By ERIK LARSON
UPPER MARLBORO – The stakes were high in front of an energized crowd at Wise High School on Wednesday night, as the annual PG County Championship game between the 4A and 3A/2A/1A regular season leaders pitted two of the top teams in the DMV.
The Raiders triumphed in thrilling fashion, 69-67 on a dunk by Holy Cross signee Malachi Alexander as time expired, but both teams were guaranteed to play again no matter the outcome. Both teams have a bye in the first round of their respective regional playoffs. Eleanor Roosevelt will host the winner of Oxon Hill vs. Parkdale in 4A South action, while Potomac will face the winner of Huntingtown and La Plata in the 3A South bracket.
Eleanor Roosevelt entered with only one loss on the season. As 4A regular season champion, the balanced Raiders posted 21 wins and 17 in conference. Their opponent, Potomac High School also showed excellent during the regular season with 18-2 overall, 16-1 conference record. The Wolverines are very talented and led by standouts Dion Wiley (20 points) and Walter Broddie (17 points).
Early in the contest, Eleanor Roosevelt seemed to be in their comfort zone, moving the ball well on offense and playing stifling defense. They jumped out to a 19-6 lead on the strength of Trevor Evans’ (15 points, all from 3) three 3 point field goals and Emmanuel Matey’s (5 points) crafty ball handling and passing. Potomac was able to fight their way back by attacking the basket and creating turnovers defensively and ended the first quarter down 22-14.
The second quarter started the opposite of the first with Potomac holding up the reputation for scoring quickly. Wiley and Brodie began to turn it on with 3 point baskets and drives to the basket. The scoring barrage was sparked by the Wolverines ability to create turnovers and execution in the fast break. Midway through the quarter they are able to obtain their first lead.
Roosevelt never backed down and began to focus on pounding the ball inside to Alexander and powerful Jesse Ason (10 points). Alexander, the game’s MVP, finished with 20 points and was able to show his potential on the next level by dominating and athletic and talented Potomac front line. Ason’s ability to take charges must also be noted; he had 4 and more importantly, he took potential scoring opportunities away from the Wolverines. Neither team separated from each other in the first half that was capped off by Brodie hitting a pull up jumper from 18 feet as the buzzer rang, giving Potomac a 34-30 lead.
The pace continued in the third quarter with Chris Winn (16 points, three 3’s) heating up from the 3 point line and Trevor Evans continuing his long range assault. Both teams did what they do best, Roosevelt scoring from inside and Potomac working the fast break and perimeter scoring. The Wolverines were able to push out to an eight point lead until Alexander hit all three freethrows after being fouled on a 3 point attempt. The score was 52-39 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter was back and forth with Potomac maintaining a slight lead for the first 4 minutes. Tiwain Kendley (11 points) of Eleanor Roosevelt tied the game at 60 with a tough drive to the basket halfway through. The back and forth flow continued as time ticked off of the clock. With 1:00 remaining in the final quarter the score was tied at 66 and Jesse Ason was fouled. He hit one of two free throws.
On the other end with 28.5 seconds remaining, Wiley was fouled on what could have been called a charge and makes one of two free throws to tie the game. After a time out, the Raiders had possession with 17.4 remaining determined to get the last shot. After Matey stalls the clock for 10 seconds, he feeds Ason at the high post, who then faced the basket and hit a cutting Alexander who finished the game with a buzzer beating dunk.
Eleanor Roosevelt's Malachi Alexander (shown earlier this season in a win against Bishop McNamara) scored the winning points on a dunk as time expired. - Photo by Charles Matthews for DMV Elite and RH Media Group.
Contact Erik Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ELarsonDMV