COLLEGE PARK, MD - For the first 8 to 9 minutes of Saturday’s Maryland Class 4A state championship game, it looked like the Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders might be in some real trouble.
The underdog Broadneck Bruins were lighting it up from 3-point range, with each made shot drawing a louder ovation from their supporters and intense reactions from the players on the floor.
Then Raiders got a bucket and a defensive stop. Then another. And another. And after outscoring the Bruins 27-8 in the second quarter, the rout was on, with Eleanor Roosevelt cruising to a 77-48 victory at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
The state crown is the fourth in program history and the third for Roosevelt coach Brendan O’Connell, with the last coming in 2016.
“”I’m super excited and I’m super proud of these guys,” O’Connell said. “They’ve been one of the most fun teams to coach all year long. I’m so happy for these seniors, because they’ve been such a big part of what we’ve been doing for the last four years, and they deserved it.”
One of those seniors, star guard Cameron Brown, scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds - both game highs - in his final high school contest.
“They were playing off me the beginning of the game,” Brown said, “and I missed a few shots and all my teammates and Coach O’Connell told me to just keep shooting the ball and a few went in and I kept getting to the rim.”
The Raiders (24-3) needed Brown’s offense early in order to match Broadneck’s opening salvo. The Bruins had five different players hit 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 21-18 lead.
“We knew they could shoot it - obviously we weren’t expecting them to hit every 3 they take,” O’Connell said. “And I think they took us off guard a little bit defensively, too; they were trying to take Isaiah [Gross] out, and then they were really playing off Cam, and I think that disrupted us a little bit early.”
Roosevelt’s depth and athleticism proved to be too much for Broadneck to handle though, as the Raiders took a 45-29 lead at the half and were up 63-35 after three quarters.
“I think we were confident with how we handed their pressure [early],” Broadneck coach John Williams said, “it was just whether or not we could sustain it. Unfortunately, they made a couple of runs there in the second quarter and we sputtered offensively, and that was really the difference in the game after that. We really had some trouble gaining any sort of traction after that.”
2019 guard Jamar Young led the Bruins with 22 points.
2019 guard Jaamir Butler had 13 points for the Raiders, while 2020 guard Jahari Simon had 12 and Gross 10. 2019 point guard Kyle Rose had 6 points, 10 assists and 6 steals.
“It feels great,” Gross said. “We came up short last year and we thought we were going to be able to be here last year, but just coming in here and finishing my year on a high note is really great. You can’t do better.”