 61

Gwynn Park — Ackhel Bazil 21; Evan Joiner 8; Jalen Harris 6; Aaron Parker 3; Cedric Hines 2.

Magruder — Nick Griffin 20; Danny Schaerr 14; Justin Witmer 13; Brian Coleman 5; Josiah Jones 5; Tyril Jackson 2; Matt Ricketts 2.



Thursday, December 27
Boys basketball coaching competition fierce in county
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Boys basketball coaching competition fierce in county

There’s a rivalry brewing in the Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A boys basketball league.

Multiple rivalries, actually. Between grizzled veterans and wily young newcomers. Between tactical geniuses and calm and composed entities. Between up tempo lovers and defensive specialists.

No, those aren’t the dozens of talented athletes who play for the division’s schools. It’s the coaches.

In a season that already figured to be extremely competitive among the boys basketball teams in the 3A/2A/1A league, the addition of Billy Lanier and the return of Steve Matthews pushed the coaching experience and prowess to an unprecedented level for the 2012-13 season.

“The coaching in this league is ridiculous,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick.

And he’s right. Glick, who is in his seventh year at Gwynn Park after coaching for two decades prior, took over the Yellow Jackets from Matthews and has molded them into a consistent powerhouse.

Matthews is back into coaching after a six-year break and is hoping to transform Crossland in much the same way he did at Gwynn Park.

Lanier shifted from Charles H. Flowers to Friendly, which had a losing season last year, for personal reasons. He also is hoping to create a second dynasty on the heels of the remarkable program he led with Oxon Hill that won state titles in 2000 and 2003.

“You’ve got some of the older coaches who’ve been around for a long time back in it now,” Lanier said. “You’re going to have to coach every night.”

Then there’s Lewis Howard at Largo. He won a state title in 2008, reached the title game last year and is coaching the Lions for his 13th season. Throw in Tyrone Massenburg at Frederick Douglass, who is the president of the newly rejuvenated Prince George’s County Basketball Coaches’ Association, and Lawrence Pugh, who has Central turning many heads early in his third season with the Falcons, and it’s clear the competition is fierce.

“The games, night-in and night-out, [and] the coaching matchups will be very interesting,” said Massenburg, whose team is 3-2 and knocked off Gwynn Park in overtime last week. “I know the style of play and I know the coaches in our league have a lot of respect for it. I know our teams will be prepared and very seldom will they have nights where they don’t play up to their potential.”

Along with that institutional wherewithal are a couple of talented newcomers in second-year coach Renard Johnson, who has transformed Potomac, and Demario Newman at Surrattsville. Newman expected to have a down year after transitioning from being a dominant head coach on the girls’ side, but has started the season strong.

The only two programs that currently are struggling to gain momentum are Fairmont Heights and Forestville Military Academy. Both were winless as of publication.

The beauty of the year, however, is that the parity in the league remains remarkably high.

Schools — excluding Fairmont Heights and Forestville — have combined for 27 wins in 43 games and a large majority of the losses have come from beating each other.

“This is a tough league. It’s a very tough league. It’s a competitive, competitive league,” said Howard, whose team is 3-2 with losses to Surrattsville and Central. “You’ve got teams that are getting better and better. These consistent teams stay consistent and then other teams are climbing up the ladder and becoming better basketball teams.”

ncammarota@gazette.net



Friday, December 28
Magruder Rolls Past Gwynn Park 61-40

No Epps — No Problem Magruder Downs Gwynn Park 61-40 in Springbrook’s Holiday Tournament

2 days ago by in ( Capitol Hoops Video , High School , Top Stories )

With senior guard JJ Epps missing his first of many games the Magruder Colonels looked stellar without their do-everything point guard.

Now playing the point is senior Matt Ricketts, a rotation player on Magruder's state championship team last year and a starter all season this year, Ricketts stepped in and had 13 assists.

Epps' scoring was replaced by junior forward Danny Schaerr, a junior who hadn't even been in the rotation prior to Thursday. Schaerr emerged as a piece that Magruder will most definitely cherish as the season progresses and playoff time comes around. He finished with 14 points, more then double his point total on the season coming in to Thurday's game. He connected on three 3-balls, and finished with 14 points and six rebounds while shooting 5-7 from the field.

Nick Griffin and Justin Witmer were up to their old tricks scoring 20 and 13 respectively. Griffin was 5-5 on three point field goals. He also added 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. Witmer added three rebounds, three assists, and a block to go along with his 13 points. Forward Brian Coleman continued his rock steady play in the paint going for 5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.

Gwynn Park of PG County was led by 6'6" senior Ackhel Bazil. Bazil scored a game high 23 points. Playing in his first career varsity game for Gwynn Park today was freshman Aaron Parker. Yellow Jackets coach Mike Glick is very excited about Parker and his promise for the future. While Parker seemed a little hesitant to shoot you could tell he will be a super player in a couple years. He showed phenomenal basketball instincts, the ability to push it up a gear and uncanny court vision. He projects to be a true point and we look forward to watching him develop over the next couple years.

Tomorrow Magruder will play Thomas Stone at 7PM and Gwynn Park will play host Springbrook at 5PM.



Friday, November 30
2012-13 Preview

Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets

Coach: Michael Glick, 7th year

Last season's record: 19-6

Returning starters: One

Last state tournament appearance: 2011

As was the case last year, Gwynn Park is losing nearly every member of a team that had supreme success the season before. Guard Jalen Harris (2011-12's leading scorer with 16 points per game) is the only one of eight Yellow Jackets coming back who received significant minutes. But the future is bright. A guard trio of Evan Joiner, Anwar Mack and Mike Pegram all are being called up from a junior varsity squad that went 35-1 against county opponents in the last two seasons. Junior forward Isaiah Martin and power forward Ackhel Bazil (both 6-foot-6) should again help make Gwynn Park one of the taller teams in the area. “We feel confident every year because we feel like we have a program where we have a lot of depth,” said coach Mike Glick.

— Nick Cammarota



Friday, March 2
Douglass stuns top-seeded Gwynn Park
Douglass stuns top-seeded Gwynn Park

Eagles advance to 2A South final on buzzer-beater; Largo wins, Friendly and Surrattsville lose in regional playoffs

To say that the Frederick Douglass High School boys basketball team has been off the radar this season would be an understatement. The Eagles were 9-13 during the regular season, including a 6-12 mark in the Prince George's County 3A/21/1A League.

None of that matters anymore.

On Thursday night in a 2A South Region semifinal game, Douglass stunned top-seeded Gwynn Park as Mike Cunningham hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 53-52 victory.

Douglass will visit Largo at 2 p.m. Saturday in the region final.

Trailing 52-50, Douglass took a time out to set up a play with four seconds remaining in the game.

"I told them we're good," said Eagles' coach Tyrone Massenburg. "The energy that we had, the way we were playing, I felt confident that we would make a play. I wouldn't predict a win, but I felt like we were going to do something good.

"I didn't think [Gwynn Park] would play us as tight, they didn't want to foul ... we got a big shot from Mike Cunningham that won the game for us."

JaSahn Johnson led Douglass with 17 points, hitting 9 of 11 at the foul line. As a team, the Eagles were 16 of 19 at the line, while Gwynn Park was 9 of 11. Cunningham had 13 points and Jeffrey Calhoun and Montez Lee each had 10. Xavier Richards had 13 points and Ageyi Gregory added 11 for Gwynn Park (19-6).

Calhoun, the Eagles' starting point guard, suffered a broken hand during the fourth game of the season, an 81-66 loss to Gwynn Park. He returned the lineup last week.

"Since he's been back, we haven't lost a game," Massenburg said. "He's elevated everyone else's game and all the pieces are falling in place for us."

Douglass lost both of its regular season games against Largo, 73-54 in the season opener on Dec. 6 and 76-56 on Jan. 20.

"They're a great team," Massenburg said of Largo. "[The Lions] and Gwynn Park are two of the top teams in the county, so we got our hands full."



Thursday, March 1
Gwynn Park tops Flowers in county title game
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Basketball notebook, Feb. 29

Greg Dohler/The Gazette Gwynn Park High School's Marcel Boyd (center) and Eric Batts (left) celebrate winning the county championship trophy after defeating Charles H. Flowers last week. The Yellow Jackets might face a familiar foe for the 2A South Region crown on Saturday, Largo.

by James Peters and Dan Feldman

Staff WritersThe Prince George’s County championship game is suppose to decide who’s the best boys basketball team in Prince George’s County. But the answer to that question may not be known until Saturday, if ever.

Gwynn Park defeated Charles H. Flowers in the county title game on Feb. 22. But Largo — which split the County 3A/2A/1A League title and two regular-season games with Gwynn Park but lost a coin toss to determine the league representative in the title game — could make a case.

Did Gwynn Park’s 57-51 win against Flowers prove it was the county’s top team?

“No, no,” Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick said emphatically. “I think that Largo could’ve very, very easily been right here and done the same exact thing.”

Largo, in fact, was at the contest and introduced as a league co-champion before Gwynn Park and Flowers were introduced.

“I really have no feeling toward it one way or the other,” Largo coach Lew Howard said. “If the coin toss had went the other way, we’d be playing in the game and would have prepared for them. It wasn’t. It’s no big deal. Our ultimate goal is to compete in the regional tournament and to hopefully to represent Prince George’s County at the Maryland state playoffs.”

Provided they both win Thursday’s region semifinal games, Gwynn Park and Largo could meet for the 2A South Region championship on Saturday. Then, fans might really know which was the best team in the county this year.

dfeldman@gazette.net; jpeters@gazette.net



Thursday, February 23
Prince George’s County basketball: Gwynn Park beats C.H. Flowers for boys’ title

Prince George’s County basketball: Gwynn Park beats C.H. Flowers for boys’ title; Wise wins girls’ crown over Gwynn Park

There was nothing special about Gwynn Park guard Agyei Gregory’s pregame routine on Wednesday. But when he took the court against No. 17 C.H. Flowers for the Prince George’s County boys’ basketball championship at Wise, his night turned extraordinary.

The senior, who came to the Brandywine school from his native U.S. Virgin Islands for his final year of high school, hit all six of his three-point attempts to power the No. 20 Yellow Jackets past the Jaguars, 57-51, and to their first county title since 2006.

“This was a game that I had to feel it,” said Gregory, who had a game-high 22 points.

Gwynn Park (18-5) was the co-champion of the Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A league. It was playing in the county title game because it had won a tiebreaking coin toss with No. 18 Largo; many Lions players and coaches were watching from the stands.

While Gwynn Park senior Marcel Boyd (13 points and 12 rebounds) was a vital presence under the basket, Gregory was automatic from beyond the arc. He only missed two field goals and a free throw.

When the Jaguars (16-5), led by junior guard Dontae Holloway (12 points), cut a six-point halftime deficit to 51-49 with 2 minutes 43 seconds left, Gwynn Park senior forward Xavier Richards had two crucial layups and Gregory nabbed three important fourth-quarter rebounds.

“It was a big game and coach said to shoot the ball, so I shot the ball,” Gregory said.

Wise shows its depth

As usual for the eighth-ranked Wise girls’ team, standout senior guard Eliqua Brooks and Khadijah Gibson shined.

They carried the offensive load in the girls’ county championship: The duo combined for 46 points and 15 rebounds as the Pumas won, 79-57, over Gwynn Park.

It is Wise’s second county title in three years.

But Wise’s supporting cast played an important role in the win. Freshman center Ciara Lee played assertively under the basket — she had 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Senior guard Candace Ross played well on the perimeter and finished with 16 points.

To make another deep run in the playoffs, the supporting cast will be crucial factors for last year’s Maryland 4A finalists, players said.

“They’ve always been important,” said Brooks, who scored a game-high 24 points. “Candace, we call her the X-factor. . . . We’re going to need everyone on the bench and the starting five to work as a team.

Added Gibson (22 points): “I think that was great. I think that’s exactly what we need. We need all five people.”

Wise (21-1) held a 36-29 halftime lead on Gwynn Park before it began to pull away in the third quarter.

The Yellow Jackets (20-3) were led by senior forward Tiana Hall (14 points).



Thursday, February 23
Win avenges Gwynn Park's 2010 setback
Win avenges Gwynn Park's 2010 setback

Boyd, Gregory and Richards lead Yellow Jackets past Flowers in county championship game

Just before riding to Henry A. Wise High School for the Prince George's County championship game Wednesday, the Gwynn Park boys basketball team watched the fourth quarter of 2010 county title game.

Crowded into coach Michael Glick's classroom, the players saw the previous edition of the team blow a 13-point lead in a little more than the final two minutes. They saw Oxon Hill make a shot at the buzzer to win. They saw the tears flow on the sideline afterward.

Still motivated a few hours later by the video that Glick never showed even that 2010 team, the Yellow Jackets beat Charles H. Flowers for the 2012 Prince George's County championship, 57-51. Gwynn Park led by eight early in the fourth quarter, but unlike 2010, it surged to victory after a 46-46 tie midway through the period.

“I wanted to win this so bad,” said Marcel Boyd, the only current Yellow Jacket to play in that 2010 game. “At the end of the game, when they started coming back a little bit, I thought in my head about the sophomore loss at the last second and thought, ‘No, I can't. I can't let my team go down like this.' So I stepped up. I motivated my teammates. I said, ‘C'mon, we're not going to lose this game.'”

Boyd's contributions were more than just intangible. The 6-foot-9 Howard University recruit had 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.

“Marcel Boyd was the difference in the game,” said Glick, whose team split the County 3A/2A/1A League title with Largo and won a coin flip to reach Wednesday's contest. “I thought he was a commanding presence inside.”

After Glick said that, he was reminded of Agyei Gregory, who had 22 points and eight rebounds.

“I guess I should give Agyei Gregory some credit,” Glick said laughing. “Agyei Gregory, I couldn't be prouder of him. He shot the ball so well, and he's really coming into his own.”

The senior guard didn't play as much earlier in the season as he learned to deal with physicality, but now a starter, he made six 3-pointers.

“Agyei is awesome,” Boyd said when asked about Gregory's outside shooting. “It freed me inside, so I could do my inside work.”

If Gregory enabled Boyd's offense, Xavier Richards did the same defensively. The senior guard helped protect the rim with three blocks and funneled his own man toward the long arms of Boyd.

“Xavier's a beast,” Boyd said. “He's a man-child. This kid is super athletic.”

Richards scored Gwynn Park's last two baskets and three of its final four, including a turnaround layup while falling.

“Anything he does [never] ceases to amaze me,” Glick said. “He's an unbelievable athlete. He makes shots that I just can't imagine how the go in.”

Richards' late defense might have been even more incredible.

On Flowers' final possession, Richards blocked a 3-pointer, and when he thought the ball went out of bounds, he celebrated momentarily before collapsing inside and getting a steal.

“I just go for the ball all the time,” said Richards, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. “That's all I see right there when it comes down to the last seconds of the game.”

For all Richards' late heroics and Gregory's game-long shot-making, Glick kept going back to Boyd. At the end of the first quarter, Boyd had the ball well beyond the 3-point arc as part of a designed play. But instead of kicking to a guard, as the play prescribed, Boyd turned around and made his first 3-pointer of the season — which Glick deemed the game's best play.

“I guess he figured he was the 3-point shooter,” Glick said.

And why not? After the heartbreaking loss two years ago, Boyd redefined his legacy in the county championship contest Wednesday. Couldn't he redefine his game, too?

After the victory, the Gwynn Park players passed around their new trophy like they passed around compliments.

But, perhaps, the highest praise came from their opponent.

“We played a good basketball team — and definitely not a 2A/3A team,” said Flowers coach Billy Lanier, whose team won the County 4A League to reach the game. “It looked like a 4A team.

dfeldman@gazette.net

Gwynn Park 57, Flowers 51

Gwynn Park 14 15 15 13 — 57

Flowers 14 9 15 13 — 51

Gwynn Park (18-5): Agyei Gregory 22, Marcel Boyd 13, Xavier Richards 12, Jalen Harris 4, Jarvis Hawkins 2, Robert Flint 2, Achkel Bazil 2.

Flowers (16-5): Dontae Holloway 12, Brandon Green 11, David Barnes 10, Reggie Sidbury 8, Clint Robinson 4, Darret Gorham 2, Kofi Andoh 2, Malik Harris 2.



Thursday, February 23
Gwynn Park Wins PG Title For First Time Under Glick

DMVElite News

Gwynn Park Wins PG Title

By MARCUS HELTON

UPPER MARLBORO – Agyei Gregory came to Gwynn Park High School from the Virgin Islands for his senior season and faced a different climate, a new school and a sea of unfamiliar faces.

He seemed right at home draining 3-pointers against C.H. Flowers in Wednesday’s Prince George’s County championship game though, going a perfect 6-for-6 from long range to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 57-51 victory at Wise High School.

“I was feeling great,” said Gregory, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “This was a new thing for me; I’m from the Virgin Islands and this is all new to me coming up here and playing in the County championship, so I was ready. I heard about it all week during school and I was ready.”

Howard-bound senior center Marcel Boyd scored 13 points and grabbed 123 rebounds for Gwynn Park, while senior forward Xavier Richards added 12 points.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Junior guard Donte Holloway made four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 12 points for Flowers, while junior guard Brandon Green had 11 and senior guard David Barnes 10.

The 6-foot-3 Gregory – a native of St. Thomas – had shown the ability to make perimeter shots since he arrived in Maryland, and had hit four in a game twice this season. He made his debut as a starter on Senior Night against Largo on Feb. 13, and Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick said he’s likely to stay there.

“He has a really, really good skillset,” Glick said, “but he’s not a physical kid, so he wasn’t used to the style of play in Prince George’s County and the physicality of the league. So it took him time to adjust, and he adjusted very well. He is what he is – he’s a 3-point shooter – but he made some other really, really good plays, too. I wish he was a junior, but I think he’s adjusted.”

The annual Prince George’s County title game matches the winners of Prince George’s County’s 4A league against its 3A/2A/1A winner. The Yellow Jackets (18-5) tied with Largo for the county 3A/2A/1A league title, and got their spot in Wednesday’s game by virtue of a coin flip. Largo was in attendance, and was recognized before the game as county co-champion.

The whole coin-flip scenario served as motivation, Boyd said.

“We wanted it more,” he said. “We came in today and we wanted it more. We were tired of people saying, ‘Oh, y’all tied with Largo, y’all not the true 3A/2A/1A champions.’ So we were coming out here to prove that we deserved it.”

Boyd had some extra motivation, as well. He is the only member of this year’s team to previously play in a county title game, when Gwynn Park blew a late 13-point lead to Oxon Hill and lost at the buzzer two years ago at Wise.

Glick said he showed his team the tape of that game in his classroom just before they left to come to Wise on Wednesday.

“That team actually advanced and went to the state finals,” Glick said, “but we tried to show our guys that you’ve got to have to be able to close games out. We showed our guys crying on the sidelines and we told them that you only have one opportunity and this is your opportunity. I thought they seized the moment.”

Both teams already have byes in their respective regional brackets. The Yellow Jackets will face the winner of Glenelg and McDonough in 2A South action next week, while the Jaguars (16-5) get either Suitland or High Point in the 4A bracket. [In each class, the winners of the four respective regions meet at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center for the state semifinals].

Earlier in the night, the Wise girls beat Gwynn Park behind 24 points from senior Eliqua Brooks and 22 from senior Khadijah Gibson. Senior Candace Ross had 16 for the Pumas (21-1) and freshman Ciara Lee finished with 15. Senior Tiana Hall led the Yellow Jackets (20-3) with 14 points, while sophomore Tashina Cardwell had 13 and junior Genesis Lucas added 10.

The Wise girls face either Eleanor Roosevelt or Northwestern next week in the 4A South bracket, while the Gwynn Park girls host the winner of Douglass and Central in 2A South action.

The boys' game was even from the start, with Flowers holding the early edge until Boyd banked in a 3 from near halfcourt to make it 14-14 after one quarter. It was the 6-foot-9 center’s first 3-pointer of the season, and Glick said it was a “game-altering Shot” because it allowed Gwynn Park to some out in a zone defense to start the second quarter since they weren’t trailing.

“That was a huge shot for us,” he said. “That was the play – well actually, he was supposed to kick it out to the 3-point shooter [Gregory or Jalen Harris], but I guess he figured he was the 3-point shooter.”

The Yellow Jackets led 29-23 at halftime and 44-38 after three quarters. They led by as many as eight points in the second half, but the Jaguars twice rallied to cut it to two.

Flowers’ Reggie Sidbury made a 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining in the game to cut the Gwynn Park lead to 51-49, but Richards answered with an acrobatic lay-up on the ensuing possession. A Green lay-in made it 53-51 GP wit 1:41 to go, but the Jaguars never got any closer.

“When we made our run, I don’t think we had enough energy to get over the top,” Flowers coach Billy Lanier said. “We had expended so much energy to get back from eight down, and then I think our guys didn’t have enough energy to take it over the top.”

Lanier said his team didn’t do a good enough job of finding Gwynn Park’s shooters on the perimeter – particularly Gregory – and making them drive the ball. Still, he said he was proud of his team’s effort and feel good about its chances in the regional playoffs.

“You want to be playing well, and I thought we played well,” he said. “Do I think we can play better? Yeah, I think we could have played better. But I thought we’ve been playing well the last couple weeks, and going into the playoffs we want to continue to play well. So, I’m pleased where we are. Of course, we need to go back to the table and make sure we clean up some things – and we will do that – and I think we’ll be fine.”

GWYNN PARK
Agyei Gregory 22, Marcel Boyd 13, Xavier Richards 12, Jalen Harris 4, Jarvis Hawkins 2, Alex Bazil 2, Robert Flint 2.

C.H. FLOWERS
Donte Holloway 12, Brandon Green 11, David Barnes 10, Reggie Sidbury 8, Clint Robinson 4, Kofi Andoh 2, Darrett Gorham 2, Malik Harris 2.
Gwynn Park 14 15 15 13 – 57
C.H. Flowers 14 9 15 13 – 51
3-point goals: GP 8 (Gregory 6, Boyd 1, Harris 1) F 9 (Holloway 4, Barnes 2, Sidbury 2, Green 1). Total Fouls: GP 9, F 17. Fouled Out- None.

TOP: Gwynn Park players pose with the Prince George's County Championship trophy. RIGHT: Gwynn Park senior guard Robert Flint puts up a shot over Flowers junior guard Brandon Green. BOTTOM: The Yellow Jackets celebrate their title. - Photos by Marcus Helton, DMV Elite.



Thursday, February 23
Gwynn Park Defeats Flowers, Wins County Championship

Gwynn Park Defeats Flowers, Wins County Championship

by: Kevin Green 2/23/2012

It was apparent from his first shot of the game that Agyei Gregory had his shooting stroke working Wednesday.

After he made his first 3-pointer of the night, the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands native would attempt five more over the course of the game. Each of his subsequent shots from downtown swished through the net just as smoothly as his first.

The Gwynn Park boys’ basketball team rode the impeccable three-point shooting of its senior sniper en route to claiming the Prince George’s County championship, defeating Charles H. Flowers 57-51. Gwynn Park’s title is the second in program history and the first at the school for head coach Mike Glick, who had taken the Yellow Jackets to two other county championships, each ending in defeat.

Gregory led all scorers in the contest with 22 points, including shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from beyond the 3-point arc. Late in the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets (18-5) threatened to pull away from Flowers for good with an 11-3 scoring run which included the last two of Gregory’s six threes, each coming on passes from Marcel Boyd, who himself had been commanding more attention in the post. The run increased Gwynn Park’s lead to 44-33. Gregory would also add eight rebounds and two assists in his efforts.

“He’s always shot the ball well and this is the best he’s shot the ball this season, and he stepped up at a crucial time,” Glick said.

“After [Gregory] shot the ball a couple of times we didn’t do a good job of identifying him and closing down and making him put the ball on the floor,” Flowers coach Billy Lanier said.

The presence of Boyd in the low post also paid dividends for Gwynn Park. The Howard-bound senior notched another double-double, scoring 13 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, blocking three shots, and challenging several other shots. His ability as an offensive threat helped open up opportunities for his teammates, including both Gregory and Xavier Richards, who also posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“When you have a 6-8 kid like that who can score it makes it a whole lot easier for the guards,” Lanier said.

Three of Boyd’s 13 points came in an unusual circumstance at the end of the first quarter. On an inbounds play, he banked in his first three of the season on a buzzer-beating half-court shot after not finding any teammates open to pass to.

Perhaps Boyd’s most impactful play of the night came late in the fourth quarter, with the Yellow Jackets leading 48-46. As he had done several other times in the game, he received a pass in the low post with the Jaguars’ Darret Gorham guarding him. Boyd got past Gorham with a post move and scored on a layup while getting fouled. He would convert on the three-point play and give Gwynn Park a five-point lead which it would not relinquish.

“Marcel is really developing as a player and I thought tonight he was very assertive offensively,” Glick said. “His presence inside was the difference in the game.”

Despite falling behind by 11 late in the third quarter, Flowers (16-5) battled back to tie the score with a 13-2 run in the fourth quarter due to forcing turnovers and clutch shooting, but Boyd’s presence in the middle of Gwynn Park’s 2-3 zone defense forced the Jaguars to settle for 23 3-pointers, of which they made nine. Junior guard Dontae Holloway led the Jaguars with 12 points on four-of-eight shooting from behind the arc.

“We got good looks the whole game,” Lanier said. “We had a couple of rim-outs and bad luck, and shots just didn’t go down tonight. We have to do a better job of getting easier opportunities on offensive rebounds and we didn’t do that.”

Gwynn Park’s switch to the 2-3 zone was unusual for a team that mainly plays man-to-man, but because Glick knew that Flowers attacks the basket often, he wanted to get the Jaguars out of their comfort zone with the defensive change. Lanier credited Boyd with clogging the lane and making it difficult for his team.

Because both teams won their own leagues and hold top seeds in their respective regional tournaments, the teams will next take the court Tuesday and await the results of Friday’s first-round action. Despite losing the county championship, Lanier can now focus his team on many goals that still lie ahead of the Jaguars.

“At the end of the day, our goal was to win our league, and we did,” Lanier said. “And then play in the regional and hopefully be successful. Our goals are still in front of us.”



Thursday, February 23
Gwynn Park Captures 2012 P.G. County Championship with 57-51 Victory Over Flowers
Gwynn Park Captures 2012 P.G. County Championship with 57-51 Victory Over Flowers21 hours ago by Marc Stern in ( Capitol Hoops Video , High School , Top Stories )

Gwynn Park senior Agyei Gregory saved one of the best games of his high school career for one of the Yellow Jackets biggest games of the season. The 6'3' shooting guard connected on all six of his three point attempts in leading Gwynn Park to the 2012 P.G. County Championship game in front of a packed house at Wise High School in Upper Marlboro.

The victory marked the first P.G. County championship for the Yellow Jackets since 2006. That was the year before Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick took the helm for the Brandywine school. Glick was elated to win his first PG County chip. He and his Yellow Jackets have become regulars at the Maryland State tournament's finals at the Comcast Center but this was something different. This victory reassured Gwynn Park that they have bragging right's as the best of the best in PG County. The craziest thing about the victory is that Gwynn Park was so close to not even playing in the game. The Yellow Jackets had identical records with Largo, and they elected to flip a coin to see who would represent the 3A/2A/1A side of the bracket versus C.H. Flowers, the winner of the 4A side of the PG bracket. Gwynn Park won the coin toss and the rest is now history.

Agyei Gregory would make the game's first basket, a three pointer right in front of the Flowers bench 1:16 in to the game. He wouldn't cool down. He was hitting everything and Flowers was unable to stop him. Flowers would connect on nine 3-balls in the game themselves, but almost all of them were why trailing. Gwynn Park led for almost the entire game, however the game was very close. In fact three of the four quarters saw both teams score the same amount of points. It was the second quarter when Gwynn Park outscored Flowers by six points and they would hold on to that lead for the majority of the duration. The Yellow Jackets got big performances from many other players in this game. 6'8' center Marcel Boyd double doubled going for 13 points and 12 boards. Xavier Richards showed why he is arguably the most athletic player in PG county, scoring 12 points and making a few acrobatic shots to preserve the Gwynn Park lead. Yellow Jacket sharp-shooter Jalen Harris who entered the championship game with 46 three's on the season, had a quiet night going for four points. But he hit a huge three late in the game to end a late Flowers surge. Robert Flint and Jarvis Hawkins did a phenomenal job breaking the vaunted Flowers press.

Flowers had a balanced attack. They had four players score between 8 and 12 points. They were led by Dontae Holloway's 12 points which came on four triples. Senior David Barnes played a terrific game for Flowers. He was often at the top of the Yellow Jackets zone defense reversing the ball and patiently waiting for opportunities to slither in the lane, find his shot, and distribute to players who found holes in the Gwynn Park zone. It was a four point game with a minute to go but Flowers couldn't get a shot to drop, and Gwynn Park began to tack on late points from the stripe. The final score was 57-51 Gwynn Park.

Both teams now turn their attention to the Maryland State Tournament. Gwynn Park earned the #1 seed in the 2A South. They have a first round bye and then host the winner of Glenelg and McDonough next Tuesday night . It appears that Gwynn Park has a fairly easy road to the 2A South championship when they will potentially host Largo. Largo and Gwynn Park split a pair of games in the regular season. Flowers will be the #1 seed in the 4A South. They too, have a first round bye. They may have a tough test on their hands in the second round with a Suitland led Roddy Peters squad. They will then potentially host Wise in the regional semi-finals. If they can win those games they could potentially play Eleanor Roosevelt for the 4A South Regional championship with a trip to the Comcast Center on the line. Flowers and Roosevelt met last year for the regional chip and Roosevelt came out victorious.



Thursday, February 23
2011-2012 Prince George's County Boys and Girl's Basketball Championships

Challenge to the Championship

2011-2012 Prince George's County Boys and Girl's Basketball Championships

In the Boy's Championship Game it was Gwynn Park that had the size advantage; not the whole team but one player Marcel Boyd: Boyd is 6' 9" and his 13 points did not reflect his true impact on the game. He drew attention while Gwynn Park was on offense and C.H. Flowers had to be cognizant of his shot blocking when they were on offense. Gwynn Park seemed to be pulling away from Wise late in the 4th Quarter but as characteristic for this year's team they let their opponent back in the game.

Gwynn Park has held substantial leads in games this season only to end up in tight games or even end up losing games. Robert Flint hit two clutch free throws with under 30 seconds to go to ensure that Gwynn Park came up a victor in this game.

Gwynn Park is a perennial 2A State title contender so Flowers should not be overly concerned with their 57- 51 loss. Still, there were lessons to be learned for them and Gwynn Park too if they envision capturing State Title in their respective classifications.




Tuesday, February 21
Three schools to battle for two county titles/ PG Co Rankings
Three schools to battle for two county titles

Wise, Flowers and Gwynn Park square off for Prince George’s basketball championship

 In the second game, the Charles H. Flowers and Gwynn Park boys teams meet.

Gwynn Park (17-5) shared the County 3A/2A/1A League title with Largo, but won a coin flip to advance to this game. Flowers (16-4) is the County 4A League champion.

Junior Brandon Green leads the Jaguars with 13.6 points per game. Flowers has won 12 of its past 13 games.

Jalen Harris leads the Yellow Jackets with 14.7 points per game. Gwynn Park has won 13 of its past 14 games.

2A South

No. 1 seed Gwynn Park (17-5) and No. 2 seed Largo (18-4) both earned first-round byes. They Prince George's County 3A/2A/1A League rivals split their two regular season games against each other and shared the league title.

Gwynn Park is scheduled to play Prince George's 4A League champion Flowers on Wednesday in the county championship game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Henry A. Wise High in Upper Marlboro as a tune-up for the playoffs.

“That's our singular goal right now,” said Glick, whose team earned a berth in the county title game ahead of Largo on a coin flip. “We'll worry about the state playoffs on Thursday.”

Glick said his top goal each season is to secure the No. 1 seed, and the luxury of a home game would boost Gwynn Park if it has a rubber match with Largo in the region final.

“We'll focus on Largo if we get there,” Glick said.

Central (11-9) is scheduled to play Calvert in the first round.

How they rank PG County Gazette Boys basketball top 10

1. DeMatha Stags, 24-3

2. Riverdale Baptist Crusaders, 29-2

3. Largo Lions, 17-4

4. Charles H. Flowers Jaguars, 15-4

5. Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders, 17-4

6. Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets, 16-5

7. Henry A. Wise Pumas, 14-6

8. DuVal Tigers, 14-6

9. Suitland Rams, 13-6

10. Potomac Wolverines, 15-6



Saturday, February 18
Final Prince George's 3A/2A/1A Standings 2-17-12
Prince George's 3A/2A/1A
SchoolOverallConference
Gwynn Park 17-5 16-2
Largo 18-4 16-2
Potomac (Md.) 16-6 14-4
Central 11-9 10-8
Friendly 9-13 9-9
Crossland 9-13 6-12
Douglass 8-13 6-12
Forestville 8-11 6-9
Fairmont Heights 7-15 5-13
Surrattsville 4-17 2-16
 


Thursday, February 16
Gwynn Park center steps up on, off the court

 Thursday, February 16, 2012

Marcel Boyd always had a lengthy list of chores growing up: taking out the trash, cutting the grass, sweeping the floor, vacuuming the steps, cleaning his room, cleaning the living room, cleaning the basement.

And as the son of an Army officer and a corrections officer, he never had any leeway in completing his tasks.

But as a high school sophomore, Boyd faced his biggest responsibility: taking care of his brothers, 3 and 10 years younger than him, while his father served for a year in Iraq and Afghanistan and his mother worked.

"It was stressful,” said Boyd, who's now a senior at Gwynn Park. “It was my first year playing basketball. I had a lot on my plate.”

To find his way, Boyd emulated his dad. He made his younger brothers do their homework immediately after school, just as his father made him. And when they didn't want to do their chores, he was firm with them, just as his father was with him.

“Sometimes, I'd say stuff to my brother, and he'd be like, ‘Man, You're acting like dad. You're acting like dad.'” Boyd said. “Well, he's not here, so I have to take on that responsibility. You always say that you don't want to be like your parents, but I always find myself feeling like I'm my father.”

Boyd also missed some AAU games that year, his first playing varsity basketball. Moving between Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Maryland — with more stops in some states than he can remember — he never settled in one place long enough to establish himself on a team.

If that slowed Boyd's progress, he's well on his way now. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound center is averaging 12.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game for Gwynn Park, which would win at least a share of the Prince George's County 3A/2A/1A League title with a win against Friendly on Thursday.

“He's been our MVP,” Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick said of Boyd, who was the team's ninth man as a sophomore and eighth man as a junior before signing with Howard University last fall. “If he was still available, he would have numerous offers off of what he's done this year.”

Boyd has been part of Gwynn Park's ROTC program since he enrolled in the school as a freshman. He doesn't plan to enlist in the military — he wants to become a firefighter — but he wanted to keep his connection with a military lifestyle.

He still addresses adults as “sir” and “ma'am,” and the ROTC class has taught him about leadership and different ways to motivate people. Boyd often speaks of “good pressure” — the kind of pressure that encouraged him to do his chores, the pressure that helped him improve on the court to the point he earned a college scholarship and the pressure the forced him to step up while his father, who has served for 19 years and plans to retire soon, was overseas.

“It made me see through my father's eyes of how stressful life can be and how much you need to appreciate the things that you have while they're there,” Boyd said. “It definitely made me more mature.”

dfeldman@gazette.net



Tuesday, February 14
Graham-McNeill combo leads Largo boys past No. 15 Gwynn Park

Graham-McNeill combo leads Largo boys past No. 15 Gwynn Park

Video: Michael Graham and Damante McNeill were too much to handle on the inside as Largo tops Gwynn Park.

Largo senior Michael Graham is a 6-foot-5 athletic forward who can throw down a dunk with the best of them. His teammate, senior Damante McNeill, is a 6-4 forward who packs the muscle and size to fight inside for positioning and rebounds.

Both have had standout games for the Lions this season but more often than not they haven’t come at the same time. Case in point: the last time Largo faced No. 15 Gwynn Park in mid-January, they fell by two.

But in Monday night’s rematch, Graham and McNeill had perhaps their best combined outing of the season to power host Largo to a 68-55 upset of Gwynn Park.

“We just kept our heads together in the game and we just knew where each other was going to be on the court and what to do,” said Graham, who finished with a team-high 17 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks.

While both players are among the best post players in Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A, both acknowledged after Monday’s win that sometimes their best games haven’t coincided.

“When he has a good day in practice, he does well in the game,” said McNeill, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. “When I have a good day in practice, I do well in the game. It’s what we do in practice.”

Added Largo Coach Lew Howard: “Consistency is the most important thing. They’ve both been playing really well throughout the season and I thought tonight if both of them gave us a really good effort we’d have a chance to win.”

Against a tough Gwynn Park (16-5, 15-2) team, both players did. The Yellow Jackets — who defeated the Lions, 78-76, on Jan. 13 — jumped out to a 17-8 first quarter lead on Monday. But the Lions (17-4, 15-2) used the inside moves of McNeill and the vacuum cleaner-like rebounding of Graham to take a 30-26 halftime lead.

The two connected on one play early in the third quarter when McNeill lobbed the ball toward the basket and Graham snatched it out the air and slammed it in for a dunk — his second such play of the game.

Largo’s standout point guard Derrick Colter was in his usual form (16 points) until he began cramping in the second half. Gwynn Park, led by senior guard Jarvis Hawkins (23 points), trimmed a 15-point deficit to seven points by the start of the fourth quarter.

But Graham and McNeill proved too much down the stretch for the Yellow Jackets.

“The sky’s the limit,” McNeill said. “If we play together like this, the sky’s the limit.”



Tuesday, February 14
Largo tops Gwynn Park to move in first place tie
Monday, February 13, 2012
 Largo tops Gwynn Park to move in first place tie
advertisement
Largo High School's Damante McNeill left the gym, looked at his travelling party and declared: “I'm driving.”

That was appropriate because he had taken the wheel all night, leading the Lions boys basketball team to a 68-55 win over visiting Gwynn Park. McNeill -- whose 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame screams forward -- spent a bulk of the second half initiating the offense like point guard in a game that left both teams with identical 15-2 records in Prince George's County 3A/2A/1A League standings.

Both teams are scheduled to play their final league game Thursday, and if either wins, it clinches at least a share of the conference title. Each team would also clinch at least a share of the conference title if the other loses.

Largo is scheduled to host Forestville, which it beat by eight in January. Gwynn Park is scheduled to host Friendly, which it beat by nine in January.

Largo coach Lewis Howard said he's concerned with only one game Thursday.

“We're not going to be rushing to the paper,” said Howard, whose team avenged a two-point loss to loss to Gwynn Park a month ago. “We're not going to be rushing to call the Post, The Gazette. It is what it is. We play our game, and we take care of our business, we shouldn't have to worry about anybody else.

“A title's a title. There's people who coach their whole careers and never get a title, so we'll take it. Our kids have earned it. If it's outright, it's outright. If it's co, it's co. It's still a title.”

Largo is in a position to win a conference championship in large part due to McNeill. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists, and several of his passes led to free throws for his teammates.

Perhaps his biggest accomplishment was finding Michael Graham often, including a third-quarter alley oop that helped blow the game open. Graham, who scored just three points in Largo's first game against Gwynn Park, admitted he can lose focus when he doesn't get the ball.

So, before the game, McNeill told Graham he'd get him the ball.

“He told me to stay with, keep my head, and then we're going to win,” said Graham, who was engaged offensively and defensively and finished with 17 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. “So, I listened, and then we won.”

McNeill said his favorite thing to do on the basketball court is play like a point guard, especially when he's setting up his teammates.

“And then I take my man off the dribble and get to the basket,” McNeill said. “It's just easy.”

He didn't have much more difficulty after the game. After a brief protest, he did drive home.

McNeill got behind the wheel, turned on the lights and drove out of the Largo High School parking lot -- Gwynn Park in his rearview mirror, Forestville and a possible league title straight ahead.

dfeldman@gazette.net

Largo 68, Gwynn Park 55

Gwynn Park 17 9 17 12 55

Largo 8 22 20 18 68

Gwynn Park (16-5, 15-2): Jarvis Hawkins 23, Marcel Boyd 9, Xavier Richards 8, Jalen Harris 6, Agyei Gregory 5, Robert Flint 2, Achkel Bazil 2.

Largo (17-4, 15-2): Michael Graham 17, Damante McNeill 16, Derrick Colter 16, Lafayette Nelson 11, Khari Sewell 4, Daemond Carter 4.



Tuesday, February 14
Washington Post Rankings 2-14-12

Washington Post Rankings 2-14-12

PostRankSchoolRecord
1 Paul VI Catholic 25-2
2 DeMatha 25-3
3 Magruder 20-1
4 Gonzaga 24-4
5 Riverdale Baptist 30-2
6 Montrose Christian 17-2
7 Episcopal 19-3
8 Bullis 24-3
9 North Point 20-2
10 Gar-Field 23-1
11 Arundel 21-1
12 Coolidge 25-6
13 Thomas Stone 21-1
14 Springbrook 18-3
15 Gwynn Park 17-5
16 Spingarn 21-5
17 Westfield 20-4
18 W.T. Woodson 20-4
19 Eleanor Roosevelt 18-4
20 Urbana 17-4


Saturday, February 4
Gwynn Park vs. Potomac: Marcel Boyd makes his presence felt in win
Gwynn Park vs. Potomac: Marcel Boyd makes his presence felt in win

In four years of high school, Gwynn Park senior Marcel Boyd has grown over five inches. It may not seem like a lot, but when you were a 6-foot-4 freshman, it makes you a very tall teenager. Boyd is 6-9, wears a 16 size shoe and has a wingspan of roughly 7-1. (It was a 7-foot last year and he guesses it’s only gotten longer.)

Against a much-improved Potomac (Md.) team on Friday night, the Howard recruit powered the sixteenth-ranked Yellow Jackets with a strong defensive effort in a 61-55 win over the Wolverines in Brandywine.

 (Mark Gail/The Washington Post) - Gwynn Park's Xavier Richards gets an easy layup in the first quarter as Potomac's Davon Williams looks on.

Boyd readily admits his offensive game is still developing, though his size alone makes him the frequent target of double-teams in the post. Still, he chipped in 11 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots in a game that avenged a previous loss to Potomac.

“If my offense doesn’t fall, I just try to play as hard as I can on defense and help my team win,” he said.

Paired with Gwynn Park forward Xavier Richards, the Yellows Jackets have a strong front-court duo. Richards, a 6-foot-1 senior with tremendous leaping ability, had a team-high 16 points to help Gwynn Park (14-4, 13-1) jump out to a 16-8 first-quarter lead.

Boyd was a constant defensive presence, putting back teammates’ misses and displaying an adept passing feel out of the post when double-teamed. It was an impressive showing for a player who didn’t even start last season.

“He’s just done such a good job of progressing,” Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick said. “There’s a saying, an old adage that big men take a bit longer to develop and it’s absolutely true in his case. What’s changed with Marcel is approach to the game and his seriousness.”

Added Boyd: “I’m kind of getting more comfortable and getting more used to my body and developing.”

By halftime, the Yellow Jackets led 26-20 and appeared poised to pull away in the third quarter. But a 13-point lead with 5:38 left was whittled down to two points with 1:55 left by the Wolverines (12-6, 10-4), behind standout sophomore guard Dion Wiley (22 points).

But senior guard Jarvis Hawkins, Boyd and Richards all made key plays in the final minutes to help secure the victory.

The win helps Gwynn Park keep pace with No. 19 Largo at the top of the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A league.

“It was just determination,” Boyd said. “They beat us the first time. And I’m so determined to make it to the county championships.”



Saturday, February 4
Gwynn Park boys get payback vs. Potomac 61-56
Saturday, February 04, 2012l

With 1:31 remaining in the fourth quarter on Friday night, the Gwynn Park High School boys’ basketball team appeared on the verge of collapsing. The Yellow Jackets were clinging to a two-point lead that had been 13 four minutes earlier, had no timeouts and committed three consecutive turnovers.

All this against visiting Potomac — the only team in the Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A League to beat the Yellow Jackets this season.

Gwynn Park’s next two plays, however, were sensational, and the Yellow Jackets’ 61-55 victory helped turn the race for the league’s top seed into a two-team battle: Gwynn Park against Largo.

“Great win. Resilient win. It’s only going to make us better for the playoffs,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick. “We have to maintain pace with the teams in our region and Largo in our league.”

Following Gwynn Park’s final time out, 6-foot-9 senior Marcel Boyd caught the ball in the low post and fed senior guard Jarvis Hawkins on a backdoor cut, easily beating Potomac’s pressure defense for the layup.

In doing so, Boyd and Hawkins accomplished what the offense had failed to for a majority of the fourth quarter by crisply executing a set play. The bucket gave Gwynn Park (14-4, 13-1) a 55-51 lead. Following a missed jumper by Potomac’s Mark Givens, senior guard Xavier Richards completed a wild right-handed scoop/runner in the lane to increase Gwynn Park’s lead to six with 1:14 remaining. That late-game precision boosted Gwynn Park to its 10th consecutive victory while the Wolverines (12-6, 10-4) had their five-game winning streak snapped.

“We stayed calm throughout the fourth quarter,” Richards said. “That’s really about it. We tried to stay calm and play to our abilities.”

Richards, the 6-foot-2 guard with you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it jumping abilities, finished with a team-high 16 points, Hawkins had 14 (all in the second half) and Boyd finished with a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks).

“[Potomac was] talking a little trash before the game about how they owned us and how we couldn’t beat them,” Boyd said. “I wanted to go out there and impose our will on them and show them we’re still the team to beat.”

The Yellow Jackets amassed their largest lead, 51-38, with 5:24 remaining, only to see Potomac score 13 of the next 15 points. Even so, Gwynn Park’s shot selection was above average in the second half as Glick’s squad converted 14 of its 22 attempts in the final 16 minutes and finished the game shooting 48.9 percent from the floor (24 of 49).

“We can do big things,” Richards said. “We’ve got good team chemistry. We make things great around here.”

Potomac’s sophomore sensation Dion Wiley led all scorers with 22 points (six 3-pointers). Despite Gwynn Park’s best defensive efforts — tight man-to-man, a box-and-1, aggressive step-outs — Wiley still scored more than a third of his team’s points.

“He’s the best sophomore in our league and one of the best players in our league,” Glick said. “He’s got to be one of the best sophomores in the DMV. “I thought we did a very poor job guarding him from the very first play of the game to the end.”

The Wolverines missed five of their six fourth-quarter free throws, and with the loss likely dropped out of contention for one of the league’s top two spots. Still, after four wins last season, first-year coach Renard Johnson is pleased with the progress in 2012.

“I can’t be disappointed in a loss like this,” Johnson said. “Not just because Gwynn Park is good, but the teams were evenly matched, we were on their home floor, we took their best shot and we put ourselves in a winning position at the end.”

As players filed out of Gwynn Park’s locker room following the game, two assistant coaches could be overheard dissecting the opponent.

“They’re deep. They’re really talented,” one said.

“I wouldn’t want to face them again,” replied the other.

The Yellow Jackets won’t have to, as the teams go to separate regional tournaments — Potomac to the 3A South and Gwynn Park to the 2A South. Glick concurred with his coaching staff.

“They’ve given us the hardest time of anybody in our league,” he said of Potomac. “They’ve done a tremendous job of turning the program around. I’m just happy they’re in 3A.”

ncammarota@gazette.net

Gwynn Park 61, Potomac 55

Potomac 8 12 14 21 — 55

Gwynn Park 16 10 18 17 — 61

Potomac (12-6, 10-4): Dion Wiley 22, Romone Saunders 10, Mark Givens 8, Dondre Brandon 6, Davon Williams 4, Aaron Williams 3, Valshawn Wallace 2

Gwynn Park (14-4, 13-1): Xavier Richards 16, Jarvis Hawkins 14, Marcel Boyd 11, Jalen Harris 10, Agyei Gregory 6, Robert Flint 4



Saturday, February 4
Gwynn Park Holds Off Potomac 61-56

Gwynn Park Holds Off Potomac

by: Kevin Green 2/4/2012

Photos: Boys Basketball: Potomac vs. Gwynn Park (2/3/2012);

Gwynn Park senior center Marcel Boyd provided his usual production on the defensive end and in the offensive low post, but the team utilizing him as a decoy helped put the Yellow Jackets past Potomac Friday night.

Leading by two with less than two minutes remaining, Boyd provided two assists leading to four crucial points as Gwynn Park held off Potomac 61-55.

The 13-point lead that Gwynn Park enjoyed midway through the fourth quarter suddenly shrunk to two points late in the game. Coach Mike Glick called a timeout, and he knew that his team’s offense, which had suddenly gone stagnant, needed a jolt.

Leading 53-51, Gwynn Park (14-4, 13-1 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A) quickly broke Potomac’s full-court press. Like several other instances in the game, they looked to Boyd to make a play in the post. Instead of looking for his own shot, Boyd dished it to a cutting Jarvis Hawkins for a momentum-shifting layup to put the Yellow Jackets ahead by four. After getting a defensive stop, they would repeat this tactic on an inbounds play with Boyd giving it to fellow senior Xavier Richards who made the layup while being fouled.

Boyd, the 6-foot-9 Howard commit, provided a steady force in the low post on both ends of the court, tallying 11 points, 16 rebounds, and six blocked shots. For Potomac coach Renard Johnson, it was difficult to prepare for such an imposing player.

“He’s a true big man,” Johnson said. “We haven’t really faced a guy like him the whole year. I wish him well next year at Howard University. They’re very fortunate to have him.”

Despite Boyd’s modest offensive output, Glick says that the way shorter opponents play him in the league inhibits his ability to succeed on the offensive end.

“He’s probably one of the biggest underrated big men in our area,” Glick said. “He doesn’t have as bad an offensive game as people think, but everybody’s game plan is to [double-team] him so we just try to make him into a better passer.”

Potomac standout sophomore Dion Wiley proved to be just as much of a problem for Gwynn Park. Wiley scored a game-high 22 points – including making six of 14 from the three-point line – and added eight rebounds.

“He’s probably one of the best sophomores in the [area],” Glick said. “I thought we did a very poor job guarding him from the first play of the game to the very end.”

Richards would also post a double-double with a team-high 16 points, as well as 10 rebounds and four blocks. After being shut out in the first half, Hawkins provided 14 critical points off the bench.

Gwynn Park looked to pull away from Potomac during the second half, but Potomac (12-6, 10-4) would not go away quietly. After falling behind by 12- and 13-point deficits in the second half, the Wolverines would battle back each time, including going on a 13-2 run in the fourth quarter. After seeing his team suffer its only league loss to the Wolverines earlier in the year, Glick knew that they would be a tough out.

“They’ve given us the hardest time of anybody in our league,” Glick said. They’ve done a tremendous job with turning the program around in one year and I’m just happy that they’re in 3A.”

However, Potomac could not overcome a poor performance from the free-throw line. Shooting 62 percent from the line this year, the Wolverines only made five of 14 attempts from the charity stripe, including just one-for-eight in the second half. With the Wolverines down by five, Dondre Brandon was fouled behind the three-point arc, and he only made one of the three foul shots.

“When you make a run on the road trying to come back in the game, sometimes you lose a little focus, and that’s when you miss foul shots,” Johnson said.

With the win, Gwynn Park maintains control of its destiny for a first-round bye in the 2A South playoff tournament and stays on top of the league standings, tied with Largo (15-3, 13-1).

“This helps us because we want to get that bye in the playoffs, but at the same time we just need to get better every day,” Boyd said. “It’s tough because you can be in any situation and still lose in the playoffs.”



Wednesday, February 1
Recruit Report: Gwynn Park Pull Away From Douglass 64-44

DMVElite News

Recruit Report: Gwynn Park Pull Away From Douglass

By ERIK LARSON, DMV Elite Director of Scouting

Gwynn Park entered Tuesday nights match up with a young but energetic Douglass team on top of PG County 3/2/1A Division. After a great defensive effort, they left with their first place status in tact by putting up 64 points and holding Douglass to 44. Key performers were Xavier Richards (18 points, 12 rebounds), Jarvis Hawkins (13 points), and Marcel Boyd (10 points, 12 rebounds). The game Douglass squad kept the score close much of the game, but was unable to make a late run. Douglass was led by Micheal Cunningham (10 points), Saquan Epps-Walker (8 points) and Trevor Johnson (8 points). Here are their evaluations:

GWYNN PARK

Xavier Richards 6'2 W 2012- Xavier is an exciting player with an evolving game. Athletically, he is great. He is strong, fast, and can finish above the rim. He had four dunks, one of them being an alley oop, on Tuesday. He has the ability to attack the rim off of the dribble and score inside on post ups. Defensively, he can defend quality players and cause turnovers in trap situations. He also competes on the boards on both ends of the floor. To improve, Xavier needs to add jump shooting to his scoring repertoire. Avoiding being over aggressive on his basket drives is also important so he doesn't rack up charges. Xavier is late to the scene, but may become a major player his senior year. He has the athleticism and toughness to play on the low D1 level.

Jarvis Hawkins 6'4 F 2012- Jarvis is an athletic forward that does a lot of things well. He is fast, can stay in front of his man on defense and his long arms make him useful when trapping. He can shoot the ball from 3 point range and finish on the break. He does need to add strength and bulk, this will make him more effective in all of his current strengths. He also can improve in ball handling, allowing him to have more scoring opportunities. Jarvis will be a very good D3 player. If he has a really strong finish to the end of his senior campaign, there is a chance he can get a few D2 looks.

Marcel Boyd 6'9 F/C 2012 (Committed to Howard University)- Marcel has improved immensely since he arrive at Gwynn Park as a sophomore. He has increased his strength, athleticsm and overall effectiveness. His ability to rebound and block shots is what seperates him from a lot of big men. He has also improved his offensive game with good post ups, passing and finishing. He still needs to become more proficient with his left hand and should look to strengthen his hands. He does need to get his footwork tighter and be consistently active throughout the game. Marcel is committed to Howard, adding to the list of DMV members on the Bison squad. He has the ability to be very effective there. Look for him to be among the MEAC Conference leaders in block shots early in his career.



Wednesday, January 18
Gwynn Park's Hawkins Drops 30 in 65-56 victory @ Friendly

DMVElite News

Gwynn Park's Hawkins Drops 30

By STEPHEN D. RILEY

FORT WASHINGTON – The inside of the Friendly Patriots’ gymnasium is hot. Even on a mild day where the audience barely fills the stands, it’s a warm place to be. And when the stands are filled to capacity, there aren’t too many things hotter.

Unless you’re a guard by the name of Jarvis Hawkins. In his first game as a reserve, the senior had the best night of his career as he led the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets with 30 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists in a come-from-behind 65-56 victory over rival Friendly on Tuesday night.

After Friendly guard Jordan Gaither nailed a desperation halfcourt shot to put the Patriots up 26-12 after the first quarter, it appeared as if the Patriots would run away with the game. But Gwynn Park refocused and responded with a stout defensive performance in the second quarter, holding Friendly to just seven points.

“I thought the key to the game for us was our defensive pressure,” Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick said. “The key part of the game was that second quarter. We were able to get back into the game with our pressure.”

Behind Hawkins, Gwynn Park was able to outscore Friendly 17-7 in that pivotal second quarter, allowing them to go into halftime down just four points after a chilly start. But Hawkins saved his best for the second half where the guard officially put out his calling card for all colleges with a next-level performance. Hawkins was Mr. All Everything for the Jackets, notching steals, collecting rebounds and baskets at an alarming rate. By the time the third quarter ended, the Jackets had a one-point lead at 47-46 and Hawkins next spectacular play would shift the momentum completely.

With Gwynn Park leading 53-49, Hawkins received the ball at the top of the three point line, shook his defender with an in-and-out dribble and finished off the glass with a contorted layup before staring at a roaring Yellow Jacket section.

The play zapped the fan support from the Friendly faithful and forced Patriots head coach Mark Edwards to burn a timeout to collect the minds of his troops. But Gwynn Park guard Jalen Harris nailed a three on the Jackets’ next possession to push the lead to nine and the Patriots were done.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” Hawkins said. “We came today ready to play.”

For much of the season, Gwynn Park coaches have been down on Hawkins for a lackadaisical effort. In an effort to light a fire under Hawkins, Glick decided to bring him off the bench for Tuesday’s game and the results were excellent.

When informed that Hawkins scored 30 points, Glick’s face lit up.

“Did he? Wow!” an excited Glick asked. “It’s the first game he’s come off the bench this season. He’s been a starter and played the most minutes for us but we were disappointed in his performance so we brought him off the bench and challenged him and he definitely responded.”

Gwynn Park (9-4, 8-1 in 3A conference) moved to first place in the division after beating Largo (10-2, 8-1) on Saturday. Friendly (6-5, 6-3) remained in third place with the defeat.

CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH JARVIS HAWKINS



Monday, January 16
2011-12 Washington Post Rankings GP # 17

2011-12 Washington Post Rankings

Boys Basketball as of 1/16/2012
PostRankSchoolRecord
1 DeMatha 15-1
2 Montrose Christian 11-1
3 Gonzaga 14-0
4 Paul VI Catholic 14-2
5 Magruder 11-1
6 Episcopal 11-1
7 Bullis 15-2
8 Riverdale Baptist 20-2
9 North Point 10-2
10 Springbrook 10-2
11 Thomas Stone 12-0
12 Osbourn 14-0
13 Gar-Field 14-0
14 Arundel 11-0
15 DuVal 8-3
16 Eleanor Roosevelt 8-3
17 Gwynn Park 8-4
18 Largo 9-2
19 Glen Burnie 12-1
20 Spingarn 12-5
 


Saturday, January 14
Largo's Fourth-Quarter Comeback Falls Short at Gwynn Park

Largo's Fourth-Quarter Comeback Falls Short at Gwynn Park

by: Kevin Green 1/14/2012

Photos: Boys Basketball: Gwynn Park vs...;

Even with a 21-point lead late in the third quarter, the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets knew that handing Largo its first league loss would be difficult.

Despite late-game turnovers, inopportune fouls and subpar free throw shooting, the Yellow Jackets weathered a furious comeback from their rivals to the north, defeating the Lions 78-76. Gwynn Park moved into a tie atop the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A league standings.

Behind 11 fourth-quarter points from guard Derrick Colter, the Lions did not go quietly. The standout senior guard notched a game-high 24 points and added four rebounds, three assists, and five steals.

As Gwynn Park looked to control the ball and burn the clock, Largo head coach Lewis Howard used a mixture of presses and traps on defense and forced the Yellow Jackets to turn the ball over. On the offensive end, Largo attacked the basket and got to the free-throw line at the expense of Gwynn Park’s 6-foot-9 center Marcel Boyd, whose defensive presence was lost after fouling out. The Lions would convert 11 of 14 free throws down the stretch to narrow the sizable margin.

The Lions (9-2, 7-1 PG 3A/2A/1A) pulled to within four points of Gwynn Park after a three-point play from junior Daemond Carter with 1:40 left in the game, but critical free throws from seniors Ageyi Gregory and Xavier Richards helped put the game out of reach as the lead grew to 77-70 with 20.3 seconds left. Colter would hit two desperation three-point attempts, but Gwynn Park successfully ran out the clock before Largo could foul again.

“We [were] still in the game as long as there’s time on the clock,” Howard said, recalling what he told his players during that critical third quarter. “We’re upset that we lost, but the numbers show that we fought back, so that’s a good sign for us.”

Such is the sentiment among two rival teams that annually contend for the league title. Yellow Jackets coach Mike Glick has respect for the coaching job Howard has done in keeping his Lions focused on their comeback attempt.

“They’re a never-say-die team,” Glick said. “They did a great job of applying pressure. I thought we struggled towards the fourth quarter handling the pressure. We were lucky to escape with a victory.”

Already holding a respectable 39-31 halftime advantage, Gwynn Park (8-4, 7-1 PG 3A/2A/1A) opened the lead to 62-41 behind the inspired play of senior Xavier Richards, who played much bigger than his 6-foot-2-inch frame, scoring 19 points, pulling down 17 rebounds, and blocking five shots.

Junior Jalen Harris also came alive in the second half. Despite Harris shooting poorly in the first half, Glick was still pleased with his shot selection and encouraged Harris to keep his head up and keep shooting. He scored 10 points in that pivotal third quarter en route to a co-team-high 21 points.

“The good thing about Jalen is that he plays with no conscience,” Glick said, regarding Harris not getting gun-shy after his subpar first half. “He’s got the attitude of a shooter.”

Boyd also appeared to dominate the boards in the first half, pulling down eight of his 10 rebounds to go with seven points, but his height quickly drew the attention of Largo forwards Damante McNeill and Michael Graham. McNeill added 18 points on the offensive end.

Gwynn Park also opened the game strong thanks to the sharp shooting of Gregory, who also scored 21 points, in the first quarter. Coming off the bench, he provided a spark for the Yellow Jackets, hitting two three-pointers and making three free throws after being fouled while shooting from behind the arc.

Both teams will hit the road Tuesday for their next contest, with Largo taking on Forestville (5-7, 3-5 PG 3A/2A/1A) and Gwynn Park traveling to Friendly (6-4, 6-2 PG 3A/2A/1A). Despite pulling even with Largo in the league standings, Glick could not stress enough the importance of Tuesday’s contest.

“If we lose to Friendly, we’re just giving a game back that we won here,” he said. “This victory is just one win. We’ve got to bounce back and be ready to play on Tuesday in a very tough environment on the road.”



Saturday, January 14
Gwynn Park upsets No. 13 Largo in Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A boys’ basketball

Gwynn Park upsets No. 13 Largo in Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A boys’ basketball

Forgive Gwynn Park seniors Xavier Richards and Agyei Gregory for not knowing at first just how important Friday night’s Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A game against Largo was going to be. They’re both natives of the Virgin Islands and came to Gwynn Park for their final year of high school for a better shot at college.

And even though adjusting to a new school and a different style of basketball wasn’t easy at first, the cousins showed that they’re quickly grasping their new surroundings — and they’re excelling in it, too. Richards and Gregory combined for 40 points in a thrilling 78-76 upset win over the 13th-ranked Lions in Brandywine.

“I love playing with [Richards],” said Gregory, who led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points off the bench. “He’s my biggest competition and I’m sure I’m his biggest competition. But when we’re on the floor together, it’s great.”

Back home on the island of St. Thomas, Richards and Gregory played for rival high schools, joining forces only during summer basketball. But together they decided to move in with their uncle Scheniko Frett, who lives near Gwynn Park.

“I didn’t really know about the opportunity but [my uncle] told me to come because he knew I was good at basketball and I needed a better education,” said Richards, who had 19 points.

And though both admit it was difficult at first to pick up everything that was new, they have both started to settle in at their new school.

Against Largo (9-2, 7-1), the 6-foot-1 Richards showcased his incredible leaping ability, recording 11 rebounds and five crucial blocks. Gregory, a 6-foot-2 sharpshooter, had 15 points at the half to help the Yellow Jackets build a 39-31 lead.

Gwynn Park (8-4, 6-1) pushed further ahead in the third quarter, leading by 21 points, before Largo mounted a comeback behind standout senior guard Derrick Colter (20 points). The Lions trimmed the deficit to four points with a 1 minute 40 seconds left.

Led by Richards and Gregory, the Yellow Jackets withstood a pair of three-pointers by Colter in the final 14 seconds to eke out the win over their rivals, who were unknown to both of them only months before.

“We knew about the hype from our teammates and the build-up during the week,” Gregory said.



Saturday, January 14
Gwynn Park notches 78-76 nail-biting victory vs. Largo
Saturday, January 14, 2012

Most athletes and coaches at Gwynn Park High School consider Frederick Douglass High their arch rival, but this winter in boys basketball, the Yellow Jackets may temporarily give that title to Largo.

In a raucous atmosphere Friday night in Brandywine, the Lions and Yellow Jackets put on a show that demonstrated they may be the two best teams in the Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A League this season.

After trailing by 21 points in the third quarter, Largo managed to make the contest a nail-biter, but the Lions were unable to complete the comeback and Gwynn Park escaped with a 78-76 victory.

The Yellow Jackets (8-4 overall, 7-1 league) moved into a tie for the league lead while handing the Lions (9-2, 7-1) their first loss in the county this season.

“I think in our league, this has become the rivalry,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick. “This has become the Duke vs. North Carolina. It’s a great rivalry. I think we’re both very good. Being good and always fighting for the top of the division makes it great for both teams.”

As an added bonus, Friday’s game potentially was the first of three between the teams this season. Gwynn Park will visit Largo on Feb. 13, and in the postseason both teams will play in the 2A South Region. Largo previously was a 3A school, which meant the teams went their separate ways during the playoffs. But Largo was reclassified to the 2A ranks starting this school year.

Gwynn Park junior guard Jalen Harris, who has been one of the surprise players in the county this season, scored 21 points, three above his average. Yellow Jackets’ senior Agyei Gregory, who has become a starter in place of injured junior Alex Bazil, also had 21 points. High-leaping senior Xavier Richards had 19 points for Gwynn Park.

In recent years, the Yellow Jackets have had a dynamite duo to lead the way. Brandon Ford and Tion Barnes were the cornerstone of the team the past two seasons as Gwynn Park won two consecutive 2A South Region titles. But this season, the Yellow Jackets are getting contributions from many players, and Glick said this year’s team is “the most balanced” he has had in six seasons at the Brandywine school. The team has an inside punch from 6-foot-9 senior center Marcel Boyd, rebounding from Richards and Boyd and outside shooting from Harris.

“We can rely on a bunch of different people on this team,” Harris said. “Coach tells us to move the ball around in practice and we carry that over to the game. That helps us get open shots and get to the basket.”

Largo, which has a senior-laden lineup, has grown to expect a battle every time it steps on the court. Friday night, the Lions already were eagerly anticipating the teams’ next meeting Feb. 13

“The conversation we had in the locker room is that we’re going to punish them the next time we play them,” said Derrick Colter, who had a game-high 24 points. “We’re the team to beat and they’re feeling good because they beat us. It’s personal. Next time they come to play at our house, it’s on. They’re our biggest rival now.”

Leading 39-31 at the start of the third quarter, Gwynn Park played with more energy and outhustled the Lions to start the second half. Gwynn Park had boosted its lead to 62-41 with a little more than a minute to play in the third period.

But over the next 5 minutes, the Lions began using full-court pressure and outscored the Yellow Jackets, 14-6, to cut the deficit to nine with 5 minutes remaining in the game.

The Lions would cut got to within four points at 74-70 with 1:40 remaining in the game. But a series of misses and turnovers hurt the Lions’ chances, and then time expired.

“It has become a rivalry within the County 3A/2A/1A League,” said Largo coach Lewis Howard. “It’s a competitive situation. You have two very good teams playing. We are the barometer for our league, however, [Gwynn Park] is the barometer as well. Now that we’ve dropped to Class 2A, we’re in the same region now. There’s potential that we will play again after the second game. We relish it.”

thampton@gazette.net

Gwynn Park 78, Largo 76

Largo 13 18 14 31 — 76

Gwynn Park 25 14 23 16 — 78

Largo (9-2, 7-1): Derrick Colter 24, Damante McNeill 18, Lafayette Nelson 14, Daemond Carter 11, Michael Graham 3, Jeffery Garvin 2, Tyeke Jones 2, Khari Sewell 2.

Gwynn Park (8-4, 7-1): Agyei Gregory 21, Jalen Harris 21, Xavier Richards 19, Marcel Boyd 7, Jarvis Hawkins 6, Robert Flint 2, Trevor Ford 2.



Sunday, January 8
Chemistry developing for Gwynn Park boys
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Chemistry developing for Gwynn Park boys

Most of the firepower that propelled the Gwynn Park High School boys’ basketball team into the Maryland 2A semifinals last season was lost to graduation last spring. But a new cast of characters could be on a track similar to last year’s team.

A hot-shooting first quarter that included six 3-pointers was enough for the Gwynn Park to earn a 76-64 victory against Fairmont Heights on Friday night in Brandywine. The Yellow Jackets improved to 6-4 overall and 5-1 in the County 3A/2A/1A League, while the Hornets (3-7) dropped their fifth in a row.

“I think we’re picking up momentum,” said Gwyn Park coach Mike Glick. “We knew that it would take a while for them to develop chemistry with five new starters this season. We knew that as the season moved on we would get better and they’re starting to get to know each other.”

Gwynn Park’s 6-foot-9 senior center Marcel Boyd was impressive, scoring 16 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. Senior forward Xavier Richards added a spark with 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

“This is a breaking point for us as a team,” Boyd said. “We’re starting to come together as a team. We know each other’s roles and what each other can and can’t do, and we’re starting to work and become a better team. I think the second half could shape up really good for us.”

“It all starts in practice,” Richards said. “We play together, developing our chemistry. We just have to keep the same intensity and bring it every night.”

Underscoring the completeness of the effort on Friday, Gwynn Park had a season-high 19 assists as a team.

Junior guard Jalen Harris has been a driving force all season, averaging 18 points per game. He had 20 against Fairmont Heights, and senior Agyei Gregory added 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

Fairmont Heights senior forward Julian Livingston had an outstanding night with a game-high 32 points, to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks. But the rest of the Hornets struggled to play consistently.

“Right now we have a lot to learn,” Livingston said. “We keep making the same mistakes and turnovers. People can’t handle the ball and pressure [defense], and that keeps putting us in bad situations at the end of the game.”

Hornets’ coach George Wake said the team’s experienced leaders need to demand more from their teammates.

“We’re lost at this point, and a car riding down the road without a driver,” Wake said. “We have no leadership. If you’re practicing and practice is not going well, it should be a leader, not a coach pulling the players back in to work hard. You always want a leader that makes the team accountable and we don’t have that.”

Game notes: Gwynn Park will be without senior leader Eric Batts for at least several weeks after he suffered an injury to his reconstructed left knee during practice on Tuesday. Batts, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in December 2010 and missed the rest of last season, reinjured his knee when a teammate fell on the back of his leg.

“My knee stiffened up but it’s going to take a couple of weeks,” said Batts, a 6-foot guard. “This year has been frustrating. Before hurting my knee again, I felt close to 100 percent. Every game I’m getting better and that’s what I’m happy about and I’m having a progression right now.”

“He was really getting better and more confidence in his knee,” Glick said. “He’s our most tenacious player, and losing him is a big blow because he plays harder than anybody. He plays bigger than what he is.”

The Yellow Jackets are looking forward to the return of 6-11 senior center Kevin Walters, who has missed all of the Yellow Jackets 10 games this season after breaking his wrist in practice. Glick said he expects for Walters to return within the next two weeks.

thampton@gazette.net

Gwynn Park 76, Fairmont Heights 64

Fairmont Heights 13 12 15 24 — 64

Gwynn Park 25 13 16 22 — 76

Gwynn Park: Jalen Harris 20; Agyei Gregory 14; Marcel Boyd 16

Fairmont Heights: Julian Livingston 32; Jamar Cuthbertson 6; Javon Nance 5; Kavan Sclafford 5



Thursday, January 5
Howard recruit leads Gwynn Park

Howard recruit leads Gwynn Park

Photo by Jacqui South. Marcel Boyd, a Howard University recruit, leads Gwynn Park.

Photo by Jacqui South. Marcel Boyd, a Howard University recruit, leads Gwynn Park.

Published on: Friday, January 06, 2012

By Brandy L. Simms

At 6-foot-9 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds, Gwynn Park High senior center Marcel Boyd stands out on the hardwood.

Boyd has helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 4-4 record through the team’s first eight games and has registered four double-doubles in the process.

The graduation of players such as Tion Barnes, Brandon Ford and Daniel Henry has forced Boyd to take more of a leadership role this season.

Described by Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick as “athletic with a tremendous upside,” Boyd will take his skills to the District of Columbia next season when he suits up for the Howard University Bison.

“Howard’s a great fit because it’s close to home,” said Boyd, who signed with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school during the November early signing period.

The Bison are coached by Kevin Nickelberry, a 47-year-old District native who began his coaching career as an assistant at Takoma Park’s Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) in the early 1990s.

Nickelberry held assistant coaching positions at various Division I programs including Charlotte and Clemson but got his big break when Hampton University hired him to be their head coach in 2006. After a three-year stint at Hampton, Nickelberry spent a season coaching the Libyan national team before he was hired by Howard in 2010.

“Coach Nickelberry, he’s a great coach,” Boyd said. “He told me when I come there he’s going to teach me a lot of stuff that I don’t know, he’s going to develop me.”

The Bison roster is littered with Prince George’s County products including Prince Okoroh (Eleanor Roosevelt), Brandon Bailey (Largo) and Ford, Boyd’s former high school teammate.

“I’ve been playing with them guys since tenth grade so it (will be) fun to play with them again,” Boyd said. “That just made the deal even sweeter.”

In the meantime, however, Boyd has his sights set on helping Gwynn Park get back to the state tournament and capturing the Brandywine school’s first Maryland state title since 1988.



Thursday, January 5
Gwynn Park, Eleanor Roosevelt open tourney with losses

Gwynn Park, Eleanor Roosevelt open tourney with losses

Photo by Jacqui South. Eleanor Roosevelt's Chaun Miller guards Nick Griffin, who put up 11 points for Magruder.

Photo by Jacqui South. Eleanor Roosevelt's Chaun Miller guards Nick Griffin, who put up 11 points for Magruder.

Published on: Friday, January 06, 2012

By Brandy L. Simms

Montgomery County basketball made a statement last week as both Springbrook and Magruder captured wins in the opening games of the Roberts Oxygen Holiday Tournament at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring.

The two day tournament featured Springbrook and Magruder against Prince George’s County powers Eleanor Roosevelt and Gwynn Park.

Magruder senior forward Garland Owens scored a game-high 16 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots to lead the Colonels past Eleanor Roosevelt in the opener, 64-45.

“Garland, he’s about 6-4 and a half but he plays like he’s 6-8, 6-9,” said Magruder head coach Dan Harwood.

The dynamic junior backcourt duo of Nick Griffin (11 points) and J.J. Epps (15 points) combined for 26 points and classmate Justin Witmer finished with ten points for Magruder.

Several Division I college recruiters were in attendance including George Washington head coach Mike Lonergan and Howard University head coach Kevin Nickelberry.

In the nightcap, Springbrook held on for a 61-59 victory over Gwynn Park after racing out to a 15-point halftime lead.

“We’ve been off for a week. That’s no excuse, but I think we were a little lackadaisical in the start,” said Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick. “But overall, I’m proud of the way we responded. Springbrook’s an excellent team.”

Springbrook was led by senior forward Demetric Austin who scored a game-high 25 points; Charles Taylor finished with 14 points and Tomazye Anderson added 11 points for the Blue Devils.

Meanwhile, Gwynn Park was led by the trio of Jalen Harris (16 points), Marcel Boyd (12 points) and Xavier Richards (11 points) who combined for 39 of the Yellow Jackets’ 59 points.



Thursday, December 29
Magruder Holds On Versus a Game Gwynn Park 67-61

Magruder Holds On Versus a Game Gwynn Park 67-61

20 hours ago by Marc Stern in ( CHTV Video , High School , Top Stories )

12/28/11

Entering the 2011 Robert's Oxygen Holiday Invitational most fans thought that the most lopsided game of the tournament would be the match-up that featured #9 Magruder and #25 Gwynn Park.

Those who stuck around for the tournament finale saw arguably the best game of the two day showcase, an up and down affair that saw Magruder's big 5 click on all cylinders. The Yellow Jackets however showed incredible fight and kept the game close throughout. Magruder connected on ten 3 point field goals, 8 of which came from junior's Nick Griffin and Justin Witmer. The pair combined for 25 first half points. Witner finished the game with 19, Griffin 17 and senior Garland Owens scored 19 as well.

Despite losing the contest, Gwynn Park's fight and resolve were the story of the game. For the third consecutive game and fifth time this season, the Yellow Jackets were led in scoring by sharp shooting Junior guard Jalen Harris. Harris scored 21 on Wednesday night and has now made 19 3-pointers through 8 games this season. He has made at least two 3's in every game this season but two and is also shooting over 80% from the free throw line. Center Marcel Boyd added 9 points and 5 rebounds but was only 1-7 from the free throw line and missed two critical free throws with seconds remaining that could have brought the score down to a one possesion lead. Guard Xavier Richards had a double-double for the Yellow Jackets scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

The tournament was great experience for a Magruder team that Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick considers the favorite to win the 4A state championship this year. With Baltimore's Patterson High School being moved down to the 3A, most consider 4A defending state champions North Point, and Magruder, the class of the division. The problem for Magruder is that they don't get tested often. Their season opener with DeMatha was a great test, as was this Christmas tournament, but the Montgomery County Schedule they play offers only a couple of games that should challenge the #9 Colonels.

When the regular season resumes after the new year, Magruder will host Gaithersburg on January 3 while Gwynn Park hosts Broadneck on the 4th. 



Thursday, December 29
# 4 Magruder 67 vs Gwynn Park 61
Magruder boys sweep Prince George's

Colonels remain hot from outside to defeat Gwynn Park at Springbrook tournament

Gwynn Park High School boys basketball coach Mike Glick experienced a touch of the six-degrees-of-separation phenomena Wednesday night and it wasn't exactly a pleasant occurrence.

Facing Col. Zadok Magruder during the second day of the Roberts Oxygen Invitational at Springbrook High School, Glick ran into the son of a long-time friend and former Catholic Youth Organization basketball teammate, namely Colonels junior forward Justin Witmer, whose 21 points, including a timely 3-pointer to end the third quarter, helped the Colonels to a 67-61 win.

Joking that the sting of the loss was lessened considering who it was against, Glick was more than pleased with his team's effort, including trimming a 64-54 deficit with 2 minutes and 10 seconds left in the game to as close as four points, 65-61, with 23.3 seconds following a 3-pointer by Jalen Harris. A furious full-court press turned Magruder miscues into points.

“We're getting better,” said Glick, whose Yellow Jackets fell to 4-4 with three of those losses coming to 4A powerhouses Eleanor Roosevelt (6-2), Springbrook (6-2) and Magruder (7-1). “I'm proud of my players; the way they responded. They didn't have any quit in them. There's a lot of room for improvement. I think we need to get better every day and if we do, we'll be where we want to be.”

The boys side of the invitational gave some of the top public school teams from Montgomery and Prince George's counties a chance to play each other. Magruder is ranked second by the Montgomery Gazette, Gwynn Park sixth by the Prince George's Gazette.

For Magruder, the victory was the team's seventh straight since a season-opening loss to DeMatha and it gave the Colonels a two-game sweep at the two-day, four-team, non-championship tournament. They also own a 59-50 win against the Blue Devils this winter.

“It's just a statement for us because they're supposed to be the best teams in PG County and we want to be the best team in Montgomery County,” said Witmer, who nailed four 3-pointers in the win. “It's just a good win. We just played as a team, kept our heads in the game and overall played pretty good. Seven and one is definitely where we want to be right now.”

Like in the Roosevelt win, Magruder was hot offensively in the first quarter with 23 points for a six-point advantage. That lead grew to 38-29 at halftime following a 3-point play by Witmer with 1.2 seconds left in the half.

Witmer opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and ended it with one for a 52-41 lead. Gwynn Park held possession late in the third quarter but a travelling violation gave Magruder the ball and Witmer nailed an open 3-pointer from the right wing as the buzzer sounded.

“They're about as good defensively as we're going to see this year,” Colonels coach Dan Harwood said. “We want to spread the floor, keep the ball moving and we were getting some good looks passing the ball to Nick [Griffin] and Justin. [Witmer] definitely knocked some shots down that opened things up for us.”

Magruder kept its lead between 6-10 points for much of the fourth quarter but Glick employed his “Jungle” press in the final few minutes of the game and it forced a trio of turnovers and led to seven straight points by Harris, who scored 13 of 23 points in the fourth quarter on mostly drives to the basket and finishes in traffic.

But a pair of missed free throws with 6.2 seconds by the Yellow Jackets and then a pair of double bonus free throws by Garland Owens (15 points) with four seconds left sealed the win for the Colonels.

jpeters@gazette.net



Wednesday, December 28
MoCo vs. PG: Springbrook tops Gwynn Park 61-59
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
MoCo vs. PG: Springbrook tops Gwynn Park 61-59

Every day before practice officially starts, Springbrook High School boys basketball coach Tom Crowell asks his players to shoot 100 free throws.

That seemingly tedious task paid dividends in Tuesday's 61-59 win over Prince George's County's Gwynn Park on the first day of the Roberts Oxygen Holiday Invitational at Springbrook.

The Montgomery Gazette's fourth-ranked team (6-1) made 14-of-22 free throws, which allowed them to prevail despite a six-point third quarter. Most importantly, senior Demetric Austin netted both of his attempts with six seconds remaining in regulation to all but clinch the game at 61-56.

Gwynn Park is ranked sixth by the Prince George's Gazette.

Yellow Jackets junior Jalen Harris' fourth 3-pointer of the night fell in at the buzzer.

“I've got to thank my coach,” Austin said. “That just showed how important free throws are.”

Added Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick: “Free throws are a huge part of the game. A lot of games are decided by free throws. They ran a great out-of-bounds play to get the ball into [Austin] and he knocked down both of his shots.”

Springbrook's two-day tournament pits two of Montgomery's best against two of the best Prince George's has to offer. Austin said a bit of intercounty rivalry made the game even more exciting.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to face fourth-ranked Eleanor Roosevelt at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with Magruder and Gwynn Park to follow at 7 p.m.

Springbrook took advantage of Gwynn Park's (4-1) slow start Tuesday and jumped to a 31-16 halftime lead. Once the Yellow Jackets' shots started falling, however, they were able to employ their full-court press and the Blue Devils struggled to adjust to the pace.

Gwynn Park outscored Springbrook,17-6, in the third quarter to cut the Blue Devils' lead to 37-33. The Yellow Jackets twice got within three in the final minute of regulation.

“They started trapping and we did not know what to do,” Austin said. “We didn't have a game plan. Then [Crowell] told us a couple of plays to open up the lanes.”

Once Springbrook started to penetrate the paint and dish the ball out to Austin (25 points) for the pull-up jumper or to inside-out threats Charles Taylor (13) and Tomazye Anderson (12), the Blue Devils were able to regain control.

Harris scored nine of his team-high 17 total points in Gwynn Park's fourth-quarter comeback bid. Ten of 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior center Marcel Boyd's 14 points were scored in the second half.

“Springbrook is an excellent team, one of the best teams we'll play,” Glick said. “We're just trying to get better.”

jbeekman@gazette.net

Springbrook 61, Gwynn Park 59

Gwynn Park (4-1) 8 8 17 26—59

Springbrook (6-1) 15 16 6 24—61

Gwynn Park: Jalen Harris 17, Marcel Boyd 14, Xavier Richards 11, Jarvis Hawkins 6, Robert Flint 4, Eric Batts 3, Achkel Bazil 2, Trevor Ford 2. Springbrook: Demetric Austin 25, Charles Taylor 13, Tomazye Anderson 12, Wayo Adjei 5, Brandon Emery 4, Timmy Christian 2.



Wednesday, December 28
Springbrook Outlasts Gwynn Park 61-59

Springbrook Outlasts Gwynn Park 61-59

2 days ago by Marc Stern in ( High School , Top Stories )

12/27/11

Demetric Austin carried Springbrook in the night cap of Tuesday's double header in the Roberts Oxygen Holiday Classic at Springbrook High School.

Austin scored 16 of his game high 25 points in the fourth and decisive quarter to go along with 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Springbrook got out to an early lead, and as the first half ended it appeared that "The Brook" had it wrapped up. But Mike Glick's Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets have always been known as a scrappy bunch and that was evident tonight. Gwynn Park, who won last year's Capitol Hoops Game Of The Year - a thrilling win over an undefeated Oakland Mills team to capture a regional championship and advance to the Comcast Center graduated all five of its starters from last year's team. Glick, who called his team a "work in progress", saw his squad storm back from a 15 point half time deficit behind a swarming full court press to cut the lead to just one on 2 separate possessions. Springbrook began to break the press late and come away with easy transition baskets. They also made 10 fourth quarter free throws to secure the victory.

Gwynn Park was led by Center Marcel Boyd, who scored 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Gwynn Park's Jalen Harris scored 17, including four 3-pointers; but Boyd's inside presence is what stood out.

On Wednesday in day two of the tournament #19 Springbrook will play #14 Eleanor Roosevelt at 5pm. #25 Gwynn Park will play #9 Magruder in the night cap.



Sunday, December 18
E. Roosevelt boys pull away from Gwynn Park 51-41
Sunday, December 18, 2011
E. Roosevelt boys pull away from Gwynn Park 51-41

Two-time defending 4A South Region champion Eleanor Roosevelt notched a 51-41 victory against two-time 2A South Region champ Gwynn Park in the marquee game of the More Than Basketball Winter Showcase: 2A/3A vs. 4A Challenge at Riverdale Baptist School.

The event featured five games matching teams from the Prince George's County 4A League against teams from the County 3A/2A/1A League. Both Roosevelt and Gwynn Park viewed Saturday night's meeting as a signature game, as both have been the signature teams in their respective regions the last two years.

As it has done consistently in the past two seasons, Roosevelt (4-1) once again relied on its defense to control the game and defeat Gwynn Park (4-1). After coming from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Henry A. Wise 54-47 on Friday night, Roosevelt’s stifling 2-3 zone defense gave Gwynn Park problems throughout Saturday's game.

On the offensive end, senior Chaun Miller led the way for the Raiders with 14 points.

“He’s been a great senior leader for us,” said Roosevelt coach Brendan O’Connell.

The Raiders knew they were facing a formidable offensive team in Gwynn Park, which had reached the 80-point mark in two of its first four games, including an 81-66 win against Frederick Douglass on Friday.

“I’m proud of my players,” O'Connell said. “They fought through battles, [and] made enough plays to win. We knew if we kept getting stops it would keep us in the game and ultimately some shots started falling.”

Despite the loss, Gwynn Park remained confident.

“It’s a game that’s going to make us better, though tonight we did not shoot the ball well,” said Yellow Jackets' coach Mike Glick. “We’ve been scoring in the 70s and 80s, and their defense held us to 41.”

Jarvis Hawkins was the leading scorer for Gwynn Park with 13 points, followed by 12 points from Xavier Richards, who gave Roosevelt problems in the second half.

The tempo of the game favored Roosevelt from the opening tip, as the Raiders made many defensive stops. But Roosevelt had trouble capitalizing on offense.

Gwynn Park led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, and there was even less scoring in the second quarter, as Roosevelt took a 21-19 lead into halftime. The Raiders held a 33-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and then had their most productive period of the game, scoring 18 points in the final eight minutes.

Roosevelt 51, Gwynn Park 41

Roosevelt 12 9 12 18 – 51

Gwynn Park 13 6 9 13 – 41

Roosevelt (4-1): Chaun Miller 14, Malachi Alexander 9, Amir Baiyina 9, Tiwain Kindley 7, Arnaud Mulosa 5, Enuoma Ebinum 4, B.J. Antoine 3.

 Gwynn Park (4-1): Jarvis Hawkins 13, Xavier Richards 12, Marcel Boyd 4, Jalen Harris 4, Agyel Gregory 3, Trevor Ford 2, Achkel Bazil 2, Eric Batts 1.



Saturday, December 17
Chemistry develops quickly for Gwynn Park
Friday, December 16, 2011
Chemistry develops quickly for Gwynn Park

His team lost all five starters from last year and it was unclear how the returning players would respond.

Watching the Yellow Jackets demolish rival Frederick Douglass, 81-66, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Gwynn Park on Friday, however, one would have thought Glick’s lineup has played together since birth.

Gwynn Park 6-foot-9 senior center Marcel Boyd and senior swing man Xavier Richards combined to score 43 points and grab 23 rebounds in the dominant effort. Both played above the rim more often than not in helping the Yellow Jackets improve to 4-0.

The duo commenced the onslaught from the opening tip when Boyd swatted the ball into Gwynn Park’s offensive zone. Richards then ran onto it, took two steps and dunked it with both hands. It was the first of three dunks for Richards, while Boyd added two, including a breakway dunk that gave Gwynn Park its largest lead of the night, 72-51, midway through the fourth quarter.

“Marcel Boyd has taken his game to a different level,” Glick said. “A lot of the credit goes to Marcel and him stepping up his game. And Xavier Richards is sparking us offensively. He’s a tough matchup.”

Boyd finished with a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds while Richards added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Boyd was 10 of 15 from the floor with the majority of his buckets coming in the paint. Despite being double-teamed often, Boyd frequently converted or found an open man (he had four assists).

Richards, meanwhile, was 9 of 16, scoring in a variety of ways. He displayed an unmatched level of athleticism not only with his dunking ability, but his quickness off the ball and rebounding in traffic. The Yellow Jackets beat Douglass (1-3) on the boards 39-25 in what Glick called his team’s best rebounding effort this season.

“It’s a very unique team and a very disciplined team,” Glick said. “It’s a very together team and a very unselfish team. I think that makes up for the lack of experience.”

Facilitating for the Yellow Jackets was 6-foot-4 senior point guard Jarvis Hawkins, who finished with 11 points and five assists. His calming presence and heady play allowed Gwynn Park to perform like a veteran squad despite its rather inexperienced roster.

“I came in here knowing that I would have to do a lot for my team to win,” Hawkins said. “Whatever my team needs for us to get the win, I’m there.”

Despite four Douglass players recording double figures in points — led by 16 apiece from Saquan Epps-Walker (who also had nine rebounds) and JaSahn Johnson — Gwynn Park’s attack was too meticulous and unrelenting for the Eagles to counter.

“We knew they had height. It played a bigger role than we anticipated,” said Douglass coach Tyrone Massenburg. “[Richards], his athleticism, we just couldn’t match it on our side. We had a hard time containing him. It was a good night for them. We picked a bad time to not really play our best.”

The teams traded blows evenly in the first quarter, which ended 19-18 in favor of Gwynn Park, but the Yellow Jackets pulled away with an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter and their lead was never again threatened.

Both teams will play Saturday in the second annual MTB Winter Showcase-2A/3A vs. 4A Challenge at Riverdale Baptist. Douglass will face Bowie at 6:40 p.m. before Gwynn Park takes on Eleanor Roosevelt at 8:20 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to it. We get to represent our league and enter as the underdog,” Glick said.

ncammarota@gazette.net

Gwynn Park 81, Douglass 66

Frederick Douglass 18 12 10 26 — 66

Gwynn Park 19 18 23 21 — 81

Gwynn Park (4-0): Marcel Boyd 23, Xavier Richards 20, Jalen Harris 14, Jarvis Hawkins 11, Trevor Ford 6, Ackhel Bazil 4, Ageyi Gregory 3

Douglass (1-3): JaSahn Johnson 16, Saquan Epps-Walker 16, Mike Cunningham 10, Marvis Davies 10, John Carroll 4, Davonte Gordon 4, Marsalis Hurley 4, Jeffrey Calhoun 2



Friday, December 16
2011-2012 CAPITOL HOOPS TOP 25 RELEASED

2011-2012  CAPITOL HOOPS TOP 25 RELEASEDsingleimage

12/12/2011

After a couple weeks of play under our belts Capitol Hoops has taken the opportunity to watch a lot of basketball and while a familiar face is ranked #1 its our #2 ranking that's stirring up the controversy. Check out our top-25 as follows .....

#1 Montrose Christian 5-0 (Rockville, MD)

#2 Paul VI 5-0 (Fairfax City, VA)

#3 DeMatha 3-0 (Hyattsville, MD)

#4 Gonzaga 5-0 (Washington, DC)

#5 Patterson 2-0 (Baltimore, MD)

#6 Mount St. Joseph 8-0 (Baltimore, MD)

#7 North Point 2-0 (Waldorf, MD)

#8 St. Frances 2-1 (Baltimore, MD)

#9 Magruder 2-1 (Rockville, MD)

#10 O'Connell 5-0 (Arlington, VA)

#11 Episcopal 3-1 (Alexandria, VA)

#12 Dunbar 2-0 (Baltimore, MD)

#13 National Christian 3-1 (Fort Washington, MD)

#14 Eleanor Roosevelt 1-1 (Greenbelt, MD)

#15 Riverdale Baptist 6-2 (Upper Marlboro, MD)

#16 John Carroll 9-1 (Bel Air, MD)

#17 Coolidge 4-1 (Washington, DC)

#18 Milford Mill 0-0 (Baltimore, MD)

#19 Springbrook 2-0 (Silver Spring, MD)

#20 Wise 2-0 (Upper Marlboro, MD)

#21 Bullis 4-0 (Potomac, MD)

#22 St. Johns 3-1 (Washington, DC)

#23 Landon 2-2 (Bethesda, MD)

#24 Lake Clifton 2-0 (Baltimore, MD)

#25 Gwynn Park 2-0 (Brandywine, MD) 



Saturday, December 10
Gwynn Park finishes with a flourish 88-63
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Gwynn Park finishes with a flourish

Forestville Military Academy’s fans and players might have preferred if it went in.

Gwynn Park center Marcel Boyd, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior, left his feet midway through the lane, grabbed the missed layup in mid-air with his baseball-mitt sized hands and thundered the ball through the hoop for an emphatic dunk.

The gym at Gwynn Park was packed, but in that instant every seat was vacant. Rattled by the boisterous crowd and a mountain of momentum piling up against it, Forestville fell apart in the final 3 minutes, 30 seconds of the game and lost 88-63 to the Yellow Jackets.

“It’s definitely exciting and it gets the crowd going,” said Boyd, a Howard University recruit who said he was able to dunk for the first time as a freshman. “That’s what I love about it, getting everybody going like that.”

Boyd did more than excite the crowd. His 6-9 frame and impossibly long wingspan frustrated Forestville players throughout the game. And it was just because of his dunking. Every time the Knights managed to slip past Gwynn Park’s first line of defense, they faced Boyd in the lane, who would alter their shots or send them right back where they came from. The senior center finished with five blocks to go with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

“This was Marcel’s biggest game of the season,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick. “He made a humongous difference. He played smart while with fouls ... today our size advantage was huge.”

A woefully undersized but scrappy Forestville squad trailed from the outset of the game. It took more than five minutes for the Knights to score their first points, but by then they were already trailing by 12. Five Gwynn Park players scored in the first quarter as the Yellow Jackets jumped out to a comfortable 21-5 lead.

“A start like that totally alters the game,” Glick said. “This is the second game in a row we have been able to do that and it made a big difference.”

But Forestville standout guard Juwan Cole didn’t let the Yellow Jackets run away with it. The senior dropped in 10 of his 24 points in the second quarter, getting to the free throw line 11 times and connecting on eight foul shots in the second period.

“We tried to get the ball out of his hands tonight,” Glick said. “If Cole isn’t the best player in the league he’s absolutely one of the top three or four.”

Cole helped bring the Knights back to within 10 points of Gwynn Park with 6:46 remaining in the game. But hot shooting by Jalen Harris and gritty inside play by Boyd helped the Yellow Jackets maintain control. Harris finished 18 points after scoring 25 in the Yellow Jackets’ 67-62 win against Surrattsville on Tuesday. Gwynn Park ended the game on a 25-10 run.

The Yellow Jackets lost in last year’s 2A state semifinals at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center. Then they lost most of last year’s varsity team to graduation. But their motivation this winter is clear.

“I’ll be any kind of player we need,” said Boyd after the game. “I’m just going to do whatever it takes to get back to Comcast.”

Gwynn Park 88, Forestville 63

Forestville 5 21 22 15 — 63

Gwynn Park 21 17 22 28 — 88

Gwynn Park (2-0): Marcel Boyd 20; Jalen Harris 18; Jarvis Hawkins 12; Xavier Richards 11; Trevor Ford 3; Terry Martin 2; Ackhel Bazil 2

Forestville (0-2): Juwan Cole 24; Clarence Johnson 19; Joseph Jackson 6; Terrell Strokes 6; Randell Nelson 4; Raymond Cooper 4



Thursday, December 1
3A/2A/1A PG League Preview: Largo 1st, Gwynn Park 2nd, Friendly 3rd

2. Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets

COACH: Michael Glick

LAST YEAR: 17-9

OUTLOOK: After reaching the 2A state semifinals last season, Gwynn Park heads into 2011-12 needing to replace all five of its starters. Six-foot-9 Howard University recruit Marcel Boyd (3.8 points per game) and 6-4 senior Jarvis Hawkins (4.4 ppg) are the only two returning players who logged significant minutes last season, and both must make up for the loss of leading scorer Brandon Ford (17.3 ppg), a Gazette-Star All-County first team selection who is now a freshman at Howard. Junior shooting guard Jalen Harris averaged 21 points per game at the junior varsity level, and coach Michael Glick said he expects Harris to emerge as a go-to player. With so much inexperience, the Yellow Jackets will be tested with a difficult out-of-conference schedule. Glick called this year's squad his “closest-knit” team since 2008. “We'll have a great deal of size, but no superstars,” Glick said. “We're very strong on offensive and defensive rebounding and we'll be a balanced team.”

— Nick Cammarota



Wednesday, October 12
Gwynn Park senior bound for Howard

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gwynn Park senior bound for Howard
advertisement

Three years ago, Marcel Boyd was an exceptionally tall junior varsity football player, and his coaches at Gwynn Park High School in Brandywine knew the 6-foot-5 ninth-grader was out of place.

“My coaches were, like, ‘we got to get you on the basketball team,’” Boyd said.

As a sophomore, Boyd played organized basketball for the first time. Now standing 6-9 in his senior year, Boyd recently gave a verbal commitment to accept a basketball scholarship at Howard University.

“Basically it came down to me and my family sitting down and discussing it, and I really wanted to get my college decision out of the way so I could focus on the season,” Boyd said. “It also came down to Howard because [2011 Gwynn Park graduate] Brandon Ford is on the team, and that’s a person I know. Also Howard is not too far from home and my parents can come to all of my games. The education offered there is also top-tier.”

Boyd also drew interest from Robert Morris University, Mount Saint Mary’s and St. Francis.

“It’s perfect for him,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick. “It is the classic win-win position. First of all, Howard is getting a kid who’s going to end up being much better than his level. When Marcel is 20, 21 years old people are going to say that was a great recruit. They’re getting a kid with tremendous upside that does not have to step in and win right away.”

Boyd now turns his attention to preparing for his senior season. He will play a key role for the Yellow Jackets, who are the 2A South Region title the past two years. Last season, Boyd averaged 7 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-high 2.5 blocked shots per game.

Glick said Boyd’s progress from novice to an NCAA Division I scholarship in three years is impressive.

“I think Marcel has made remarkable improvement since I first got him, and all the credit goes to him and his work ethic and the hard work he put in,” Glick said. “I think Gwynn Park was an ideal situation for him because gave an opportunity to play a lot and learn from his mistakes. Playing on good teams really helped him where he didn’t have to shoulder the load.”

Boyd has spent a lot of time playing the past two summers with club teams, which he said has helped him immensely.

“I’ve been working on my footwork and all of that stuff for two years now,” Boyd said. “I played with Team Takeover my sophomore year. They helped me tremendously with my footwork. They played so many games. Then I joined Dynamic Disciples and they helped me tremendously with my coordination.”

Boyd’s conditioning has improved massively over the years, Glick said.

“Athletically, his stamina has gotten much better. Strength and coordination is much better,” he said. “In his first year, he played weak physically. He’s gotten some offensive moves where he can score consistently with a turnaround jumper and jump hook.”

In Glick’s six seasons at Gwynn Park, Boyd is the fourth Division I college player the Yellow Jackets have produced: Sean Thomas (Morgan State), Harold Washington (Canisius) and Ford (Howard).

“I’m just blessed to get the opportunity to play high school basketball and get a scholarship to a good school,” Boyd said.

thampton@gazette.netShare on Facebook



Thursday, September 29
Gwynn Park's 6'9 Marcel Boyd commits to Howard

Gwynn Park's 6'9 Marcel Boyd commits to Howard

Published on: Thursday, September 29, 2011

By Brandy L. Simms

Gwynn Park 6-foot-9 senior Marcel Boyd has verbally committed to play college basketball at Howard, opting for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school over Robert Morris, according to Yellow Jackets head coach Mike Glick.

“I think Howard is a great place for him,” said Glick, who noted the Bison are getting an athletic player with tremendous upside. “Howard is a great choice for him.”

As a junior, Boyd averaged 5.5 points, six rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in guiding the Brandywine school to a 17-9 record, including a Maryland 2A state semifinal appearance.

Boyd will join former high school teammate and current Howard freshman Brandon Ford at the Washington, D.C. school.

The Bison also boast Prince George’s County products and freshmen players Prince Okoroh (Eleanor Roosevelt) and Brandon Bailey (Largo).

Boyd is among the county’s first players in the 2012 class to verbally commit to college. DeMatha seniors James Robinson (Pittsburgh) and Jerami Grant (Syracuse) have also made oral commitments to Division I college programs.

Gwynn Park lost all five starters to graduation but return seven seniors this year including Boyd and 6-foot-11, 270-pound center Kevin Walters.

“We’ve got a very good senior class,” Glick said.



Wednesday, July 6
Gwynn Park’s summer season ends
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Gwynn Park’s summer season ends

Tuesday evening in the quarterfinal round of the Falconers’ Summer Basketball League at Riverdale Baptist School in Upper Marlboro, the Yellow Jackets did little to alter that reputation as they fell to Suitland, 29-24.

Gwynn Park (4-5) managed only two points from rising senior Marcel Boyd in a sluggish third quarter. The Yellow Jackets, who dressed only six players for the game, did get 10 points in the game from rising senior Jarvis Hawkins, however. Suitland managed only two points in the third period as well on a layup by Dequan Doyle.

“I thought we played as good game,” Hawkins said. “I know it was tough with only six players. But we stayed with them. It was a good summer. I think we have a lot of good players coming back, and we have some players moving up [from the junior varsity team]. This whole summer league was a good experience. I think we learned a lot about working together. I think we can win the [2A South] region again. I’m confident we can do that again.”

Hawkins scored the Yellow Jackets’ first three points and later added the first four points of the second quarter, which ended with the score tied 10-10. Hawkins had a conventional 3-point play late in the fourth quarter to bring the Yellow Jackets within one at 23-22 with 2 minutes, 19 seconds remaining. But Suitland’s Keyshawn Miller countered with two buckets and Lamont Reed had one as the Rams pulled away in the final 2 minutes to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals against top-seed Riverdale Baptist.

Wednesday’s semifinal games were played after The Gazette went to press. The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. today at Riverdale Baptist.

Gwynn Park summer coach Spencer Way commended his undermanned squad for its effort on Tuesday and throughout the summer.

“We were a little sluggish in spots, but when you only have six players that’s going to happen,” Way said. “We tried to slow it down. We just had too many turnovers in key situations late in the game. But overall, I thought it was a good summer for these guys.”

Yellow Jackets’ rising junior Tracey Hudgens spent the previous two seasons with the junior varsity squad, but he expects to be part of the varsity team this coming winter. Hudgens connected on two jumpers in the second quarter, including the team’s only 3-pointer of the night during an 11-3 run that gave the Yellow Jackets their last lead of the game at 15-13 with 2 minutes left in the first half. Those buckets were quickly offset by two jumpers from Miller, which gave the Rams an 18-15 edge at the intermission.

“I think this summer showed me how much harder I have to work,” Hudgens said. “I watched the varsity games last year and they’re a lot better than JV. I have to improve my strength and conditioning, and I need to become more aggressive on the floor. It’s a lot tougher playing with only six players. You don’t get to rest. [Suitland] had some good shooters. I tried to stay with [Miller] but he got away from me a couple of times.”

tblack@gazette.net



Wednesday, June 15
Flowers, Gwynn Park basketball teams focused on future
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Flowers, Gwynn Park basketball teams focused on future

Charles H. Flowers High School rising junior Brandon Green said Jaguars’ boys’ basketball coach Billy Lanier rarely mentions his days at Oxon Hill.

“The only time he brings up Oxon Hill is to tell us that he has rings and we don’t,” Green said. “He mentions Oxon Hill to let us know what it takes to win.”

Two years ago, the Jaguars won just four games. Last year, they won 14 and found themselves in the 4A South Region final in their second season under Lanier, who guided Oxon Hill to Class 4A state titles in 2000 and 2003. Lanier’s passion and confidence has rubbed off on his players at Flowers.

“We feed off him and he gets into us and into our heads,” said Green, who averaged 13.5 points per game last season. “That fuels us.”

Despite losing Tuesday night’s Falconers Summer League game to Gwynn Park, 30-23, the Jaguars understand that championships are built piece by piece and by doing all of the little things that helps teams become successful.

“We just have to keep working hard in the weight room, getting better on our own,” said Flowers rising junior Brandon Holloway.

Meanwhile, Gwynn Park was without a formidable presence on Tuesday, as rising senior guard Eric Batts continues to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee, which he suffered in December. He has faced physical and mental challenges as he rehabilitates.

“It was emotional, especially when I first got the surgery,” Batts said. “Sometimes it felt like I wasn’t going to come back. It’s been real frustrating, especially considering it happened in my junior year, one of the most important years of my high school life. But I have people to push me like my family and my friends. I have great support behind me.”

Batts said he does not expect to be cleared by doctors to resume team activities until August or September.

The Yellow Jackets ended up getting hot at the right time last season, capturing the 2A South Region title before losing in the state semifinals. Batts believes the team’s fortunes may have been different had he been able to play.

“I feel like I brought that toughness to the team,” said Batts, who averaged 7.3 points per game through seven games in December. “I felt that when I went down, they got down a little bit but they got it together and started to win. I think if I would have played, we would have won the state title.”

Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick wants to make sure Batts comes back totally healed.

“I think the most important thing not only for Eric but for anybody is that they’re young and have a lot of career in front of them,” Glick said. “We want him to come back at 100 percent and not too early, and that’s the biggest thing. If he could rejoin us by January and be 100 percent, I would be elated.”

Glick said Batts has almost been like an extra assistant coach while he’s been sidelined, adding that seeing the game from that perspective will make Batts a better player once he’s back on the court.

“We really need his leadership on a team that returns no starters,” Glick said. “He’s had as good an attitude as any player I’ve coach with a major injury. He’s not depressed or down. He’s really been a great leader for our kids.”

thampton@gazette.net



Monday, March 14
Final 2010-11 Washington Post Top Poll (GP #13)

Montrose Christian boys finish No. 1 in The Post Top 20

The Post final boys’ rankings have a loaded Montrose Christian team atop the poll. The Mustangs won 22 of 23 games, including wins over national powers Oak Hill and Findlay Prep.

Other candidates for the top spot included Maryland 4A champion North Point (27-0), which enjoyed unprecedented success for a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference team, Interstate Athletic Conference champion Episcopal (25-3) and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and City Title champ DeMatha (26-7).

1. Montrose Christian (22-1) Next: NHSI, Mar. 31-April 2

2. North Point ( 27-0) Maryland 4A champions

3. Episcopal (25-3) IAC champions

4. DeMatha (27-6) WCAC champions; next: Alhambra Invitational,

5. Gonzaga (24-7) WCAC finalists; next: Alhambra Invitational,

6. Friendly (23-4) Maryland 3A semifinalists

7. Landon (19-6) IAC runners-up

8. Magruder (22-4) Maryland 4A semifinalists

9. National Christian (26-5) Closed with nine-game win streak

10. TC Williams (25-6) Va. AAA semifinalists

11. Springbrook (22-3) Maryland 4A West region finalist

12. Potomac Falls (30-1) Va. AA Div. 4 champions

13. Gwynn Park (17-9) Maryland 2A semifinalists

14. Oakland Mills (25-1) Maryland 2A South region finalist

15. Paul VI (21-11) WCAC semifinalists

16. Eleanor Roosevelt (17-9) Maryland 4A semifinalists

17. Theorde Roosevelt (25-6)DCIAA champions

18. Potomac (VA) (23-3) Va. AAA quarterfinalists

19. Middleburg (26-5) VISAA Div. 2 finalists

20. Herndon (23-3) Va. AAA Northern Region semifinalist



Saturday, March 12
Maryland 2A boys basketball: Gwynn Park’s season ends on a sour note in loss to Digital Harbor

Maryland 2A boys basketball: Gwynn Park’s season ends on a sour note in loss to Digital Harbor

By Josh Barr, Saturday, March 12, 1:02 AM

As the final minutes ticked off the clock, there was no sobbing on the sidelines for 13th-ranked Gwynn Park. The game’s outcome had long been decided. Coach Mike Glick donned his black suit jacket well before the postgame handshake, which was interesting only for the unusually high number of tournament officials chaperoning both teams.

The Yellow Jackets fell behind early, then were routed in the second half, losing 75-45 to Digital Harbor of Baltimore in a feisty Maryland 2A semifinal on Friday night at Comcast Center.

Five days after knocking off undefeated Oakland Mills in an emotional regional final, Gwynn Park was unable to muster another big victory. The Yellow Jackets (17-9) trailed 11-6 after one quarter and 29-18 at halftime before things quickly unraveled.

Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Gwynn Park guard Daniel Henry and Digital Harbor guard Kevin Smith engaged in a lengthy staredown under the basket. That was followed by several players on both teams exchanging shoves and menacing looks. Henry and Smith were assessed technical fouls and Gwynn Park was assessed a team technical foul, apparently for having players come off the bench.

The game finished without further incident, though there was plenty of tension.

“I’m not used to it, we’re not used to being in that situation,” Glick said. “We’re usually very resilient and can get back in games. It was a weird feeling. I was glad we kept our composure and were able to shake hands at the end.

“We were thoroughly outplayed in every aspect of the game. It doesn’t detract from our season, but it’s tough to end our season on this note.”

Henry led Gwynn Park with 15 points. But leading scorer Brandon Ford, who entered averaging 18 points, was held to a season-low two as Digital Harbor played a box-and-one defense on him.

“We studied the film on YouTube, that’s all we had,” said Rams Coach Johnnie Grimes, whose team is trying for its second state title in three seasons. “It worked.”

Digital Harbor (15-7) advanced to Saturday’s 6 p.m. final against Easton, which defeated South Carroll, 69-52.



Saturday, March 12
Digital Harbor blows by Gwynn Park in Class 2A state semifinals

Digital Harbor blows by Gwynn Park in Class 2A state semifinals



Three Rams players post double-doubles in 75-45 rout. (VIDEOS COMING)


 

Cook, Smith, N. Manns

RAMS ON A ROLL: (from left) Daquan Cook, Kevin Smith and Nyme Manns combined for 38 points in the win.

VIDEO GALLERY

 

At the start of the season, Digital Harbor’s boys basketball coach Johnnie Grimes knew that he had a collective group of talented players. But with several transfer and first-year players, he also knew that it would take a while for the team to build its chemistry.

After the Rams’ dominating performance in Friday night’s Class 2A state semifinals against Gwynn Park, it’s hard to believe that this squad hasn’t played together for a couple of years.

The Baltimore City school had three players tally double-doubles on its way to a dominating, 75-45, rout over the Yellow Jackets of Prince George’s County at the University of Maryland.

“Right now, they are really, really jelling and they are giving so much of a big effort on the defensive end, especially in rebounding the ball,” Grimes said of his team.

“In the beginning, we knew that we could jell but we started off bad,” junior guard Daquan Cook explained.  “But we knew that we would come together. We practiced hard every day.”

Digital Harbor began the season with a 3-3 mark but slowly started to play as a cohesive unit as the year wore on.  In last Friday’s 2A North Regional championship, the Rams avenged an earyl season loss to Edmondson by stunning the Red Storm, 80-55, to claim the title.

Digital turned in another impressive win at the Comcast Center. Junior Antonio Manns led the way with a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds. Cook filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Nyme Manns added 15 points and 10 boards.  Senior Kevin Smith contributed eight points.

Daniel Henry had 15 points, while Tion Barnes and Jalen Harris each had 9 for Gwynn Park (17-9).

“I think we came into the season with not much chemistry,” said Antonio Manns. “We had a lot of transfers and then once we got ourselves together, we just started playing together and going hard…We just want to go out and play strong and play together.”

The Rams (15-7) scored the first seven points of the game behind a jumper by Antonio Manns, a layup by Cook and a three-point play from Nyme Manns.  Gwynn Park closed to within 7-4 with 3:33 left in the first quarter but that was the closest the Jackets would get over the remaining 27 minutes.

Digital Harbor pushed the lead to 29-18 at halftime. Ronald Epps (seven points) finished a putback inside, Antonio Manns scored inside and Nyme Manns flushed a one-handed jam in a decisive 13-3 run in the third quarter to open the Rams’ lead to 44-26 midway through the period.

Ahead by 21 points entering the fourth quarter, Digital Harbor finished off Gwynn Park with an 11-0 run to push their advantage to 32 points.

The Rams dominated in every phase of the game.  They out-rebounded the taller Yellow Jackets, 49-29, including grabbing 14 offensive boards.  Digital Harbor was quicker to loose balls and played unselfishly.  Of the 29 field goals that they scored, 15 of those buckets were assisted.

“On this night, we got beat by a better team. I thought Digital Harbor played great,” said Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick. “They had an excellent game plan…In this game we were thoroughly outplayed in every aspect of the game.”

The Rams will face Easton, a 69-52 winner over South Carroll on Friday, in the Class 2A state championship tomorrow, Saturday, at 5 p.m.  Digital Harbor is looking for its second state crown in three years after winning the Class 1A title in 2009.

No. 8 Digital Harbor 75, Gwynn Park 45
  1 2 3 4 F
Digital Harbor 11 18 24 22 75
Gwynn Park 6 12 14 13 45
Digital Harbor:
Cook 15, K. Smith 8, Epps 7, N. Manns 15, A. Manns 16, Williams 2, Shango 2, Barnes 7, Conyers 2, D. Smith 1. Totals 29 20-31 75.
Gwynn Park:
Hall 1, Ford 2, Walton 2, Henry 15, Barnes 9, Hawkins 6, Harris 9, Grant 1.Totals 18 13-19


Saturday, March 12
Digital Harbor boys cruise to Class 2A state final

10:16 p.m. EST, March 11, 2011

COLLEGE PARK
Mid-November through the month or so that followed — a time when the Digital Harbor boys basketball team was more like an uneven collection of individual talent — is now a distant memory.

No more struggling to identify roles. No more having one player or the next trying to do too much. No more losses.

The surging Rams, who started the season with a 2-4 mark, have turned the corner and then some.


Taking turns stepping up on offense, rebounding at both ends and playing solid team defense, the No. 6 Rams proved too tough to handle for Gwynn Park in the Class 2A state semifinals, coming away with a dominating 75-45 win over the Yellow Jackets from Prince George's County Friday night at Comcast Center.

A state champion in Class 1A in 2009, Digital Harbor (15-7) will try to add a 2A crown when it returns to Comcast Center on Saturday to meet the South Carroll-Easton winner. Game time is set for 6 p.m.

Antonio Manns (16 points, 11 rebounds), Nyme Manns (15, 11) and Daquan Cook (15, 10) — all junior transfers — registered double doubles as Digital Harbor shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Yellow Jackets (17-9), 49-29.

"I think we came into the season with not much chemistry — we had a lot of transfers — and then once we got ourselves together, we just started playing together and going hard. We just want o go out and play strong and play together," said Antonio Manns.

That was certainly the case in Friday's stunning win over Gwynn Park, which lost to City in last year's title game but was banking on that experience pulling them through this year.

The Rams led 29-18 at the half and methodically pulled away in the third quarter. Five different players scored in the pivotal quarter — Cook leading the way with eight — as the Rams took a 53-32 lead into the final quarter.

Senior point guard Kevin Smith, who scored eight points and took care of the basketball, isn't surprised the team is one win away from a state title.

"Yeah, that was our goal from the beginning — to get to where we are today. We had a setback with the losses, but we still had our goal," said Smith, who transferred from Huntington Prep in West Virginia. "We just started over at practice, started from the basics and worked our way up. It's paying off."

After a tough 68-65 loss to No. 4 Dunbar to end their regular season, the Rams hit their stride in the tough Class 2A North region, grinding out a 72-70 road win at Lake Clifton in an early-round game before avenging an 83-66 loss against Edmondson with an 80-55 statement performance for the regional crown.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

DH – A. Manns 16, Cook 15, N. Manns 15, Epps 7, K. Smith 8, Barnes 7, Shango 2, Williams 2, Conyers 2, D. Smith 1. Totals: 25 20-31 75.

GP – Henry 11, Barnes 9, Harris 9, Ford 6, Hall 1, Walton 2, Hawkins 6, Grant 1. Totals: 14 13-19 45.

Half: DH, 29-18


Saturday, March 12
Gwynn Park falls to Digital Harbor in 2A semifinal
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  

 
Christopher Anderson/The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford (left) drives to the basket during Friday night's 2A state semifinal game against Digital Harbor at the Comcast Center in College Park.









Saturday, March 12
Gwynn Park finally falls
Gwynn Park finally falls
by Antwain Jackson 3/12/2011

In Gwynn Park's third appearance in the state final four in the last four years, the Yellow Jackets' dreams of winning the 2A championship were shattered again as they fell to Digital Harbor 75-45.

Digital Harbor opened the game on a 7-0 run and never looked backed. Afterwards, their coach Johnnie Grimes talked about his defensive strategy against Gwynn Park's star guard Brandon Ford. "He's the one that makes them go - he does it all. We just needed to take him out of the game," he said.

Ford couldn't find his rhythm, Gwynn Park senior forward Tion Barnes picked up two quick fouls, and the team shot only 29 percent in the first half. Still, Gwynn Park went into the half only down 29-18.

The third quarter is where Digital Harbor ran away with the game, though, as Gwynn Park's poor shooting continued in the 2nd half. The Yellow Jackets missed layups, midrange jump shots and 3 pointers; Gwynn Park shot an awful 14-58 from the field overall.

Their poor shooting led to many fast break points for Digital Harbor. Gwynn Park struggled with its transition defense and on the glass, they were out-rebounded 49-29.

And the easy transition buckets buried them into a deficit they could not overcome.

The Yellow Jackets started the fourth quarter down 53-32 and their hopes of making it to tomorrow's 2A final slowly dwindled away.

Despite being down big in the fourth quarter, Gwynn Park's effort never lessened. "I was still enjoying the game, it was my final game," said Ford. "I wish I was still playing right now."

Senior guard Daniel Henry led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points and three rebounds, while Barnes added nine and seven. And Digital Harbor junior forward Antonio Manns led all scorers with 16 points and added 11 rebounds.

After having a season full of ups and downs, a tough conference schedule and being battle tested in Maryland's state tournament, Gwynn Park, the Maryland Class 2A South Regional Champs, finished the season 17-9.



Saturday, March 12
Digital Harbor 75 Gwynn Park 45
Friday Semifinal's
Digital Harbor 75  Gwynn Park 45
Friday's headliner was Digital Harbor out of Baltimore City and the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets out of PG County in the first 2A semi-final.  Gwynn Park was making their third trip to the Comcast Center in the last 4 years and was stacked with high-profile seniors and a boatload of experience.  Gwynn Park is led by their tandem of 1,000 point scorers Tion Barnes and Brandon Ford.  Digital Harbor is led by their dynamic back court of Daquan Cook and Kevin Smith.  Both teams have strong supporting casts.  Outside of a couple 4A schools Digital Harbor may be the hottest team in the state.  Almost their entire starting line-up transferred in from other schools for the 2010-11 campaign.  It took some time for the Rams to gel but they are currently clicking on all cylinders. 

On Friday evening one team's season had to end.  Digital Harbor came out very aggressive and used a box-and-one for almost the entire game on Yellow Jacket Brandon Ford.  Tion Barnes picked up two very early fouls.  From the get go Digital Harbor dominated the game in all phases.  They outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 49-29.  They shot 50% from the field while holding Gwynn Park to just 24.1%.  It was a humiliating loss for the 2A south regional champions.  At the half Gwynn Park trailed by a 11 and seemed lucky to be that close.  The game was certainly in striking distance as the teams came out of the locker rooms.  But the Rams intensity was dominant and no Yellow Jackets could get on track.  The loan bright spot for Gwynn Park was senior Daniel Henry who continued his stellar post season play scoring 15 points in 27 minutes.  Gwynn Park had multiple players in foul trouble throughout and coach Mike Glick tinkered with many different lineups.  Digital Harbor is a heavy favorite to bring home the hardware. A 25 point win versus Edmondson in the regional final and a 30 point trouncing over Gwynn Park in the state semifinal are two exceptional outings.


Wednesday, March 9
Gwynn Park eager for shot at 2A state title
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  

Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball coach Mike Glick said that if the Yellow Jackets are going to win the Brandywine program's first state title since 1988, this will be the year.

 


Saturday, March 5
Gwynn Park upends No. 10 Oakland Mills, 52-48, in Md. 2A South final
Md. boys' basketball roundup

Gwynn Park upends No. 10 Oakland Mills, 52-48, in Md. 2A South final

Video
Daniel Henry's 22 points led all scorers as Gwynn Park advanced to the state tournament with a 52-48 win over Oakland Mills in the 2A South Final.

From Staff Reports
Saturday, March 5, 2011; 12:21 AM

 

Daniel Henry saw an opening on the left wing and drove to the basket. As a defender banged into his body, the Gwynn Park senior guard deftly banked the ball in the basket and then converted a free throw for the biggest three-point play of the Yellow Jackets' season, and they held on for a 52-48 victory over 10th-ranked Oakland Mills in the Maryland 2A South region final before a sold-out crowd of 1,500 in Columbia.

"I knew they couldn't guard me, so I wanted to take it to the rack," Henry said. "I didn't want to lose."

In a rematch of last year's regional final that was emotionally charged from the opening tip, neither team led by more than seven points. Gwynn Park (17-8) trailed most of the way before rallying for its third regional title in four years and ending Oakland Mills's season with its only blemish against 25 victories.

"It was the craziest place I ever played in my life," Henry said. "The craziest game I ever played in. The atmosphere was just crazy."

The Scorpions' star senior forward, Greg Whittington, finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks despite being the focus of a diamond-and-one defense that also double-teamed Whittington every time he touched the ball.

Still, it was Whittington's three-point shot from the left corner in transition that gave Oakland Mills a 47-44 lead with less than two minutes left.

But guard Brandon Ford (19 points) answered with a quick drive to the basket for Gwynn Park. After a quick miss, Henry hurried down the court, and his three-point play gave the Yellow Jackets the lead for good at 49-48 with just more than one minute left.

"We had been looking for someone to assume the [role of a] third scorer and with three weeks left in the season Daniel Henry stepped up," Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick said. "He's been the difference our last three weeks."



Saturday, March 5
Gwynn Park Puts Dagger into Oakland Mills Again!
 March 5. 2011                                                                             
Gwynn Park Puts Dagger into Oakland Mills Again!
Capitol Hoops Press

 

Oakland Mills is sick of losing to Gwynn Park. In two straight seasons the PG county power has put an end to the Scorpions in the post-season.  Oakland Mills and all of Howard county believed the third time would be the charm.  In a game that sold out over 2 hours before tip and over 1,000 people had to be turned away, Gwynn Park pulled of a stunning upset in a game where they were they trailed most of the way. 


Oakland Mills, who entered the game perfect at 25-0 had a decisive home court advantage in Columbia, Maryland on Friday night.  Gary Williams and the entire Maryland coaching staff were on hand to see the highly coveted Greg Whittington.  Everything seemed lined up for the Oakland Mills to win the 2A South regional Championship and make the trip to the Comcast Center for the state semifinals.  But Gwynn Park played spoiler behind a magnificent defensive effort and some big time perimeter shooting.

As the game started it was clear that Gwynn Park was going to have to play a disciplined game and do everything in their power to stop Gregg Whittington from exploding.  Things didn't start out according to plan for the Yellow Jackets.  They were held scoreless for the first 7 minutes and 11 seconds of the game.  Luckily, Oakland Mills only put 7 points on the board in that span.  Brandon Ford got the Yellow Jackets on the board with a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left in the 1st.  From there Gwynn Park opened up their perimeter shooting as they connected for 5 trey balls over the next 7 minutes.  Oakland Mills' two leading scorers, Greg Whittington and Joe Kiely had solid first halves as well as they combined for 17 of the Scorpions 21 first half points.  From the get-go Gwynn Park played a diamond-and-one defense with 4 players in a zone and the loan roamer following Whittington step for step.  Oakland Mills held a 21-19 lead as the game went to half.

Oakland Mills started the second half out the same way they started out Wednesday night's second half in their victory over Douglass. They got out to a sizable lead after hitting the locker rooms virtually even.  Oakland Mills grew the lead out to 33-26 after Greg Whittington made a pair from the line with 2:14 left in the third.  The crowd was in a frenzy and it seemed like Oakland Mills was going to run away with it but the Yellow Jackets kept fighting.. and fighting.  Daniel Henry hit a running layup plus the foul with 2:08 remaining in the third. After connecting on the free throw the crowd settled down and Gwynn Park was within 4.  The fourth quarter proved to be a back and forth clash as both teams exchanged buckets.  Midway through the 4th Gwynn Park reeled of 6 unanswered and looked to be in control as the game was coming down to the wire.  With 3:03 left Oakland Mills point guard Joe Kiely hit a huge 3 to tie the game at 44. 

One minute and 7 seconds later Greg Whittington broke the tie with a deep 3 and it looked like Oakland Mills was in control.  But seconds later Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford rushed the ball up the court and hit a driving layup to cut the lead to one with 1:43 remaining.  On the ensuing possession Greg Whittington missed a turnaround jumper and the games MVP, Gwynn Parks Daniel Henry pushed the ball up the court and hit a difficult and 1 to put Gwynn Park up for good. After hitting the free throw the Yellow Jackets led 49-47.  Oakland Mills would only score 1 more point the rest of the way and after Gwynn Park hit a couple big free throws to seal it the party started for the PG county school and approximately 400 of their fans who were lucky enough to make it into the gym. 

The story of the game was Gwynn Parks trio of seniors who all stepped up and had incredible games on the biggest stage.  While Tion Barnes only scored 6 points he went off for 18 rebounds and 6 blocks and was a menace inside.  He gave three very hard fouls to driving Oakland Mills players that really sent a message.  Oakland Mills was very hesitant to bring the ball inside in the half court setting.  Almost all of their points in the paint came in transition.  Daniel Henry played the game of his life as he has really stepped up under the bright lights.  Henry went for 22 points on the night including 16 in the second half and seemed to hit every clutch bucket that Gwynn Park needed.  Brandon Ford played a tremendous game as well, scoring 20 including four 3-pointers.  The role players played their roles very well, all helping out in stopping Whittington.

The Yellow Jackets advance to the Comcast Center at University of Maryland on Friday at 7PM as they will face off with Digiatl Harbor of Baltimore who upset Edmondson on Friday night by a score of 80-55 in the 2A North Regional championship. 


Saturday, March 5
Gwynn Park boys capture 2A South title
It technically was just a game.


Thursday, March 3
Henry's scoring lifts GP to region final @ Glenelg 76-62
Seniors Brandon Ford and Tion Barnes are known quantities - the two leading scorers for the Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball team


Tuesday, March 1
Gwynn Park Rolls to Playoff Rout of Long Reach 100-50

The Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball team executed a dominating press and scored at will in a 100-50 victory against Long Reach High of Columbia in a 2A South Region quarterfinal game in Brandywine on Monday night.


Friday, February 18
Douglass focuses on defense, beats Gwynn Park 78-65
The Frederick Douglass High School boys' basketball team utilized a 2-3 zone defense to shut down Gwynn Park big man Tion Barnes, and the Eagles finished the regular season with a 78-65 victory against the Yellow Jackets in Brandywine on Thursday night.



Wednesday, February 16
With mind free, Ford lifts Gwynn Park over Fairmont 62-61


Monday, February 14
Gonzaga C Oliver Ellison, Gwynn Park G Brandon Ford commit to Howard U.
Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 02/14/2011

Gonzaga C Oliver Ellison, Gwynn Park G Brandon Ford commit to Howard U.

By Josh Barr

It was a big week for Howard University's basketball team, as first-year coach Kevin Nickelberry and his staff landed a pair of local recruits.

Earlier last week, the Bison got a verbal commitment from Gonzaga center Oliver Ellison. And this past Thursday night, Howard got a pledge from Gwynn Park point guard Brandon Ford, who in the fall had committed to Loyola.

Along with Largo forward Brandon Bailey, that gives Howard three local high school seniors who plan to enroll as freshman next school year.

"They finally got some local recruiters," Gonzaga Coach Steve Turner said, noting that assistant coaches Travis Lyons and Keith Coutreyer have longstanding ties to the area. Lyons is a DeMatha graduate and Coutreyer previously was the coach at Laurel High.

Those local ties were especially handy when it came to recruiting Ford. Nickelberry and Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick once were assistant coaches together at Columbia Union College, when Coutreyer played for the school. When Glick was hired as the head coach at Pallotti, Nickelberry came along as his assistant.

By Josh Barr  | February 14, 2011; 10:41 AM ET



Wednesday, February 9
Yellow Jackets notch road victory at league co-leader Surrattsville 72-66
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  

The Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball team is starting to feel like it did at this point last season.


Wednesday, February 2
Gwynn Park puts it all together to beat Largo 79-71
 
Raphael Talisman/The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Daniel Henry drives to the basket as Largo's Donald Hunt (center right) and Brandon Bailey (right) trail him in the first half of Tuesday's game at Largo High. Gwynn Park won 79-71.



Tuesday, February 1
Douglass wins intense battle vs. Gwynn Park 59-52


Leah L. Jones/The Gazette
Kavon Glover (left) of Douglass battles for possession of the ball with Gwynn Park's Nick Walton during Monday's game at Douglass High in Upper Marlboro. Glover had a game-high 24 points as the Eagles beat Gwynn Park, 59-52.










Saturday, January 29
Morton's clutch scoring sparks red-hot Friendly over Gwynn Park 62-54

Leah L. Jones/The Gazette
Friendly's Sherrod Baltimore (left) and Davon Morton celebrate near the end of Friday's game against Gwynn Park. The Patriots earned a 62-54 victory at Gwynn Park High in Brandywine.


Wednesday, January 26
Gwynn Park pulls away to beat Central 73-57
Through the first period of the Central High School boys' basketball team's game against Gwynn Park on Tuesday night, the Falcons looked like they were still giant-killers.


Wednesday, January 19
Basketball teams adapt to schedule changes
For the second week in a row, winter weather postponed Tuesday evening's slate of high school basketball games, leaving coaches facing the prospect of balancing practices with makeup games over the final six weeks of the regular season.


Friday, January 14
Weekend walk-through: Gwynn Park Boys' basketball

Weekend walk-through: Boys' basketball

Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 4:35 PM

With several top players returning from last season's team that reached the Maryland 2A championship game, Gwynn Park began the season with high expectations. Midway through the season, however, the Yellow Jackets are .500 and struggling to find their identity after losing a key player to injury.

Coach Mike Glick said that when junior shooting guard Eric Batts tore knee ligaments in a holiday tournament game against 13th-ranked Wise, things changed drastically for his team. Two other starters were injured in that game - forward Tion Barnes and guard Daniel Henry - and have since returned, but Batts, who averaged 7.3 points, is out for the season.

"We were down to Wise by two when Batts went down, it changed the whole season," Glick said. "He was out heart and soul, our best defensive guard and hardest worker on our team."

With Batts out, Gwynn Park (5-5, 4-2 Prince George's 3A/2A/1A) has had great difficulty scoring against zone defenses, which nearly every opponent has played. It did not help that the Yellow Jackets had a challenging schedule that also included nonleague games against Virginia AAA defending champion I.C. Norcom, Wise and Riverdale Baptist.

Guard Brandon Ford, a Loyola recruit, has been the only Yellow Jacket to play in every game. He is averaging 17.7 points, while Barnes averages 11.9 points. Those two players will need to carry the load again Friday, when Gwynn Park hosts Fairmont Heights (5-5, 3-3), which features senior forward Lamont Adair (19.6 points per game).

"We're struggling shooting the basketball from outside and everybody has played us zone," Glick said. "We don't have a consistent outside shooter and everybody is shading Brandon. The season is by no means over for us. We just have to get better."



Wednesday, January 12
Shot clock slowly gaining foothold
Slowly but surely, the shot clock is making its way into local high school basketball, and the push to make it a universal part of the sport across the nation is gaining strength.


Saturday, January 8
Quick start sparks Surrattsville to victory vs Gwynn Park 69-62


Friday, December 31
Riverdale Baptist ends long day with victory over Gwynn Park

Two hours after losing 83-73 to Bishop O'Connell on Thursday in the consolation game of the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic at North Point High School, the Riverdale Baptist boys' basketball team fought through rush hour traffic and fatigue to defeat Gwynn Park, 63-46, in the third-place game of the Maryland National Hoops Classic at Wise High.



Thursday, December 30
Wise 58, Gwynn Park 46

Wise 58, Gwynn Park 46

In the anticipated nightcap between two county public school teams with aspirations of winning their respective state titles in March, the host Wise boys' team overcame a slow start to edge away from Gwynn Park, 58-46.

Wise (6-1) started slowly, spotting Gwynn Park 6-0 and 10-3 leads before the Pumas closed out the first quarter on an 8-0 run and eventually held the Yellow Jackets scoreless for nearly six minutes before Brandon Ford (16 points) hit a three-point field goal two minutes into the second period to end the drought. Ford was the only member of the Yellow Jackets to reach double-digits on Wednesday.

"I think it might have been nerves, jitters," said Wise coach and athletic director O.J. Johnson. "We just had to collect ourselves early. We had seen them several times during the summer and realized they didn't have our size inside, so we just played a zone and made them shoot and boxed out inside. They have a good team, but tonight they struggled a little bit from the outside."

Wise owned a modest 23-21 lead at the break and the teams were tied on four different occasions midway through the third quarter until the Pumas used a 10-0 run to claim a 43-31 lead and eventually took a 44-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Jonathan Allen (10 points), John Savoy (15 points) and Anfernee Robinson (13 points) each contributed during the run that gave the Pumas a little breathing room heading into the final eight minutes.

"The bottom line was, we just didn't score," said Gwynn Park (4-3) coach Mike Glick. "You can't beat too many teams in the county when you only score 46 points. We just did not shoot the ball well tonight. They played a zone and stayed in it and we didn't shoot well." 

After Robinson opened the fourth quarter with a bucket for Wise, Gwynn Park countered with a 7-0 run to get within 46-42 with 4:30 remaining on a three-pointer from Kevin Miles. But the Pumas would limit the Yellow Jackets to only one more field goal during the contest and the hosts widened their advantage by hitting 8 of 13 free throws over the last three minutes.

tblack@gazette.net



Wednesday, December 29
Gwynn Park rolls with the punches in victory
Gwynn Park's Daniel Henry steals the ball during the Yellow Jackets' 69-55 win over Eastern (D.C.) on the first day of the National Hoops Classic at Wise on Tuesday.


Wednesday, December 22
Largo goes OT to hold off Gwynn Park rally

Rachel Fus/The Gazette
Largo's Damante McNeil (right) drives to the basket as Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford reaches for the ball during Tuesday's game at Gwynn Park High School.


Monday, December 20
Washinton Post Top 20 12/21/10

Washington Post Rankings

December 21, 2010

Boys Basketball

PostRankSchoolRecord
1 DeMatha 6-0
2 Montrose Christian 7-0
3 Gonzaga 5-1
4 Gwynn Park 3-1
5 Paul VI Catholic 4-2
6 Springbrook 4-0
7 Landon 6-1
8 McNamara 6-1
9 Episcopal 7-1
10 Largo 3-0
11 St. Mary's Ryken 7-1
12 National Christian 5-2
13 Magruder 4-0
14 St. Stephen's/St Agnes 7-0
15 O'Connell 5-1
16 Chantilly 5-2
17 Oakland Mills 6-0
18 Surrattsville 5-0
19 Potomac Falls 6-0
20 Riverdale Baptist 7-3


Monday, December 20
The Capitol Hoops Top 25 Poll 12/21/10

The Capitol Hoops Top 25 Poll (DC/MD/VA Including Baltimore)

Updated: Sunday December 19, 2010  7:25pm
Rank School Name Record Prev Conf.
1 Dematha  Hyattsville , MD   
Although there are four other undefeated teams directly behind , Stags remain the team to beat. 
6-0   WCAC
2 Montrose Christian Rockville , MD  
Playing great team basketball . but strength of schedule in the area keeps them at #2.
6-0   IND
3 Princeton Day Lanham , MD     
Chris Thomas is averaging over 30ppg , and their mew transfers keep them amongst elite.
9-0   IND
4 St. Frances  Baltimore  , MD  
RJ Williams and Greg Lewis earned the #1 spot in Baltimore and bring senior leadership.
6-0   MIAA
5 Gonzaga Washington , DC    
On paper the Eagles are as talented as they come , won 3 straight after losing to Carroll.
5-1   WCAC
6 Springbrook Silver Spring  , MD  
Dominating MOCO again for the 4th year in a row and if Magruder cant do it on Tuesday no one can.
4-0   MD4A
7 Bishop McNamara  Forestville  , MD  
One word for the Mustangs is HOT , Marcus Thornton is leading the way with 23ppg.
6-1   WCAC
8 City College  Baltimore  , MD    
Although the suffered a loss to SFA , they will still win 20 games with Nick Faust at the helm.
3-1   MD2A
9 Gwynn Park  Brandywine , MD
After getting obliterated by IC Norcum , Gwynn Park has done the same to it's recent opponents.
3-1   MD2A
10 Episcopal  Alexandria  , VA
Kethan Savage and Arnaud Moto make one of the best backcourts in the area but lost to Hill School.
7-1   IAC
11 Patterson  Baltimore  , MD 4-0   MD4A
12 Bishop O'Connell Arlington  , VA 5-1   WCAC
13 National Christian Fort Washington , MD 5-2   IND
14 Largo  Largo  , MD 3-0   MD3A
15 St. Mary's Ryken  Leonardtown  , VA 7-1   WCAC
16 John Carroll  Bel Air , MD 10-0   MIAA
17 Milford Mill  Baltimore  , MD 4-0   MD3A
18 Fredrick Douglass Upper Marlboro , MD               4-1   MD3A
19 Wise Upper Marlboro , MD 4-1   MD4A
20 Paul VI Fairfax , VA 4-2   WCAC
21 Bullis  Olney  , MD 7-1   IAC
22 Landon  Bethesda  , MD 6-1   IAC
23 Surrattsville Brandywine , MD 4-0   MD3A
24 Oakland Mills  Columbia, MD 4-0   MD3A
25 Magruder  Rockville , MD 4-0    MD4A



Sunday, December 19
Gwynn Park boys pull away from Friendly 79-44


Thursday, December 9
Gwynn Park is poised to see the MD Big Dance again.
   

Gwynn Park is ready for action

 

 

 

 

Ron Bailey, Publisher

Gwynn Park is poised to see the MD Big Dance again.

December 6, 2010 - Having lost in last year's Maryland 2A State Final, Mike Glick's Gwynn Park Hornets left the University of Maryland's Comcast Center dejected and down, emotions that are understandable as the coach shared "We haven't won one since '88, and I've been to two state championships in four years". Adding to the school's angst is having "been to nine state Final Fours and seven championship games since '88, losing them all". Gwynn Park has a history that increases its desire to win, as 10 Maryland state titles have been secured by Gwynn Park; it has an expectation of success.

So does Glick in 2010-2011, his fifth Gwynn Park season: "Our number one goal is a state championship. There's really nothing else".

Despite facing a Murder's Row of 2A teams in the Free State, his squad could be built for it, returning four starters, eight veteran varsity and six four year players, leading him to rightly conclude "I've got a very, very experienced team".

 Tion Barnes loves to rattle the rims.

That includes 6'3", 190 pound senior shooting guard Brandon Ford, who is headed to Loyola (MD) next year, a player capable of filling up the basket. Senior forward Teon Barnes, standing 6'5" and weighing 210 pounds, is an athletic, rugged forward that fills lanes, defends and causes havoc. Barnes may be headed to Bowie State in 2011.

Marcel Boyd, a player Glick indicated "has only played two years. Is raw...He's a former football athlete that has only played two years of basketball. Boyd is a mid to high major athlete that has good hands", and should turn many heads this season as a 6'9", 230 pound junior big man. JUCO-bound, 6'0", 160 pound point guard Daniel Henry runs the show for Gwynn Park, while junior center 6'11", 270 pound Kevin Walters is a developing big man.

Simply put, GP is loaded this year.

A lineup with size, experience and skill, matched with Glick's coaching drive, could very well propel Gwynn Park past last year's 20-6 and statewide number two finish. To get there the Hornets must traverse a schedule that includes a National High School Hoops Festival matchup with I.C. Norcom (VA), an always challenging Prince George's County 3A/2A slate, along with participation in this year's Maryland Hoops Classic, Christmas-time event. There, Gwynn park is set to battle Vance (NC) in first round action, with a possible tilt with PG 4A power Wise after that.

"We are going to be a defensive oriented team that's bigger than most public schools in the state. We will rely on fast breaks and limiting teams to one shot" said Glick of how he plans on utilizing Gwynn Park, which he dubbed "easily my best team I've been at Gwynn Park".

The buzz around these Hornets are for real.



Tuesday, December 7
Washington Post Preseason Top 20 Rankings

Washington Post 2010-11 Preseason Boys Basketball Rankings

PostRankSchoolRecord
1 DeMatha 3-0
2 Montrose Christian 3-0
3 Gonzaga 2-1
4 Gwynn Park 0-0
5 Paul VI Catholic 3-1
6 Landon 4-1
7 Springbrook 0-0
8 Eleanor Roosevelt 0-1
9 Episcopal 3-0
10 W.T. Woodson 2-1
11 Chantilly 2-0
12 St. Mary's Ryken 5-1
13 National Christian 3-1
14 Largo 0-0
15 Bullis 1-0
16 Eastern 1-1
17 O'Connell 3-0
18 Magruder 0-0
19 St. Stephen's/St Agnes 4-0
20 Potomac Falls 3-0


Monday, December 6
The Capitol Hoops Top 25 Poll

The Capitol Hoops Top 25 Poll (DC/MD/VA Including Baltimore)

Updated: Monday December 6, 2010  9:09AM
Rank School Name Record Prev Conf.
1 Dematha  Hyattsville , MD    2-0   WCAC
2 Gonzaga Washington , DC   2-0   WCAC
3 City  Baltimore , MD      0-0   MD2A
4 Montrose Christian Rockville , MD   2-0   IND
5 Princeton Day  Lanham , MD  4-1   IND
6 Gwynn Park  Brandywine  , MD   0-0   MD2A
7 Springbrook Silver Spring  , MD   0-0   MD4A
8 Bishop O'Connell  Arlington , VA     2-0   WCAC
9 Landon  Bethesda , MD 3-0   IAC
10 Eleanor Roosevelt  Greenbelt  , MD 24-6   IND
11 St. Frances  Baltimore  , MD 1-0   MIAA
12 Episcopal  Alexandria  , VA 0-0   IAC
13 Patterson  Baltimore  , MD 0-0   MD4A
14 Wise  Upper Marlboro  , MD 0-0   MD4A
15 Paul VI  Fairfax  , VA 2-0   MD2A
16 National Chrisitan Fort Washington , MD 0-0   IND
17 Chantilly  Chantilly  , VA 1-0   VAAA
18 Digital Harbor Baltimore , MD               0-0   MD4A
19 Milford Mill  Baltimore  , MD 0-0   MD3A
20 St. Mary's Ryken Leonardtown  , MD 2-1   WCAC
21 Largo Largo , MD 0-0   MD3A
22 John Carroll  Baltimore , MD 2-0   MIAA
23 McNamara  Forestville  , MD 2-1   WCAC
24 Fredrick Douglass Upper Marlboro , MD 0-0   MD2A
25 Blake  Silver Spring , MD


Wednesday, October 6
Gwynn Park's Ford commits to Loyola College ~ PG Gazette
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  
Gwynn Park High School senior Brandon Ford made a verbal commitment on Tuesday to continue his basketball career at Loyola University in Baltimore.


Wednesday, October 6
B Ford & M Hopkins From Team Takeover Choose Colleges On Sameday
October 6. 2010
By Tim Chialastri
Capitol Hoops CEO
Ford , Hopkins Choose Colleges On Sameday  
Capitol Hoops Press

 

 

Mikael Hopkins (Dematha) , gave a verbal commitment to Georgetown yesterday and shortly after so did his Team Takeover teammate Brandon Ford (Gwynn Park). 

I'm just real excited , it's the happiest day of my life" , noted Ford via phone last night on choosing to commit to Loyola University in Baltimore , Md. The 6'2" combo guard was tabbed Prince George's County First Team last season for his play on the hardwood , but he also boasts a 3.7gpa and noted that he chose Loyola for more than just a future in basketball.

"I chose Loyola because of the help in the long run academically , and for connections that will last a lifetime" , explained Brandon as his Father ,  Ford Sr. shared similar views on the guard who also had offers from Howard , American and Winthrop. "They just came at him harder , they just showed what kind of support they have for him" shared his "Pops" who was equally excited about his 18 year old son.

Loyola (13-17) last season in the MAAC under Head Coach Jimmy Patsos , who was a former assistant at the University of Maryland for 13 seasons before taking over. "He is Real , I heard he's a crazy coach , but I'm used to playing for crazy coaches , Keith Stevens and Coach Glick are both crazy" , joked Brandon speaking of his AAU Coach and Head Coach Mike Glick of Gwynn Park.

Ford won't be alone in 2011 , Loyola's roster includes All-Met 1st Team Anthony Winbush (TC Williams) , Robert Olsen (Georgetown Prep) , Justin Drummond (Riverdale Baptist) and Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons) all of whom are already enrolled.  


Wednesday, October 6
Gwynn Park's Ford commits to Loyola College ~ Washington Post

Gwynn Park G Brandon Ford commits to Loyola

Second-team All-Met guard Brandon Ford of Gwynn Park committed to play for Loyola on Tuesday, Yellow Jackets Coach Mike Glick said.

Ford chose the Greyhounds over Howawrd.

"I think that he liked the level of play and the strength of the [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference] and he felt comfortable with the campus and the environment," Glick said. "Academically, he's a 3.5 student, so that was a really good fit for him. And he really clicked with their players."

Ford, who is 6 feet 3, averaged 19.2 points and 3.5 assists last season while leading Gwynn Park to the Maryland 2A final.

By Josh Barr  | October 5, 2010; 9:35 PM ET



Saturday, August 21
Talent-laden Team Takeover enjoys successful summer
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  

Gwynn Park High School's Brandon Ford goes up for a shot during a game last season. Ford played on Team Takeover this summer, which won the Peach Jam Title in North Augusta, S.C.


Sunday, August 15
The Preemie Prism: As her twins enter high school, a mom reflects on their perilous journey

The Preemie Prism: As her twins enter high school, a mom reflects on their perilous journey

As her twins enter high school, a grateful mom reflects on how their perilous journey shaped them all.
By Tracey A. Reeves
Sunday, August 15, 2010

 

The flashbacks don't come as frequently as they used to, not since my twin boys became teenagers, shot up a few inches and started sounding like men. But the memories still rush back at the oddest times, such as the evening last fall when I was sitting in the stands at one of their football games. It was a home game on one of the nicest artificial turf fields in Howard County. Our team, the Columbia Ravens, had already scored. Now, the spectators were on their feet again.

"Get him! Get him," they yelled.

I had been looking down at my BlackBerry, but hearing the excitement, I glanced up in time to see the football sail through the air and into the hands of an opposing player. He was wide open, about to make a run for the end zone. Then, out of what seemed like nowhere, one of our players broke free from the crowded line of scrimmage and sprinted to the ball carrier, tackling him to the ground.

I blinked and adjusted my eyeglasses. "Did I just see what I thought I saw?" I whispered to my husband, who was sitting next to me. "Was that Cameron?"

"Yep," he said, staring at the field. He was thinking what I was thinking. Our son Cameron, who was so small at birth that he could fit into the palms of our hands, had just taken down a pretty good player.

I watched as Cameron popped off the downed player and strutted to his teammates, his slight but muscled body disappearing into the jumbled huddle. My mind flashed back to the neonatal intensive care unit and the doctors and nurses hovering over him.

"He's a fighter," I remember a doctor saying to me. "But he's very small. The first 24 hours will tell how he'll do. ..."

***

I'm sometimes surprised -- even shocked -- when Cameron and his brother, Matthew, now 14, shine on the gridiron, in the classroom or in other ordinary achievements. It's not that I have low expectations of my children, but I can never forget their precarious start in life. When they were born nearly 11 weeks before their due date in 1996, my husband, Benjamin Lumpkin, and I weren't even sure our boys would make it, let alone be able to play sports, take up the violin or sing in their school chorus. For the parents of a preemie -- a baby born before 37 weeks gestation -- the experience can range from awful (the baby's death) to blessed (survival with few, if any, lasting medical issues).

These days, more women are giving birth to preemies, partly because of the increased use of fertility drugs, which tend to result in multiple births. Many of these babies spend their first days in the neonatal intensive care unit -- the NICU, also the name and focus of a new television series that debuted last month on the Discovery Health Channel.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, preterm birth rates rose by more than one-third from the early 1980s until 2006, when they hit 12.8 percent. In 2008, 12.3 percent of babies were born premature. The medical costs are staggering, more than $26 billion in 2005, according to a report by the March of Dimes, a leader in the effort to improve the health of babies. Because of advances in science and medicine, the chances of survival for preemies, even those born before 24 weeks, are better than ever, says Alan Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes. But many of these children suffer developmental and medical problems that can be temporary or life-long.

This is the preemie prism through which I've viewed my boys' accomplishments. When I cheer at their football games, I do so not just because they make a key tackle but because, against scary odds, they can walk and run. When I applaud at their school concerts, I do it not just because they perform beautifully, but because Cameron and Matthew are up there with the rest of the kids. And this month, when my sons go off to high school, I'm sure I will shed a few tears, not just because I'm proud they've reached this milestone, but because 14 years ago, I feared this time might not come.

It was Jan. 11, four days into what became known as the Blizzard of 1996, and I was undergoing a sonogram. The warmth of my obstetrician's Rockville office was a stark contrast to the low temperatures and snow outside. As the doctor spread cold gel over my abdomen, I briefly turned away from the machine. "Please, Lord," I whispered, "let this pregnancy be the real thing."

After a few minutes, my doctor blurted: "Mrs. Lumpkin, do you have twins in your family?" I thought about my cousins, Anthony and Shauna, now in their late 20s. "Yes," I answered. "Why?" I lifted my upper body and turned to look at the machine. The nurse was smiling.

"From what I'm seeing here, it looks like you've got a set of twins," the doctor said.

Feeling a sudden mix of giddiness and shock, I fell back on the table. Several months earlier, an ectopic pregnancy had damaged one of my fallopian tubes, prompting my Greenbelt doctor to refer my husband and me to a Rockville practice that specialized in treating infertility. In late fall 1995, we visited the practice and learned about the options available, including oral drugs, hormone injections, in-vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination -- all more than I wanted to try and more than we could afford. The doctor suggested we return in January to discuss the next step, but before our next appointment, I began experiencing abdominal cramping and bleeding, prompting my visit to the doctor. Now, I was seeing two fuzzy images on the sonogram machine.

At first, my pregnancy seemed like a dream, except for occasional morning sickness. Then, into my second trimester, my doctors noticed that one of the twins, Baby A, was not growing at the rate of Baby B. I was referred to a perinatologist at Georgetown University Hospital, who began tracking the babies' sizes and urged me to take it easy. He was concerned about Baby A -- "the runt," he called him. If the size discrepancy continued, he might have to put me on bed rest. I followed his orders.

Then a 35-year-old reporter for Knight Ridder newspapers, I was covering a news conference in Washington on June 12 when I felt a subtle pop in my lower abdomen and a seep of warm liquid. I eased out of the room, made my way home to Bowie and called my obstetrician. Get to the hospital right away, he told me. By the time my husband's car pulled up to Shady Grove Adventist, I was sitting in a puddle of amniotic fluid. I was whisked up to the labor and delivery floor, where my doctors and nurses were waiting. My mother and sister were on their way. So were the twins, at just 28 weeks of gestation.

***

My doctors immediately began trying to suppress the contractions by giving me intravenous doses of magnesium sulfate and shots of Terbutaline, an asthma medication also used to stop preterm labor. As I lay there, my obstetrician, Jonathan Elias, stood next to my bed and gave Ben and me The Speech. "We don't want to alarm you, but this is serious," Elias began. I trusted him, but I was scared.

He said he was fairly certain the twins could survive. But even under the best circumstances, the medical team wasn't sure what issues the infants might face once they were born: possible breathing, vision or hearing problems; or bleeding in the brain, which occurs in the early days of some preterm babies, especially those weighing less than 3 pounds at birth. That dangerous condition could lead to neurological problems and interfere with motor coordination. The smaller the baby, the higher the risk of brain bleeds, he said. The risks were even greater for multiples, because the babies tend to be smaller. The severity of my situation hit me, and I began to sob. Ben stood silently next to my bed and rubbed my shoulder.

That night when he left, I lay awake, wondering what would become of my babies. What if they suffered brain damage? Or, God forbid, did not survive? A calm person by nature, I tried to assure myself: Whatever God gave me, I would happily take.

My doctor put me on strict bed rest. I couldn't get up even to shower or use the toilet. The anti-contraction medicines made me tired and queasy, but I read and watched the Summer Olympics on television. After a few days, my doctors allowed me to get out of bed sparingly. But early on the fourth morning, I was walking gingerly to the bathroom in my room when a sudden pain, like monster menstrual cramps, hit me. I tiptoed back to bed and called the nurse. I learned later from my medical records that I was already seven centimeters dilated, one of the babies was in a breech position, and his feet were passing through my cervix.

To decrease the risk of complications, my doctor ordered an emergency Caesarean section, and I called my husband, who was sleeping at home. The commotion around me seemed surreal. Hospital workers wheeled me into the operating room, and the anesthesiologist began administering numbing medicine. All I could think of was The Speech.

Ben had yet to arrive, but the babies had to come out, the doctors said. My entire body trembled. Sensing my fear, the anesthesiologist wrapped his arms around my shoulders from behind. "It's going to be okay," he said.

"Please stay with me," I whispered.

Every face I turned to in the operating room looked worried. In my medically induced haze, I could feel the doctors tugging at my belly and then ... "Mrs. Lumpkin, here's Baby A," I heard a voice say as someone held the tiny newborn to my face. This was not the cute, chubby baby I had imagined. At 2 pounds, 5 ounces, he resembled a scrawny bird.

It was 3:16 a.m. A minute later, the voice announced: "Mrs. Lumpkin, here's Baby B." He was plumper at 3 pounds, 5 ounces. Both boys were limp, wrinkly and covered with fine black hair, known as lanugo, which all fetuses develop but shed at around 33 weeks of gestation. I waited for them to cry but didn't hear a sound before they were whisked to the NICU.

Through the commotion, I heard someone mention the babies' shared placenta, suggesting that the boys were probably identical twins. The perinatologist was concerned they may have suffered twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in utero, a dangerous condition in which blood supply between multiple fetuses (usually identical twins) is disproportionate.

I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up, Ben was standing beside me with pictures the NICU staff had taken of our tiny boys. My doctor came in with an update: The babies were breathing on their own -- a very good sign. But their trajectory would depend on how they fared in the early days. Again, I started to cry. I had just given birth to my children, and I couldn't even hold them. I looked up at Ben, who was trying not to look worried.

"Happy Father's Day," I said.

***

The sounds struck me first -- the constant beeps and alarms signaling that a baby had stopped breathing, and the whooshing of machines pumping oxygen into tiny bodies. The space was a maze of isolettes: small, clear, box-shaped cribs, where sick babies lay until they were healthy enough to leave.

Despite their low birth weights, tests showed my boys had no brain bleeds or other significant problems. But they sometimes forgot to breathe and had been hooked to the beeping, swooshing machines. The alarm would alert the medical staff to touch or rock them gently to stimulate their breathing. Both boys also were exhibiting heart rate problems and, because they had not yet developed the sucking reflex, they had to be fed through a tube that snaked through their noses to their stomachs.

I walked slowly toward the boys. We'd named Baby A -- the one the doctor had called the "runt" -- Cameron; Baby B was Matthew. They were lying on their backs in only diapers, which swallowed them. They were not well enough for me to hold. And so, I just stood there, staring at their tiny bodies. My heart filled with agonizing guilt: How did this happen? What did I do to cause it?

Three days after the boys were born, I was discharged, but I felt only sadness, leaving without them. The NICU nurses urged me to allow myself to begin healing before returning to the hospital. Two days later, though, I was back, studying the staff's every move, preparing to take over caring for the boys. I taped a wedding photo of Ben and me on each of their isolettes. Eight days passed before I could feed Matthew with a bottle -- a combination of breast milk and formula to increase the calories -- and a few days more for Cameron. Nearly a month after their birth, I started breastfeeding them. I celebrated when they gained an ounce and stressed when they lost one.

Some days, I forgot to eat. Chores piled up at home, and the postman stopped delivering our mail because the box was too full. One month, I forgot to pay the mortgage. I wanted my babies home, and the guilt lingered. The boys were progressing slowly, but both had trouble keeping down their milk, which interfered with their weight gain.

As excited as I was to get to the hospital each day, I felt lonely and depressed until one day a new mom named Sally Glick approached and told me that she also had tacked a photo of herself and her husband on her son's isolette. Her son Robert, born prematurely because of her preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension) weighed 3 pounds, 9 ounces. Though he was born bigger and later than my boys, Robert had suffered more problems, including a brain bleed, apnea and a hole in his heart, which eventually closed with medication. He also needed oxygen therapy to help his lungs mature.

Sally and I began to schedule our visits to the hospital around the same time. We spent hours rocking, feeding and reading to our babies. Neither of us could imagine then that our preemie journeys were just beginning.

***

Matthew came home first, on July 16, exactly a month to the day after he was born. He weighed a little over four pounds. With Cameron still in the NICU, the staff knew Ben and I were in no mood to celebrate. There were no flowers or balloons, just long hugs and tearful goodbyes. As I walked out of the hospital, I looked over my shoulder in the direction of the NICU and whispered: "'Bye, Cameron. We'll be back tomorrow."

After two months in the NICU, Cameron finally made it to four pounds and joined us at home. For the first time, I felt like a "real" mother, flitting around the house, caring for my boys. Ben and I charted each feeding, noting how much the boys drank and when.

And there were still medical issues. Before his first birthday, Cameron landed in the hospital several times, including once for surgery at Georgetown Hospital to correct a birth defect in which his urinary opening was abnormally located.

Matthew fared better, except for a worrisome heart murmur, and like his brother, a tendency to throw up almost everything he ate.

The boys held their heads up, crawled and walked later than many babies their age. Cameron almost always followed Matthew developmentally by at least a couple of months. At the pediatrician's office, I stressed out when I saw other 2-year-olds talking in sentences; my boys were just beginning to string together words. My boys were smaller and slower because they were preemies, I explained to other parents. When the boys entered preschool at age 3, I made sure to tell the teachers about their history. If they didn't seem to be measuring up to the other kids in class, I reasoned that it was because they were preemies. If they caught a bad cold or vomited their meals, I blamed it on their prematurity. If they tried to force the square peg into a round hole or had trouble staying in the lines when they colored simple shapes, I explained that they did it because they were premature. Even when they excelled, I attributed it to their fight to overcome their prematurity.

One day, their preschool teacher pulled me aside and told me that Cameron was struggling to hold his crayons and other small objects, and when he did, he seemed to tire before he could even complete his pictures. Matthew was doing better, but even he was on the lower end of the "normal" range, she said. The pediatrician told us Cameron was exhibiting signs of fine motor problems, almost certainly a result of his premature birth. We were referred to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, where Cameron was assigned an occupational therapist. Three times a week for three years, I slipped out of work to take Cameron to therapy, lots of gripping small objects, shoe-tying, zipping and unzipping and playing the piano, all designed to strengthen his hands and fingers.

With the therapist's guidance, I bought jewelry-making kits that required Cameron to slip tiny beads through strings, and spongy balls that forced him to squeeze and release his hands. In time, his coloring improved. So did his sketching. He started to draw simple pictures and then more detailed ones without tiring. Soon, I was buying drawing tablets and colored pencils and paints. My father gave Cameron an old wooden easel, which he used one day to draw me a bowl of fruit. Later, in elementary school, his art would be chosen for display at a law office and at the local mall in Columbia, the community where we now live.

I was so happy with Cameron's progress that I replicated my approach with Matthew. My mommy instinct told me that the more I worked with the boys and exposed them to books, music, toys and sports, the more I could help deflect, or at least minimize, any developmental issues. Soon, both were reading and writing legibly, and it was becoming more difficult to notice delays in Cameron. In fifth grade, after completing a book report on Frederick Douglass, Matthew one day declared he wanted to play the violin. I rushed to buy one.

"That was the first time I heard of a black man playing the violin," he would tell me later. "I thought if he could play it, so can I."

For the first time, I was allowing myself to think that maybe the boys were growing out of the preemie factor. Some medical issues lingered, but they paled, compared with what Sally was going through. She had brought her firstborn home not knowing that his prematurity would manifest itself in eating problems, low muscle tone, and even tics and speech issues. Robert, who also will enter high school this month, is slow to process information and struggles with tasks that require him to use his fine and large motor skills. Because of his speech delays, it is difficult to understand him when he talks.

One recent afternoon, Sally and I sit in my family room and reminisce. Both of us recall hearing in the NICU that, according to long-held statistics, black girls generally fare the best of all premature infants, followed by white girls, black boys, and then white boys.

"Do you think your boys did better than Robert because of this?" Sally, who is white, asks about my boys, who are African American.

"I don't know," I say.

I tell her about my conversation with March of Dimes medical director Fleischman, who says that preemies have their own trajectories and can suffer a host of complications. "What we don't know is what protects some from these insults and not others," he says.

For Robert, high school will be an extension of middle school, says Sally, and college will likely be community college -- maybe. "I'm sorry," she says, now crying. "Robert is a good, kind kid. I just hope that as he gets older and goes out on his own, people will see in him what we see in him."

***

One Saturday afternoon, the boys are working on a science project, building a 3-D model of an atom using Model Magic clay, barbecue skewers and Styrofoam. Each has sculpted an impressive atom of protons, neutrons and electrons. But Cameron's clay protons and neutrons keep popping off. My mind flashes back to the days when I hoarded Play-Doh for him to play with so he could strengthen his fingers and hands. With the boys out of earshot, I whisper to Ben that maybe Cameron's clay balls are not sticking because he lacks the strength in his fingers to secure them. Ben throws me a look as if I am crazy.

I think back to a conversation with a neighbor a few years ago. We were chatting about our kids when I brought up Cameron's schoolwork and my fear that his prematurity might again be stunting his progress. By then, the boys were in the fourth or fifth grade.

"Tracey!" my friend said, practically yelling at me. "They're not preemies anymore!"

"What?" I replied.

"They're not preemies anymore!" she repeated. "They're fine now. You have to stop blaming everything on their premature birth."

I felt as though someone had finally knocked some sense into me.

"In mothers' eyes, preemie babies will always be preemie babies," Fleisch-man later told me. "But it is true that at some point, many of these children outgrow their deficits and no longer act like preemies and so should not be treated like preemies."

I've come to realize that for me, the preemie journey represented a safe place -- a place where for good or bad, I had a built-in explanation if my boys weren't thriving. These days, though, if the boys fail to complete a school assignment, earn a poor grade or neglect to turn in their homework, I'm more likely to chalk it up to teenage wishy-washiness or laziness. And I no longer feel obligated to let everyone new in their lives know they were preemies.

As I look ahead to high school and beyond, I'm beginning to see my boys through a new pair of lenses. And I love what I see: no longer the fragile preemies they were, but the vibrant young men they are becoming.

Tracey A. Reeves, a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post, is director of news and information at Johns Hopkins University. She can be reached at wpmagazine@washpost.com.



Tuesday, June 29
Gwynn Park caps long day with win over Largo


Wednesday, June 9
Gwynn Park begins new championship chase


Sunday, March 21
Anatomy of Hornets' state final strategy

Raphael Talisman/The Gazette-Star
Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick (left) gives instruction to junior forward Daniel Henry during Friday's state semifinal game against North Carroll.


Sunday, March 14
Gwynn Park loses to City in Maryland 2A boys' basketball championship
Maryland 2A boys

Gwynn Park loses to City in Maryland 2A boys' basketball championship

City College defeats Gwynn Park to win the Maryland 2A boys' basketball championship.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 14, 2010

 

With just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter of the Maryland 2A boys' final, Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford connected with fellow junior Tion Barnes for a picture perfect and electrifying alley-oop. It gave No. 15 Gwynn Park a five-point edge over City at the time, but the lead would be short-lived and the Yellow Jackets' last.

Gwynn Park's shooting went cold after that play; it failed to record a field goal for more than eight minutes. City took control of the game in that stretch, and ultimately prevailed, 56-45, at Comcast Center on Saturday night.

The victory gave the Baltimore school its second straight state title, while Gwynn Park fell short in its first championship game appearance since 2004. The Yellow Jackets' most recent title came in 1988.

"We just went cold at the wrong time," senior forward Mike Hemsley said. "Their height inside definitely was a problem for us and we couldn't really hope to win shooting the way we did."

City has only one starter who is shorter than 6 feet 5, and the Knights (23-2) caused significant problems for the Yellow Jackets (20-7) in the paint. The height differential forced Gwynn Park to the outside, which Coach Mike Glick admits is the weakest part of his team's game.

The Yellow Jackets made 1 of 13 shots from behind the three-point arc, and the ill-timed shooting lulls didn't help either. They shot 29 percent from the field the entire game, compared to City's 48 percent. The Knights also limited the opportunities for Ford, Gwynn Park's catalyst.

"It was very hard to get shots off," said Ford, who finished with 14 points. "They just made it tough for me a lot. That one three-pointer I got was probably the best look I got for a three-point shot."

The game never seemed completely out of reach for the Yellow Jackets until the waning minutes of the game. But they weren't able to keep sustained pressure on City.

Led by Hemsley, who recorded 14 of his game-high 22 points in the second half before fouling out with just less than three minutes remaining, Gwynn Park continued to push in the final two frames. But every time the gap shrunk, City answered with a quick basket, never allowing the Yellow Jackets to close what seemed like a constant five-point gap.

"We're not used to playing against 6-8 players inside," Glick said. "Their size definitely affected us; our weakness has been our outside shooting all season. For us it was a really tough matchup; we needed to shoot the ball well to win the game."



Sunday, March 14
City College denies Gwynn Park in 2A final

Rachel Fus/The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Mike Hemsley, who had a game-high 22 points, hides his face after the Yellow Jackets lost Saturday's 2A state championship game to City College at the Comcast Center in College Park.
The Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball team's dream of winning a Class 2A state championship came to a disappointing end on Saturday night. The Yellow Jackets lost 56-45 to Baltimore's City College at the University of Maryland, College Park's Comcast Center.


Sunday, March 14
Knight's size contributes to 56-46 win over Gwynn Park

City boys take title for 2nd straight year

Knights' size contributes to 56-45 win over Gwynn Park

COLLEGE PARK —
It was no mistake when the public address announcer at Comcast Center introduced defending state champion City as starting two centers in Saturday's Class 2A state final.

On a night when the Knights played far from their best basketball, they used their imposing height in the paint, led by 6-foot-8 Jordan Latham and 6-foot-7 Aron Nwankwo, to frustrate opposing Gwynn Park all night, holding the Prince George's team to 29 percent shooting in a 56-45 win.

"I wanted to put our size out there," said City coach Mike Daniel, who has started dual centers for the past handful of games. "We wanted to go and work. "

City (23-2), which ended its season with 11 straight wins, became the first Baltimore City team to win back-to-back state titles since Dunbar completed its run of four straight in 2006.

Forward Nick Faust, though targeted with a box-and-one defense, scored 19 points to lead the Knights; Latham had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Gwynn Park (20-6), ranked No. 15 by The Washington Post, got a game-high 22 points from forward Mike Hemsley, who made seven of 10 shots from the field. The rest of the Yellow Jackets shot a combined six for 35, with top scorer Brandon Ford finishing with 14 points - six below his average.

"Our weakness all season long has been that we're not a tremendous outside shooting team," Yellow Jackets coach Mike Glick said. "For us, City posed probably our toughest matchup because they played a really wide zone. They're long, and they shaded everything toward Brandon.

"It's really hard to win when you're playing against a great team and you can't put the ball in the basket."

City used its imposing inside defense to establish control in the first half. After falling behind by five points early, the Knights began forcing bad shots and denying Gwynn Park in the paint.

Though sloppy on offense , the Knights took advantage, scoring 11 of the next 13 to pull ahead. When Latham put back his own miss under the basketwith under 5 minutes left in the half, City extended its lead to 21-15.

Faust made certain that City never gave up the lead, nailing a fallaway 3-pointer late in the third.

"I felt it going in once I released it," Faust said. Gwynn Park never pulled closer than three in the fourth quarter.

City credited its difficult schedule against Baltimore City opponents for its ability to flourish against regional competition.

"I feel like if we play tough in our own city, no one can beat us," Latham said.

C-Faust 19, Cheatham 6, Latham 10, Amos 4, Anderson 5, Rasheed 4, Johnson 2, Tapper 6. Totals: 19 14-24 56.

GP-Hemsley 22, Barnes 6, Ford 14, Blue 3. Totals: 13 18-26 45.

Half: City, 25-20.


Saturday, March 13
Gwynn Park boys cruise into 2A state final 69-36
     
Raphel Talisman/The Gazette-Star
Gwynn Park High School's boys' basketball team celebrates its 69-36 victory against North Carroll in Friday's 2A state semifinals at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center.
The Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball team wasted little time clinching a spot in the Class 2A state title game, as the Yellow Jackets crushed North Carroll High, 69-36, Friday night in a state semifinal at the University of Maryland, College Park's Comcast Center.


Thursday, March 11
Gwynn Park gunning to break title drought
Leah L. Jones/ The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford goes up for shot against Oakland Mills during the 2A South Region final at Henry A. Wise.


Saturday, March 13
Gwynn Park blows out North Carroll 69-36 to advance to 2A Finals
Maryland 2A boys

Gwynn Park blows out North Carroll to advance to

Gwynn Park routed North Carroll, 69-36, in the 2A boys' basketball state semifinals at the Comcast Center in College Park on March 12, 2010.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 13, 2010

 

With a double-digit lead that just kept growing in a Maryland 2A semifinal on Friday night, there was only one thing for 15th-ranked Gwynn Park to decide: Who would win the ongoing dunk competition between forwards Mike Hemsley and Tion Barnes?

It was late in the third quarter when Hemsley, a 6-foot-4 senior, blocked a shot on defense, raced down the court, took a pass and threw one down, earning the right to point at Barnes, who later rated it a "10." Not to be completely outdone, Barnes dunked on a fast break midway through the fourth quarter, then told Coach Mike Glick he was ready to join the other starters on the bench.

It was an enjoyable game on nearly every front for the Yellow Jackets, who started quickly and never were threatened in a 69-36 victory over North Carroll before 2,000 at Comcast Center.

"I just wanted to get a dunk since Mike got one," said Barnes, a 6-foot-5 junior. "Usually we see who can get the first dunk, but since it wasn't a close game, it was who can get the best dunk. You can see he won that one."

Standout senior guard Brandon Ford started the fun for Gwynn Park (20-6), making three consecutive three-pointers in the first two minutes as the Yellow Jackets quickly took over. It was 36-19 at halftime and the margin continued to widen.

"Everyone looks at us as a driving team," Ford said. "It was real important to knock those shots down. Then they started shading things toward me and forgot about" Barnes and Hemsley.

Ford scored 15 points and Barnes had 12 points and nine rebounds, part of a 47-25 rebounding advantage that included 22 on the offensive end.

"It probably was one of our best performances of the season," said Glick, adding that he thought a 73-72 loss to No. 13 Oxon Hill in the Prince George's County championship game helped his players focus for the postseason. "I was really impressed with how we played hard and played smart."

Up next: Gwynn Park will play in Saturday's 6 p.m. final against City College (22-2), which beat Easton, 64-38, in the second semifinal. Zzzzzzzz: With the drive from Brandywine taking longer than expected because of traffic and rain, Gwynn Park's players slept on the bus ride to College Park.



Saturday, March 13
Gwynn Park boys too much for North Carroll in 2A state semifinal

Gwynn Park boys too much for North Carroll in 2A state semifinal

Panthers' breakthrough season ends with 69-36 loss

COLLEGE PARK
The opening minutes of Friday's Class 2A state semifinal gave the North Carroll boys basketball team an early indication of what it was up against in dealing with talented Gwynn Park.

The Yellow Jackets from Prince George's County showed quickness with an immediate steal, strength and athleticism underneath the basket and good aim from the perimeter.

For the Panthers, who played hard and never backed down, it was simply too much.

Mike Hemsley scored 16 points and Brandon Ford added 15 as the Yellow Jackets rolled to Saturday's title game with a 69-36 win over the Panthers.

Despite the season-ending setback, North Carroll (20-6) enjoyed a breakthrough season under second-year coach Chris Vaughn. With five new starters, the Panthers captured the program's first Carroll County championship in 25 years, won the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Chesapeake Division for the first time and staked claim to their third regional title and first since 1985.

"These kids did something with this team that our school hasn't done in 25 years -- we won a conference championship. We've never done that, so they have a lot of things they can hang their hats on," Vaughn said. "It's more than just coming down here and people saying you played that team and they took it to you pretty good. At the same time, we accomplished a lot as a team and the game is just a glimpse of the season."

On Friday, the Panthers tried everything to try to contain the highly skilled Yellow Jackets (20-5), but the task proved too difficult.

Ford hit three 3-pointers in the game's first three minutes to stake the Yellow Jackets to an 11-2 lead, and the Panthers were never able to recover. After Ford's work from the outside, it was Hemsley and Tion Barnes (12 points) dominating inside for the Yellow Jackets, combining to score 17 first-half points to build an insurmountable 36-19 halftime advantage. Gwynn Park ended with a 47-25 advantage on the boards.

"It was definitely different [compared to other competition the Panthers faced]. We were expecting it, we just didn't plan for it," said Dan Hoffman, a 6-foot-5 forward who finished with a team-high 10 points. "We didn't prepare enough for their athleticism. We didn't box out and they got too many offensive rebounds and second chances."


Friday, March 12
Gwynn Park boys, girls both trying to knock out Carroll hoops teams

Gwynn Park boys, girls both trying to knock out Carroll hoops teams

 The Panthers will face Gwynn Park in the state semifinals at the University of Maryland on March 5 at 7 p.m.

Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 5:50 pm | Updated: 7:15 pm, Wed Mar 10, 2010.

 A Carroll County team ruined Gwynn Park's last experience in the state high school basketball tournament.

On Friday, the Gwynn Park boys - and the Gwynn Park girls, too - have a shot at some revenge.

Gwynn Park takes on Liberty in the girls Class 2A state semifinals at 3 p.m. at UMBC. Four hours later, Gwynn Park faces North Carroll in the boys Class 2A state semis at the University of Maryland.

"It's awesome, it's great for the school, it's great for the community, it's great for us," said Yellow Jackets boys coach Mike Glick.

Glick's last trip to College Park wasn't so great for his players.

They blew an 8-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost to Winters Mill, 58-56, in the 2008 state semifinals on Devon Lesniak's buzzer-beater. Only one current Yellow Jacket was on the varsity that year, and Glick said on Tuesday he would be re-living what he referred to as "an epic game" with his team this week.

"We're watching that tape to show our players the margin of victory. How every possessions matters," he said. "The little things [like] free throws. ... Just to get an idea of what our kids went through and how painful that loss was."

While North Carroll is in the state tournament for the first time in 25 years in search of its first championship, Gwynn Park is a traditional Maryland powerhouse with 10 state titles. Glick is 75-23 in four years at Gwynn Park,, which is making its eighth trip to the state tournament in the past 16 years but is seeking its first championship since 1988.

Gwynn Park has three players who average in double-figures for scoring, including 6-foot-3 junior point guard Brandon Ford (19.8 points, 3.0 assists per game), whom Glick said is being recruited by schools from the Ivy and Patriot leagues. They also have size, with 6-4 and 6-5 starters and a 6-8 sixth man.

North Carroll is big, too, with forwards Danny Hoffman (6-5) - Carroll County's third-leading scorer and top rebounds - and Charlie Clark (6-4), but Glick says the similarities end there.

"The game presents two totally different styles and matchups - they play a style of ball that we're not used to seeing and we play a style that they're not used to seeing," he said. "We're up and down the court, offensively, scoring about 71 points per game. They're more of a deliberate team, a lot more screening and sharing the ball."

Friday's girls game involving Gwynn Park also presents some contrasts.

While Liberty is far from senior-laden, the Lions (19-6) do have quite a bit of experience with senior post player Shelby Nemecek and junior guards Maggie McCormick and Beka Coughlin. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets (20-3) boast five freshman.

Second-year Gwynn Park coach Michael Strother admits his team made it to states a little ahead of schedule.

"My overall plan was a three-year program, but they really surprised me," he said. "They put in a lot of offseason work and conditioning and a lot of them played on AAU teams. We were just fortunate to get everybody together and do what we did this year."

The Yellow Jacket freshmen include their top scorer and rebounder in 6-2 forward Caira Washington (14 points, 12 boards per game) and point guard Genesis Lucas (10 points, four assists per game). Strother called Washington's future "unlimited." He said the freshmen have blended beautifully with their one senior and junior leaders Jasmine Simms and Channell Mackey.

"They've been really amazing. The kids really came together," Strother said. "I knew we were going to be talented, I just didn't know that they'd be able to turn things around as fast as they did."

Reach staff writer Bob Blubaugh at 410-857-7895 or bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com



Saturday, March 13
Panthers' late-season surge comes to end to Gwynn Park 69-36

Panthers' late-season surge comes to end

Ken Koons/Staff Photo North Carroll's Charlie Clark passes the ball after hitting the floor during Friday's 2A state semifinal with Gwynn Park.

Posted: Saturday, March 13, 2010 1:16 am

COLLEGE PARK - For Gwynn Park, Friday served as a little bit of redemption.

The Yellow Jackets were knocked out in the 2008 2A boys basketball state semifinal on a buzzer-beater by Winters Mill's Devon Lesniak.

Gwynn Park didn't let things come down to the buzzer this time, beating North Carroll 69-36 in Friday's 2A state semifinal at the Comcast Center.

The Yellow Jackets, who are making their 20th Final Four appearance, will face City in today's 2A state final.

"I thought our players really executed the game plan," Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick said. "We were fortunate we got off to a good start and I think that was the key to the game."

Meanwhile, Friday marked the end of a historic run for the Panthers.

North Carroll had won 18 of its last 20 games and was fresh off last Saturday's emotional win over Walkersville in the 2A West final. The regional title was the Panthers' first since 1985.

However, the Yellow Jackets' athleticism was too much for North Carroll to handle. The Panthers got behind 11-2 just over two minutes into the game and trailed by 17 at halftime.

"We didn't prepare enough for their athleticism," NC senior forward Danny Hoffman said. "We didn't box out, they got offensive rebounds and second chances, and that's how they won the game."

Gwynn Park outrebounded North Carroll 47-25 and held the Panthers to just 28 percent shooting from the field. The Yellow Jackets had 22 offensive rebounds.

Hoffman (18.6), Brian Kron (10.4) and Charlie Clark (10.2), who all came into the game averaging double-digit points, were held to just 23 points combined.

"We've been doing it all year with Charlie and Danny, trying to get it inside," NC coach Chris Vaughn said. "Brian's been able to hit the outside shot when it's open.

"That was our game plan and it didn't really work out. They matched us height for height and their athleticism really took care of business."

Even though the season didn't end exactly how the Panthers had planned, Vaughn was able to reflect on North Carroll's special run after the game.

"I let the kids know ... you never look at the end result, you have to look at the whole journey," Vaughn said. "These kids did something that no team has done at our school for 25 years. They've got a lot to hang their hats on ... and we accomplished a lot this season."

Gwynn Park (69): Mike Hemsley 16, Brandon Ford 15, Tion Barnes 12, Chris Hardy 6, Brian Hall 6, Brian Blue 5, Eric Batts 4, Daniel Henry 3, Kevin Miles 2.

North Carroll (37): Danny Hoffman 10, Charlie Clark 8, Brian Kron 5, Steven Bosley 4, Trevor Walzl 3, Cody Mewhirter 2, Tyler Janowitz 2, Kyle Blackiston 2.

Halftime: Gwynn Park, 36-19.

Reach staff writer Matt Zenitz at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.



Sunday, March 7
Ford lifts Gwynn Park to win over Oakland Mills in Maryland 2A South region final

Ford lifts Gwynn Park to win over Oakland Mills in Maryland 2A South region final

 
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 7, 2010

 

Gwynn Park junior Brandon Ford has a term for those clutch plays when a game is on the line. Like his steal and layup with 2 minutes 26 seconds left in overtime, or his drive and bucket that drew a foul 30 seconds later -- two plays that helped the Yellow Jackets to a 79-75 overtime win over Oakland Mills on Saturday in the Maryland 2A South region final at Wise in Upper Marlboro.

"It's just mad stuff," Ford said. "Adrenaline, whatever you want to call it. I call it mad stuff."

Ford had a game-high 33 points -- including 18 in the fourth quarter and overtime -- to help Gwynn Park (19-5) advance to the state semifinals Friday at Comcast Center against North Carroll.

Ford's crucial plays over a 60-second stretch -- the steal and layup, then another nice drive and bucket that drew a whistle (he missed the free throw) and finally a crucial rebound in a crowd -- helped Gwynn Park's increase its lead to six with 1:28 remaining.

And when the lead was cut down time and again, Ford knocked down 4 of 4 free throw attempts.

"I just didn't want to lose," Ford said. "My teammates were just telling me to take over and they have trust in me, so I took it upon myself."



Sunday, March 7
Gwynn Park goes OT to capture region crown 79-75


Friday, March 5
Gwynn Park knocks out rival Douglass 64-60 to advance to regional finals
Rachel Fus/The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Tion Barnes pivots after grabbing a rebound during the first half of Thursday's 2A South Region semifinal game against Frederick Douglass.


Wednesday, March 3
Gwynn Park, Douglass set for rematch
Tuesday night's 2A South Region quarterfinal had just barely ended before Gwynn Park High School boys' basketball coach Mike Glick began looking forward to the next game.


Thursday, February 25
Baker's bank shot gives Clippers county title 73-72
Raphael Talisman/The Gazette
Oxon Hill guard Sedric Baker (second from left) is congratulated by teammates (from left) Aaron Venson, Ray Gatling and Denzel McGuine after Baker hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds of Wednesday's Prince George's County championship game against Gwynn Park. Oxon Hill won the game, 73-72, at Henry A. Wise High School in Upper Marlboro.


Monday, February 22
Gwynn Park gets payback vs. Douglass with a 67-51 Victory
Friday, Feb. 19, 2010
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  

Christopher Anderson/The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Mike Hemsley leaps up looking for a shot over the Douglass defense during the Yellow Jackets' victory against the Eagles on Thursday night.


Thursday, February 11
Basketball teams wait for snow to subside
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  



Saturday, January 30
Gwynn Park aiming to surge; Downs Friendly 67-60 in Brandywine
E-mail this article Print this Article Share on Facebook Add to Mixx! Delicious Share on Twitter  



Sunday, January 24
Barnes, Gwynn Park slam Potomac during 96-79 win on Friday


Thursday, January 21
Gwynn Park sophomore settles in to school, basketball

David Trozzo/For The Gazette
Gwynn Park's Marcel Boyd (middle) ties up Devin Hall of Douglass during Tuesday's game at Douglass High School.


Wednesday, January 20
Glover's clutch jumper lifts Douglass over Gwynn Park 77-73
 


Monday, January 11
Ejections don't slow Gwynn Park in 77-60 win over Largo

Gwynn Park's Tion Barnes slams home two easy points for the Yellow Jackets during the second half of Thursday's game against Largo. The Yellow Jackets earned a 77-60 victory at Gwynn Park High in Brandywine.


Thursday, December 24
Gwynn Park junior standout eagerly takes lead role


Wednesday, December 23
Prince George's Boys Basketball rankings Dec 23, 2009

Prince George's boys basketball rankings

Each week, the Prince George's sports staff ranks the top 10 teams.  Contact editor Seth Elkin at selkin@gazette.net

December 23, 2009 Week I

Rank Team  
1 DeMatha (7-0): The Stags have routed everyone they've played. They'll get to see some solid competition later this week at the Gatorade International Championship in Puerto Rico.
2 Riverdale Baptist (4-4): The Crusaders bounced back from three consecutive losses with wins against New Hope and Washington Christian.
3 Potomac (3-0): The Wolverines have been scoring at will, averaging 92.6 points per game, including a 108-59 win against Central last week. Antonio Jenifer leads the way, averaging 23 points per game.
4 Gwynn Park (3-1): The Yellow Jackets responded from a one-point loss to Potomac by walloping Central (109-54) and slipping past Friendly (68-67) last week.
5 Friendly (2-1): The Patriots will be eyeing a Jan. 29 rematch with Gwynn Park after a one-point loss to the Yellow Jackets on Friday.
6 Bowie (4-1): The Bulldogs had won four in a row at the start of the week, led by Jared Carithers, averaging 14 points per game.
7 Largo (3-0): Two tough challenges await the Lions: a Jan. 5 matchup against Potomac and a date against Gwynn Park two days later.
8 High Point (3-1): The Eagles have won three of their first four games, scoring at least 76 points in each win.
9 Douglass (2-1): The defending 2A South Region champs lost to Largo on Friday and will come out of the holiday break with a game against an improved Surrattsville team (3-1) on Jan. 5 before facing Potomac and Friendly on back-to-back nights (Jan. 7 and 8).
10 Eleanor Roosevelt (3-1): The Raiders have bounced back from a season-opening loss to River Hill with three wins, including a 58-53 triumph Friday against defending 4A South Region champ Wise.


Saturday, December 19
Yellow Jacks Sting Patriots in 68-67 Thriller
FORT WASHINGTON -- Behind huge games from Brandon Ford and Mike Hemsley, the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets cut down the Friendly Patriots, 68-67, in one of the most exciting games of the year.

It was an intense, nip-and-tuck battle throughout, but Gwynn Park's resiliency proved to be the difference in this key road victory.
Brandon Ford led Gwynn Park by Friendly

With 46 seconds left in the game and the Jackets leading by one, Gwynn Park's Tio Barnes (eight points) came up with a big block and then finished on the other end with a driving layup. But Friendly's RJ Simms (seven points) cut the lead to 68-67 with 17 seconds remaining.

Ford, who had a game-high 24 points, got the ball for Gwynn Park and was immediately fouled. Ford then missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw, giving Friendly one last chance to win.

Friendly's Bernard Savoy had the ball in the paint for a last-second touch shot. But his attempt drew iron, allowing the Yellow Jackets to escape with a one-point victory.

"This was a very big win for us," Gwynn Park sophomore guard Eric Batts told the Gazette. "We wanted to come back from that Potomac game and beat Central [Tuesday night] and Friendly. Coach told us we're never out of it."

Both teams traded baskets at the game's outset. With the score 39-35 and time running down in the second quarter, Savoy (12 points) hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make the score 42-35 in favor of Friendly at the half. Savoy stuck again at the end of the third quarter. After a Gwynn Park bucket cut their deficit to 53-48, Savoy drilled another buzzer beater to put his team up 55-48.

But the Yellow Jackets wouldn't go away. The Patriots scored four straight points to open the fourth quarter, but Gwynn Park remained unfazed.

"I told the team, 'The game isn't over,'" said Jackets coach Mike Glick.

Gwynn Park proceeded to go on a 20-8 run in the last seven minutes to win the game.

At the 2:53 mark and the Yellow Jackets still trailing, they put on a press and forced a turnover. Brian Blue came up with the steal and bucket to makes it a one-possession game. Gwynn Park's timely pressure resulted in another turnover and Ford converted a three-point play to give Gwynn Park their first lead of the game.

The Yellow Jackets forced a third turnover, but this time they gave the ball right back to Friendly when Tion Barnes threw away an inbounds pass. The Patriots, however, failed to capitalize. With the Jackets in control, Barnes made up for his earlier mistake with a thunderous slam dunk, giving Gwynn Park a 66-63 lead. That set up the final 46 seconds, where the Yellow Jackets barely held on.

"We talked about this all week being a rumble," Friendly coach Rob Garner told the Gazette. "You have to be able to give a punch and take a punch, and it comes down to the last man standing. We've got to make better decisions out there. This game will help us for many different reasons."

Davon Morton led Friendly with 17 points. Ford had 24 points to lead Gwynn Park and Hemsely had 20. These two teams will meet again in Brandywine, Md., on Jan. 26. Needless to say, the rematch will be a must-see.


Saturday, December 19
Gwynn Park Survives 'Rumble' with Friendly
Gwynn Park's Brian Hall goes for an up-and-under layup during the fourth quarter of the Yellow Jackets' 68-67 County 3A/2A/1A League victory against Friendly on Friday night at Friendly High School in Fort Washington.


Sunday, December 13
Potomac pulls out one-point win vs. Gwynn Park 81-80
Leah L. Jones/The Gazette
Potomac's Devin Miller goes up for a shot against Gwynn Park during Friday's game at Potomac High School. Miller led the Wolverines with 25 points, as they notched an 81-80 victory against Gwynn Park.


Wednesday, December 9
Gwynn Park gets busy on the boards with 74-59 Opening Win


Saturday, December 5
Gwynn Park #11 in Washington Post to Start Season

Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A


1. Gwynn Park (18-5)
2. Potomac (15-8)
3. Douglass (16-12)

 

G Brandon Ford, Gwynn Park, Jr., 6-3
F Tion Barnes, Gwynn Park, Jr., 6-4
G Timmone Whatley, Douglass, Jr., 6-3
F Lovell Brooks, Friendly, Sr., 6-4
G Da’Ron Wiseman, Potomac, Sr., 5-9

Gwynn Park might be the preseason favorite with its two top juniors and some newcomers from last season’s undefeated JV team. ..... Wiseman averaged 19.8 points last season, and F David Brockenberry (10.5 ppg) also returns for Potomac. ..... Douglass hopes to start stronger after finishing last season under .500 before its postseason run.Trying to defend its league title, Friendly will be helped by the addition of Brooks and G Bernard Savoy from Friendship Collegiate

 

Boys' Basketball
PostRank School Record
1 DeMatha 5-0
2 Montrose Christian 3-0
3 Gonzaga 6-0
4 O'Connell 5-0
5 Ballou 4-0
6 Chantilly 3-2
7 Springbrook 2-0
8 Good Counsel 5-1
9 Bowie 2-1
10 T.C. Williams 1-1
11 Gwynn Park 1-1
12 St. John's (D.C.) 4-1
13 Thomas Stone 3-0
14 Potomac (Va.) 4-0
15 W.T. Woodson 3-2
16 Eleanor Roosevelt 1-1
17 Potomac (Md.) 1-0
18 Arundel 4-0
19 Georgetown Prep 1-1
20 Glenelg Country 6-0



Friday, July 10
Yellow Jackets having solid season in summer league
E-mail this article \ Print this article
 
Gwynn Park's Brian Hall (center) goes up for a basket between two Henry A. Wise players during a GPS Beltway basketball game on Monday.


Wednesday, June 3
Pratt's legacy at Towson Catholic

Pratt's legacy at Towson Catholic

There was a major shakeup late last week in MIAA A conference basketball when Josh Pratt resigned his position as Towson Catholic’s coach.

The current economic climate resulted in Pratt being laid off from his teaching job at the school earlier this year. He has since been hired at St. Vincent Pallotti to teach and coach the girls basketball team.

The Owls tabbed Reggie Williams to succeed Pratt. The Dunbar legend, former Georgetown star and NBA veteran got his coaching feet wet at the now-defunct Jericho Christian Academy in Landover. By all accounts, Williams is extremely well liked and respected as a person and coach. He should flourish at Towson Catholic.

But Pratt’s legacy at Towson Catholic should be remembered. On the court, Pratt compiled a 98-40 record in four years, which included two A conference titles and one Baltimore Catholic League crown. His tenure with the Owls didn’t start under the most ideal circumstances, but he quickly allieviated any concerns parents may have had.

“I just think Pratt came into a tough situation when they let [current City coach] Mike Daniel go. A lot of us were ready to [pull our kids from Towson Catholic] but he held the fort down,” said Larry Bastfield, the father of former Owls standout and current Toledo point guard Larry Bastfield Jr.. “He convinced us to give him a chance, so we gave him a chance and we had a hell of a run. The bond that he still has with the kids [is strong]. Those kids love Coach Pratt.”

joshpratt.jpg

Off the court, Pratt preached academics, doing everything he could to make sure his players were in good position to reach college. With one Owls player who faced his fair share of academic struggles, Pratt set up weekly progress reports and held a required study hall three or four days a week. The same player, who transferred to Towson Catholic from St. Frances early in his freshman year, lived with Vinny Breckinridge, whose son Vinny Jr. left SFA for TC at the same time.

Breckinridge Jr., who spent a post-grad year at The Patterson (N.C.) School and will join the Goucher men’s basketball team in the fall, had a seamless transition to Towson Catholic, developing into one of the Owls’ top players by his senior year. Breckinridge Jr.’s friend and housemate for eight years, however, struggled academically. Before long, Pratt offered to have this player move in with him so that he could ensure he made it to school on time and was on top of his schoolwork.

“[Pratt] offered that,” Breckinridge Sr. said. “He said he could try to help as much as he could, at least to get him through the rest of that year. [Pratt said] ‘if he could come and be willing to work, he can stay with me for the rest of the school year.’”

The talented guard ended up staying with the Breckinridge family for the time being. Unfortunately, his academics didn’t improve and his attendance rate dropped, forcing Towson Catholic to essentially expel him from school. He has since resurfaced at a school outside of the Baltimore area, and is reportedly doing well. His current coach said he has nothing but praise for Pratt and was sorry it didn't work out. Pratt told me recently that he was "a great kid" who he still hoped would be able to play college basketball.

“It broke [Pratt’s] heart when he got put out at Towson Catholic,” Bastfield said, “because he did everything possible to keep him at TC. ... The stuff he did with [this player] was above and beyond.”

When “Little Larry” wasn’t playing much in the early parts of his freshman season at Toledo, Pratt would offer encouragement and advice to Bastfield Sr., telling him things would improve for his son. And sure enough, they did, as Bastfield Jr. ended up starting 16 games for the Rockets and averaging more than 23 minutes per game.

“I definitely don’t think my son, personally, would be where he’s at today without Coach Pratt,” Bastfield said. “Sophomore year, Coach Pratt gave him the ball. He said ‘it’s your ball,’ and the rest was history.”

Whenever Breckinridge Jr., Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney, the Sacramento Kings’ Donte’ Greene or any other former Owls player was back in the area and wanted to play ball, Pratt was more than happy to open the gym. In the offseason, he took his kids to elite camps at various colleges to increase their exposure. Hosting open gyms for college coaches was another constant under Pratt.

“To me it says that he is willing to help his kids. He’s more than a basketball coach,” Breckinridge said. “He’s willing to help his kids that come through his program and extend himself beyond just coaching the team. Since Vinny Jr. went to The Patterson School, I’ve had dozens of coaches call me from all different levels. That’s all through Coach Pratt. He will just continue to help every kid [that’s come through his program] as long as the kid’s doing what he’s supposed to. He’ll help you if you’re helping yourself. He’ll bend over backwards.”

Towson Catholic should field a strong team next season, and its future is bright with Williams at the helm.

Soon enough, the Pallotti community will discover just how fortunate it is to have the Owls' outgoing coach.

Baltimore Sun photo of Josh Pratt and Vinny Breckinridge Jr. by Barbara Haddock Taylor / Feb. 24, 2008

Comments

Actually, this is return trip to Pallotti for Coach Pratt, as he coached the men's teams there in the mid-to-late 90's as an assistant to Mike Glick.



Sunday, May 24
Pallotti hires new girls' basketball coach in Josh Pratt
E-mail this article \ Print this article


Saturday, May 23
Pratt to coach Pallotti's girls

Pratt to coach Pallotti's girls

Former Towson Catholic boys' headman returns to Laurel in different capacity

Published: 05/23/2009


After a successful stint with Towson Catholic's boys' basketball team, Josh Pratt is making a switch, taking reigns of the St. Vincent Pallotti girls' program. Pratt won two MIAA A titles at Towson Catholic.
More Photos
View All


by Derek Toney
dtoney@digitalsports.com


Josh Pratt, who led Towson Catholic to a pair of MIAA A Conference boys' basketball championships, is the new girls' basketball coach at St. Vincent Pallotti. Pratt succeeds Debbie Skelly, who resigned last month after 10 seasons.

Pratt said he wasn't going to be retained as a physical education teacher at Towson Catholic next school year. He said he was contacted by several friends in the Pallotti community.

"They said they had a teaching position, so I had to look into it," said Pratt, who applied for a couple of boys' coaching positions in the D.C. metro area. "They showed a lot of interest."

I didn't want teach in one school and coach at another. It's important to be in the building."

Pratt is very familiar with the Laurel school. He was a boys' assistant under Mike Glick from 1993 to 1998 when Pallotti became a competitive force in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. He was a teacher at St. Mary's of the Mills School, located across the street from Pallotti.

Pratt moved to Archbishop Spalding as an assistant under Glick (now coach at Gwynn Park) from 1998 to 2004 before taking the reigns at St. Mary's for one season in 2004-05. He moved to Towson Catholic the following season where he succeeded longtime coach Mike Daniel. Pratt went 98-41 in four seasons including the 2006-07 MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic League titles with current Sacramento King Donte' Greene and Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, who was a third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick as a sophomore this past season.

The Owls made a late season surge and successfully defended their MIAA A crown in 2007-08. Last season, Towson Catholic went 17-13.

Now, Pratt (107-57 career record) moves over to the girls' side at Pallotti, which won back-to-back IAAM B championships in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and made four straight trips to the finals between 2005-2008. He met with the players Wednesday.

"It's the same drills and concepts, the interaction may be different," said Pratt. "I'm excited about the challenge."



Thursday, May 21
Ex Glick Assistant Pratt named new Pallotti hoop coach
Josh Pratt has been named the new varsity girls basketball coach at Pallotti High. He takes over for Debbie Skelly, who resigned in April after 10 seasons. Pratt, a former assistant boys coach at Pallotti, has been the head boys hoops coach at Towson Catholic in the A division of the MIAA and coached several future Division I players, including Donte Green, who now plays for Sacramento in the NBA. "I thought long and hard about it," Pratt said May 19. "I think coaching is coaching. It is going to be a challenge." Pratt, who hopes to teach at Pallotti, was going to lose his teaching job at Towson Catholic. He was a teacher at St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel and was also a boys basketball coach at Spalding and St. Mary's of Annapolis. Pratt was one of three finalists for the spot, along with Chris Lesesne, an assistant under Skelly. The Pallotti girls are in the B division of the IAAM but Pratt hopes to eventually move the program to the top division. Pratt coached boys basketball at Pallotti from 1993-98 and was a varsity assistant under Mike Glick. Pratt joined Glick at Spalding as an assistant after Glick left Pallotti. See more at www.laurelleader.com


Wednesday, April 29
Niagara welcomes transfer from Wilmington in Kevon Moore

Published: April 28, 2009 11:16 pm      print this story   comment on this story  

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Niagara welcomes transfer from Wilmington

By Jonah Bronstein
Niagara Gazette

The Niagara Purple Eagles have bolstered their backcourt for the 2010-11 season and beyond with the addition of Kevon Moore, a transfer from UNC Wilmington.

Moore was granted permission to contact other schools last month, and gave Niagara coach Joe Mihalich a verbal commitment after visiting Monteagle Ridge last weekend, according to his high school coach.

Moore also revealed his transfer plans on his Facebook page.

Mihalich was unable to comment Tuesday because Niagara had yet to receive any official paperwork from Moore. Until that happens, Moore’s commitment is non-binding.

Attempts to reach Moore on his cell phone were unsuccessful.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Moore will have to sit out the upcoming season. When he becomes eligible, Niagara will be seeking to replace starting guards Tyrone Lewis, Bilal Benn and Rob Garrison, as well as sixth man Demetrius Williamson — more than two-thirds of its scoring output from this past season.

Moore played in 27 games as a freshman, starting five times. After missing five games with hip and groin injuries early on, he came on to average 9.1 points, fourth-best on the team, and 4.1 rebounds in 23 minutes. In both meetings with eventual Colonial Athletic Association champion Virginia Commonwealth, Moore scored 17 points. He finished sixth in the CAA all-rookie team voting.

Mike Glick, head coach at Baltimore-area Archbishop Spalding High, where Moore played three seasons before finishing his high school career at Montrose Christian, called the 6-foot-3 left-hander “a perfect fit for Niagara.”

“He’s a multi-purpose guard,” said Glick, who coached Rudy Gay, among other top prospects, at Spalding. “He’s got the ability to play the point guard and the two guard positions. He’s a very athletic player, a slasher with a nice pull-up jumpshot.”

Glick also noted that Moore brings a 3.3 grade point average to Niagara.

“He’s a quiet kid who is all about ball,” Glick said. “He lives, eats and breathes basketball.”

E-mail reporter Jonah Bronstein at 282-2311, ext. 2258.

Photos


None/ (Click for larger image)

 



Wednesday, April 29
Fromer Glick assistant Corriero takes over Meade boys basketball program

 

Corriero takes over Meade boys basketball program

Former St. Mary's, Gwynn Park assistant teaches physical education at Meade

Published: 04/27/2009


The Meade High School boys basketball team finished 5-17 overall, 4-11 in Anne Arundel County last year. Pete Corriero was named the team's new coach on Tuesday.
More Photos
View All


by Aaron Gray
agray@digitalsports.com

Pete Corriero is the new Meade High School boys basketball coach, school athletic director Dave Lanham told DigitalSports on Tuesday.

"I really think he is the coach that will take our program to the next level and beyond," Lanham said.

Corriero replaces former coach Darryl Adams, who was not retained after coaching the Mustangs for the last six years. Adams led Meade to a 5-17 record with a 4-11 mark in Anne Arundel County last season and fell in the first round of the Class 4A East Region tournament.

Corriero, 26, is a physical education teacher at Meade and starting coaching around the state before he even graduated from the University of Maryland five years ago.

"I'm very excited and appreciative of the school for putting their faith into me," said Corriero, an Odenton resident.

"There are a lot of great athletes at this school and there's been a big improvement in the overall athletics. I'm confident the boys basketball team will continue with that trend."

Corriero started as an assistant coach at St. Mary's under Josh Pratt when he was still a junior in college. He was still at the Annapolis private school when current Saints coach Brian Konik took over four years ago and Corriero recruited Josh Morgan-Green (South New Hampshire) to the St. Mary's program.

After the 2005-06 season, Corriero joined former Spalding coach Mike Glick at Gwynn Park in Prince George's County as a varsity assistant and the junior-varsity head coach.

At Gwynn Park, Corriero played a big role in practices while supervising the strength and conditioning workouts for both the varsity and junior-varsity squads.

"I might have been the youngest assistant coach in PG County," said Corriero, who helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the state championship in 2007-08 after an undefeated regular season.

Two players from that team went onto Division I scholarships, which is something Corriero wants to continue at Meade.

"You don't see enough guys take the next step and that's something as a coach, I take pride in," Corriero said. "There's a lot of talent at Meade and now is the time for any player to step up. I'm really looking forward to working with them and helping them move on to the college ranks."

Corriero returned to St. Mary's this past season as a varsity assistant and helped guide the Saints to their second MIAA B Conference title in three years. He also oversaw a junior-varsity squad that finished 24-8 and advanced to the conference playoffs.

Corriero is very active in summer basketball camps and has big plans for the Mustangs when school lets out in two months. Going from the private school league to the Anne Arundel County public-school league should also be a smooth transition for the New Jersey native.

"The great thing about St. Mary's this past season is that we played five public schools in the county so I got a great look at the league," Corriero said. "We were one of the only teams around to beat Old Mill so I'm pretty familiar with the competition."

Severna Park, Broadneck and Chesapeake also fell victim to the Saints last season along with Meade.

"I can't wait to get started," Corriero said.



Wednesday, April 29
Basketball getting fresh look at Meade in Corriero

Basketball getting fresh look at Meade

Published 04/29/09

Meade's boys basketball program will have a fresh, youthful feel on the sidelines next season.

Athletic director Dave Lanham named 26-year-old Pete Corriero as the school's varsity coach on Monday. He replaces Darryl Adams, who guided the team to a 5-19 record in his sixth season at the helm.

"I'm very appreciative for the school, Dave Lanham and (principal Daryl) Kennedy for entrusting the program with me," Corriero said. "I'm excited to be part of the coaching fraternity in the county."

Corriero, a first-year physical education teacher at Meade, is no stranger to the county coaching scene. Five years ago, when he was a junior at the University of Maryland, he was an assistant coach at St. Mary's under Josh Pratt. He stayed on as an assistant when Brian Konik took over as head coach in the 2005-2006 season.

"He's a tremendously driven coach," Konik said. "He really has a desire to win at everything he does. Being a varsity basketball coach is something he's wanted for a long time, and he's done everything he could to be successful when he got his opportunity."

When Lanham was the athletic director at St. Mary's, he hired Corriero as an assistant.

"I interviewed him four years ago for an assistant position, and he caught me off guard as someone who's going to work hard and be determined to succeed," Lanham said. "He's broadened his coaching horizons since then. He's been in multiple situations with different dynamics, from an elite private school to a Prince George's County public school.'

At age 23, Corriero left St. Mary's to be junior varsity head coach and a varsity assistant at Gwynn Park for former Archbishop Spalding coach Mike Glick in 2008. The Yellow Jackets won the Class 2A South Region that season.

He returned to St. Mary's as junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant this year, and he was on the sidelines when Saints guard Nick Groce beat the buzzer to win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game against St. Vincent Pallotti.

The Saints defeated five public school county teams this past season, including a 60-54 win over Meade on Dec. 22.

"He's been on the staff of coaches who have won a lot of games," Konik said. "Although each head coach he's been with has different styles and philosophies, it's given him a lot of different varied experiences. It'll be interesting to see how he melds together the experience."

Corriero has also coached varsity teams in summer leagues and has run the offseason strength and conditioning programs.

"I definitely want an immediate turnaround in our program," Lanham said. "It falls in line with what we're trying to do at Meade, to get our kids involved more with offseason training and to take more advantage of the weight room."

Corriero, a Plainfield, N.J., native and Odenton resident, majored in kinesiology at Maryland and brings a new approach to the Meade sidelines, including a devotion to getting his players into college.

"It's a fresh start, and we're going in a new direction," Corriero said. "Meade always has talent. I've never been happier in a teaching envrionment. I want to reach out to everyone in the school to come out and show us what they can do on the basketball court."

The age factor doesn't bother Lanham, who also announced the rehiring of Bobby Freedenburg as the coach for girls basketball.

"That doesn't scare me at all," Lanham said. "It's a positive more than a negative.'



Wednesday, April 8
2008-09 Prince Georges County All-League Basketball Teams

Prince George's 3A/2A/1A All-League 2008-09

Boys' Team School Year Girls' Team School Year
Brandon Ford Gwynn Park So. BreAnna Gross Surrattsville Jr.
A.J. Thomas Friendly Sr. Endia Hill Surrattsville Sr.
Keith Thomas Gwynn Park Sr. Jessica Lyons Largo So.
Brabden Waters Forestville Sr. Marketta Salley Central Sr.
Timmon Whatley Douglass So. Chanae Shorter Surrattsville Sr.
Da'Ron Wiseman Potomac Sr. Cierra Washington Fairmont Heights So.
Percy Woods Crossland Sr.      
COY: Rob Garner Friendly    

Prince George's 4A All-League 2008-09
Boys' Team School Year Girls' Team School Year
Francis Ashe Eleanor Roosevelt Sr. Olivia Applewhite Eleanor Roosevelt Sr.
Colin Beatty DuVal Sr. Nikia Gorham C.H. Flowers Sr.
Delonta Boyd Wise Sr. Elashier Hall Eleanor Roosevelt Sr.
David Golladay Wise Sr. Leondra King Parkdale Sr.
Marcus Hebron Laurel Sr. Jasmine McIntosh Bowie Sr.
Lasan Kromah Eleanor Roosevelt Sr. Morgan Pope-Addison Wise Sr.
COY: O.J. Johnson Wise        



Thursday, March 5
Douglass boys knock out Gwynn Park 60-55


Thursday, March 5
Yellow Jackets buzz past Oakland Mills 66-50
EHow Gwynn Park High School's boys' basketball team would come out in its playoff opener Tuesday evening in Brandywine was not a real mystery to coach Mike Glick. Though there were concerns.


Wednesday, February 25
Gwynn Park point guard Brandon Ford out for season


Sunday, February 22
Not So Friendly of a Result 56-43

Friendly Earns Spot in County Title Game

Gonzales Provides Heroics as the Patriots Advance to Take on 4A Champion Laurel

 
Friendly's Michael Gonzales (1), who scored 12 points, is fouled by Gwynn Park's Ryan Woodard, right.
Friendly's Michael Gonzales (1), who scored 12 points, is fouled by Gwynn Park's Ryan Woodard, right. "It feels good to be the one that my team depended on," Gonzales said. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, February 21, 2009; Page E07

 

It was fitting that Michael Gonzales would get swept into the middle of the bouncing, celebrating bodies after Friendly's 56-43 victory over visiting Gwynn Park last night. It was Gonzales who provided the key baskets during the third quarter that put the Patriots ahead and the free throws in the final period that kept them in front.

So as the band keyed up a triumphant melody and the senior night crowd spilled onto the court in Fort Washington, Gonzales locked arms with his teammates and danced in the center of it all, relishing the moment.

"I ain't been in this position in a while," said Gonzales, a senior who finished with 12 points. "It feels good to be the one that my team depended on."

The victory gave the Patriots (20-2, 18-1) the Prince George's 3A/2A/1A title and a berth in the Prince George's County championship game Wednesday night at Wise, where they will play 4A champion Laurel.

Last year, Gonzales was a seldom-used backup on a team that won 13 games before losing in the region playoffs. Despite a limited role, he attended every practice and established a reputation as one of the hardest workers on the team.

He used the offseason -- Gonzales ran outdoor track last spring to increase his stamina and dedicated the summer months to becoming a better passer and honing his mid-range jump shot -- to expand his role on this year's team. He has averaged nearly six points per contest while starting every game for Friendly.

"He's really the guy who leads this team," said Rob Garner, Friendly's second-year coach.

Gwynn Park played a box-and-one defense on Patriots senior A.J. Thomas, one of the Washington area's premier scorers at 22 points per game. The Yellow Jackets (17-5, 16-2) used three defenders to limit Thomas to three points and led 34-30 in the third quarter.

That's where Gonzales took charge. He scored on back-to-back possessions at the end of the period, hitting a short bank shot from the right side of the floor to tie the game at 34 and drawing a foul on a made layup down the middle. After the whistle, Gonzales screamed and pumped his fist as the capacity crowd hooted its approval.

Friendly ended the game on a 17-5 run, with the exclamation point coming on a Brian Brooks dunk with 20 seconds to play.

Friendly 56, Gwynn Park 43 Nice Effort: Gwynn Park senior forward Corey Anderson scored a team-high 12 points. Scary Moment: Gwynn Park sophomore phenom Brandon Ford, who had eight of his team's 18 points in the first quarter, suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the floor at the start of the second quarter. He was taken to Children's Hospital and was expected to be held overnight for observation.



Sunday, February 22
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009
In a fitting twist, the boys' basketball teams from Friendly and Gwynn Park high schools met on the final night of the regular season – one game to determine the County 3A/2A/1A League champion.


Sunday, February 22
Boys Basketball: Friendly 56, Gwynn Park 43

Boys Basketball: Friendly 56, Gwynn Park 43

Patriots win 3A/2A/1A regular-season title; advances to P.G. County championship game

Published: 02/20/2009

By James A. McCray III
Prince George's County, Content Editor

Across all demographics of basketball, three words are uttered in every huddle, every practice, every minute of a tight game, defense wins championships.

The age-old saying is a staple of the basketball world and in the Friendly Patriots boys' basketball gymnasium Friday night, the saying held very true in a 56-43 victory over the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets.

Friendly (19-2 overall, 18-1 3A/2A/1A League) guard Mike Gonzales converted two consecutive steals into baskets during a 9-0 scoring run to end the third quarter as the Patriots stymied the Yellow Jackets throughout the second half only allowing 15 second-half points.

The momentum gained from the ending of the third quarter allowed Friendly to push ahead for the 3A/2A/1A League regular-season championship proving once again, defense does win championships.

"That was big because I think it got our team hyped and confident," Gonzales said of the late third-quarter efforts. "We knew that if one team could do it, then the rest of the team could do it. I think everybody followed in my footsteps."

"I think Mike was really, really excited about his opportunity to be a part of what was going on in the second half," Friendly head coach Rob Garner said. " In order for us to win a championship, we had to believe in the motto, defense wins championships."

"Mike Gonzales, in my opinion, may be one of the best defensive guards in the county," the coach continued. "The offensive players get the recognition, but he does a great job because 90 percent of the time he leads with his defense. ... I was excited for Mike to come out with those steals."

Gonzales also led the Patriots on the offensive side scoring a team-high 12 points along side teammate Justin Strong's respective 12 points as well.

"We came out with that run and picked up momentum," Strong said. " ... We never let up."

Although Friendly went into the halftime down one point, 28-27, the defensive intensity in the second half was noticeably higher and in turn paid huge dividends for Friendly in the form of a league regular-season title.

Friendly's defense was evident in the fourth quarter as well as it did not allow a Gwynn Park field goal until 1 minute, 55 seconds remained in the contest, Gwynn Park's only field goal in the final quarter.

"In order for us to win a championship, we had to believe in the motto, defense wins championships," Garner said. "At one point in time in the huddle, we had to make it known to the kids that if we were going to win this [game] we had to get some defensive stops."

Gwynn Park (17-5 overall, 16-2) guard Brandon Ford was injured in the early seconds of the second quarter after taking a nasty fall on a lay-up attempt and did not return to the game after scoring eight first-quarter points.

However, the Yellow Jackets found success down low as post-player Corey Anderson scored a game-high 13 points in the loss.

Friendly now has newly added championship aspirations after its win and now will travel to Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School Wednesday night for an opportunity at winning the Prince George's County championship.

"The globe expands now," Garner explained. "Now, we are just not playing for Ft. Washington. Now, we are not just playing for our family and friends. We are now playing for the whole county. We are playing as representatives of the entire 3A/2A/1A. ... Winning the conference was just one of our goals. We are going to go to Wise wanting to win the ball game."

E-mail: James A. McCray III

Friendly 56, Gwynn Park 43
Gwynn Park   --   18   10   6   9; Anderson 13, Ford 8, Thomas 6, Woodard 5, Coates 4, Hall 4, Blue 3

Friendly         --   17   10  12  17; Strong 12, Gonzales 12, Brooks 8, Hood 6, Bentley 6, Latson 4, Thomas 3, Baltimore 3, Duckett 2

By
Tim Chialastri
Capitol Hoops President
Discuss Your Opinion On Message Board                 

Friendly Advances To PG County Championship Game 

Capitol Hoops Press

If you would have told senior AJ Thomas that his Friendly Patriots would advance to the county championships with a win over rival Gwynn Park , the 5'10" shooting guard would have been confident of his chances. Now mention that the talented guard in Thomas who averages 21.9ppg would only score 3 points , would the answer be as confident. Probably not , however this was just the case as #14Friendly got an unorthodox win 53-46 despite a season low from their star player.

"I had to sacrifice my scoring for the team , and that's how we were able to win" added Thomas who was smothered in a box and one defensive scheme from the Yellow Jackets for the greater part of last night's contest.
 
 
The Patriots would not experience a push over Gwynn Park team by know means who came into the matchup with a 17-3 record and a 74-73 victory over Friendly earlier in the season. Gwynn Park sophomore Brandon Ford was a man on a mission scoring 10 points in the first quarter before slamming head first onto the floor. Ford led his Yellow Jackets to an early 13-7 lead before being taken to the local hospital for treatment.

Despite being a back and forth battle the entire first half , it was senior Michael Gonzales (12pts) inspired play that would propel the Patriots into their 19th win of the season. Gonzales completed a three point play and on the next defensive possession forced a Keith Thomas backcourt turnover that sent the Patriots frenzy into an all out celebration while giving a new found energy to the Fort Washington based high school. Friendly would finish off Gwynn Park on a 17-9 run that would set the table against the defending 2008 Prince Georges' County Champion Laurel Spartans (16-5) on Wednesday night.



Saturday, February 14
Gwynn Park 69, Central 59

Gwynn Park 69, Central 59

Gwynn Park came out flat and found itself down by 12 at halftime against a Central team comfortable playing at home.

"Central shot it excellent in the first half," said Gwynn Park coach Michael Glick. "I would guess they made around 75 percent of their attempts."

In the third, Gwynn Park turned the game around thanks to sophomore Brandon Ford.

"He put us on his back and carried us," Glick said of Ford's 16 points in the second half.

Central was outscored 20-7 in the third quarter as Gwynn Park dominated the rest of the game.

Senior center Corey Anderson was another outstanding contributor for Gwynn Park with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Gwynn Park (16-4, 15-1): Tion Coates 8, Brandon Ford 22, Ryan Woodard 2, Corey Anderson 13, Malachi Malik 10, Trevon Hall 3, Keith Thomas 11

Central (2-18, 2-14): Devinne White 12, El Ricco Collins 16, Jevon Jordan 12, Joven McKinny 9, Tony Clark 7, Omari George 3

Halftime score: Central 34, Gwynn Park 22.



Wednesday, February 11
Gwynn Park Routes Fairmont Heights 73-51

Boys Basketball: Gwynn Park 73, Fairmont Heights 51

Yellow Jackets win sixth straight with win over Fairmont Heights

Published: 02/10/2009

Gwynn Park's Tion Coates gets the pass off the glass and blows the roof off the Yellow Jackets' gym with this dunk in the fourth quarter of the team's win over Fairmont Heights on Tuesday night.
Tion Coates is on the receiving end of this alley-oop from Raymond Barnes late in Gwynn Park's 73-51 win over Fairmont Heights.

By Andy States
SMAC Content Manager


The second half had just begun and the visiting Fairmont Heights Hornets reeled off six quick points to cut a 14-point halftime deficit back into single digits. No matter, for the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets, who quickly squashed the rally.

"It didn't rattle us," said Gwynn Park's Corey Anderson. "We kept our cool."

Gwynn Park responded by outscoring its guests 15-9 through the rest of the third quarter, and then produced a dominant fourth quarter to win its sixth straight game by a 73-51 count on Tuesday night. The win was the 34th in the last 35 league games for Gwynn Park, which also has not lost a road game in the league since Feb. 2007. But of more importance to Gwynn Park coach Mike Glick, it was another sign that his club was moving in the right direction with the regular season winding towards its close.

"I would say the thing I'm most proud about it that we're improving and getting better as a basketball team," he said.

That was evident in the final score, as the first meeting between the teams on Jan. 12 was a tight contest, won by Gwynn Park on the road 80-75. On Tuesday, Gwynn Park (15-4, 14-1) took control off the opening tip, as Anderson tipped the ball to Brandon Ford who went in for the easy bucket just seconds in. Subsequent possessions led to three-pointers by Keith Thomas and Brian Blue, and then another basket by Ryan Woodard and before a person could blink the Jackets were up 11-2.

"The difference here is we played more like a team today," said Ford, who scored a game-high 21 points, in reference to the teams' first meeting. "We moved the ball around, watched film -- just got better."

Fairmont Heights (12-6, 10-5) took its shot at rallying early in the third, with a 6-0 run that featured baskets by Gary Williams, Khaalis Coppock-Bey and Lamont Adair. But following a timeout Gwynn Park finished the quarter by outscoring the visitors 15-9 to cement control of the game. Gwynn Park ripped off an 18-5 run to open the fourth, highlighted by a trio of dunks by Tion Coates to bring the crowd to its feet and deliver the knockout blow.

Ford led a group of five Yellow Jackets to score in double figures. Williams led Fairmont Heights with a 17-point night.

For Gwynn Park, it's all part of the team's larger goal -- to find its way through the region and back to Comcast Center for another crack at winning a 2A state championship.

"Fairmont Heights is a 2A team," Ford said. "We have to go through them to get back to Comcast. That's our main goal right now."

"Last year, 22-0, we fell a little short on a buzzer-beater at Comcast," Anderson added. "It's very important to me. I want to get back to Comcast and win it for my fellow seniors from last year."

Though Gwynn Park reached the state semifinals last season, the team on the floor looks markedly different. The Yellow Jackets feature an entirely different starting five and lost 95 percent of last year's scoring, according to Glick.

"We're playing a lot of guys that are younger players, guys that are inexperienced players and I'm just impressed with the way those guys are continuing to develop," he said. "I just think it's all coming together at the right time. I think we're getting better every game and playing our best basketball right now. We just have to continue to improve."

The only blemish on Gwynn Park's record is a one-point loss to Friendly on Jan. 22. Since, the squad has won six straight and to solidify its chances to earn the 2A South's No. 1 seed and, with it, home-court throughout the regional playoffs. Gwynn Park has three regular-season contests remaining on the schedule, including a regular-season finale at Friendly and a Feb. 17 home contest against Largo, last year's 3A state champion. Gwynn Park won at Largo 59-58 on Jan. 16.

"You're 0-0 when the playoffs start, so we can't put too much stock into it," Glick said. "At the same time, we kind of got the feeling we had last year where we're just gaining momentum and getting better and better and better. We're really hoping that's going to take us into the playoffs and we'll play our best basketball in the playoffs."

Gwynn Park 73, Fairmont Heights 51
F    13    7    15    16
G    21    13    15    24
Fairmont Heights: Williams 7 3-4 17, Brown 3 4-8 11, Coopock-Bey 1 5-8 7, Ibeh 2 2-4 6, Logan 1 2-4 4, Adair 2 0-0 4, Howard 1 0-0 2 
Gwynn Park: Ford 9 3-4 21, Coates 5 1-2 11, Anderson 5 0-1 10, Thomas 3 2-2 10, Woodard 5 0-1 10, Blue 3 0-0 9, Mohammed 1 0-0 2
Three-pointers: Fairmont Heights 1 (Brown); Gwynn Park 5 (Blue 3, Thomas 2)

astates@digitalsports.com

Gwynn Park 73, Fairmont Heights 51

Gwynn Park's high-scoring Fairmont Heights guard Khaalis Coppock-Bey to a season-low two points.

Yellow Jackets' coach Mike Glick said his team went to a box-and-one defense on Coppock-Bey, with junior guard Brian Blue drawing the assignment of shutting down the star guard with man-to-man defense.

Coppock-Bey's previous season-low was nine points against Montgomery County's Albert Einstein High on Dec. 30. He had 17 against Gwynn Park when the teams met on Jan. 12, an 80-75 win for the Yellow Jackets.

Corey Anderson just missed a triple-double for Gwynn Park on Tuesday, pulling down 18 rebounds, dishing out eight assists and scoring 10 points.

Fairmont Heights: Jamal Brown 11, Thomas Logan 4, Khaalis Coppock-Bey 2, Marlin Robinson 3, Victor Ibeh 6, Gary Williams 17, Lamont Adair 4, Howard 2.

Gwynn Park (15-4, 14-1): Tion Coates 11, Brandon Ford 21, Ryan Woodard 10, Corey Anderson 10, Brian Blue 9, Rashaad Muhammad 2, Keith Thomas 10.



Saturday, January 24
Gwynn Park 85, Surrattsville 60

Gwynn Park 85, Surrattsville 60

Every player that played for Gwynn Park's boys' basketball team scored during its win over host Surrattsville (0-13, 0-10).

The Yellow Jackets (10-4, 9-1) were led by Keith Thomas and Ryan Woodard who each had 12 points apiece.

Andre Williams led Surrattsville with 15 points. Richard Harris and Louis Simpson chipped in with 14 apiece in the losing effort.

Gwynn Park (10-4, 9-1): Brandon Ford 8, Ryan Woodard 12, Corey Anderson 8, Malachi Malik 8, Brian Blue 5, Trevon Hall 2, Corey Williams 2, Michael Fourth 3, Deante Brown 7, Raymond Barnes 6, Rashaad Muhammad 5, Keith Thomas 12, Luis Peavy 7

Surrattsville (0-13, 0-10): Richard Harris 14, Keith Ross 4, Louis Simpson 14, Andre Williams 15, William Wright 2, Julian Wright 7, John Savoy 2, Cleavon Morris 2

Halftime: Gwynn Park 44, Surrattsville 28



Friday, January 23
Game of the Week: No. 5 Friendly 54, Gwynn Park 53

No. 5 Friendly 54, Gwynn Park 53

R.J. Sims sinks a late-game free throw to lift Patriots over Yellow Jackets

By James A. McCray III
Prince George's County, Content Manager

Standing at the free-throw line Thursday night at Gwynn Park with 3 seconds remaining and the score tied at 53-53, Friendly junior R.J. Sims stood there with the ball in his hands and one could only imagine what may have been going through his mind for those brief moments before he let the ball go.

"I was just thinking this was a big time to make a big play," Sims said on his thoughts.

First place in the Prince George's County 3A/2A/1A League was up for grabs and snapping the 28-game conference win streak of the Yellow Jackets was only one swish of the net away, and it was all up to Sims and his second of two free throws. 

And although the ball hit just the back edge of the rim, it found the bottom of the net to secure the win, first place in the league and a 54-53 victory for the Patriots.

"He has been shooting free throws like that all year," Friendly head coach Rob Garner said. "We spend a lot of time in practice on free-throw shooting and for him to be able to come off of the bench like that and make one or two and make the free throw that we need; what can you say about the kid?

"He is a tough kid, mentally tough kid ... and it won't be the last time he will do that."

Sims' late-game heroics were preceded by a few late-game heroics from Gwynn Park (9-4, 8-1).

Down two points with less than 10 seconds remaining, Gwynn Park's Corey Anderson (7 points) put back a missed shot to tie the game at 53-53 setting up the game's dramatic finish.

"Overtime," Anderson said simply on his thoughts after his shot. "Overtime and winning was all I could think about."

Friendly (11-1, 10-0) gained an eight-point advantage entering the fourth quarter thanks to a defensive effort that held Gwynn Park to six third-quarter points.

The lead, however, disappeared thanks to a 12-4 run from the Yellow Jackets that tied the game at 43-43 with 2 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the contest.
 
Gwynn Park witnessed the Patriots swiftly respond with a 7-0 run of its own, capped off by an A.J. Thomas (13) three-pointer from the corner.

The 7-0 scoring run was sparked by a basket from George Latson who finished with nine points including four during crucial moments of the final period.

"I am a senior," Latson said. "I know I had to get it done for my team."

"I am just proud of our guys because we were able to come over to Gwynn Park and get a very, very tough win," Garner added. "The kids ... wanted to come out and wanted to win the ballgame. I don't know how much we can celebrate because we have to turn back around [tonight] and play a very tough Forestville team at Forestville.

"And guess what? If we lose that game, this game means nothing."

"That was a great high-school basketball game," Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick said. "It was just typical of our league. I couldn't be more proud of our kids. ... We won 28 straight games in our league, which is a heck of an accomplishment. Yeah the streak is broken, but Friendly has a great team.

Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford led all scorers with 18 points on the night.

"We told our players our number one goal is to get back to Comcast [Center, home of the Maryland state basketball championships]," Glick continued, "and this game has nothing to do with Comcast. All that it is going to do is make us better."

tmccray@digitalsports.com

Friendly 54, Gwynn Park 53

Friendly        --     13   12   14   15; Thomas 13, Latson 9, Sims 7, Brooks 7, Gonzales 6, Hood 5, Adewole 3, Mayfield 2, Baltimore 2
Gwynn Park  --     15   10    6    22; Ford 18, Woodard 9, Peavy 8, Anderson 7, Thomas 5, Williams 3, Blue 3

Three-point goals
Friendly (Thomas 3, Adewole)
Gwynn Park (Thomas, Blue)



Friday, January 23
Friendly Ends Jackets' 29 Game Winning Streak 54-53


Thursday, January 22
Battle for conference glory


Saturday, January 17
Buzzer-beater lifts Gwynn Park over Largo 59-58