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2023 Governor's Challenge: Day 3 Notebook

By Marcus Helton, 12/29/23, 12:15PM EST


Frederick made a statement, Smyrna bounced back, South Lakes showed its depth, and more note from an exciting third day.

Frederick (Md.) 2024 guard Elwyn Wordlaw.

SALISBURY, MD - When the Governor’s Challenge schedule was released in October, one of the most anticipated games was Thursday’s showdown between Maryland defending 3A state champion Baltimore City College (Md.) and Frederick (Md.), which has emerged as one of the favorites for the 4A crown.

Frederick was a 3A team last year, and seemingly on track to meet City in the final before their undefeated season was halted by Damascus (Md.) just one game short of that matchup.

It was easy to see in the pregame warmups on Thursday that the Cadets were ready, and they capitalized on that energy to pick up a 65-51 victory over the Black Knights.

Frederick 2024 forward David Dorsey had 19 points while 2024 guard Elwyne Wordlaw and 2024 guard Ivan Quijada had 14 apiece.

“I mean it's big, especially because they won a state championship and we were in the same division last year,” Wordlaw said. “And we lost in the state semis last year, so we already had this circled on our board for a long time.”

City jumped in front early on, taking a 12-point lead with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter before Frederick closed the gap to just one (18-17) after one quarter

The Cadets used big runs in the second and fourth quarters to put the game out of reach, outsourcing City 19-11 and 20-12 in those frames, respectively.

“It felt like we were ready to go from the jump,” Wordlaw said. “I mean, myself, I had a few turnovers early, so I just tried to bounce back. We got down in the beginning of the first quarter, but Coach [Emonte] Hill always talks to us about how basketball games have highs and lows, so we were just trying to play a complete basketball game and I feel like we did that today.”

2027 guard Camontae Griffin had a game-high 21 points for tee Black Knights, while 2025 guard Omarr Smith finished with 14.


Smyrna (DE) wing Obinna Coleman.

Coming off a tough overtime defeat to Stephen Decatur (Md.) on Wednesday night, Smyrna (DE) was eager to move on and get back into the win column.

Keyed by a strong second quarter, they got there with a 54-49 victory over Easton (Md.) in Shore Showcase action.

After an even first quarter, the Eagles outscored the Warriors 19-8 in the second to go ahead, and held on late to pick up the win.

“The key was just taking care of the ball and making sure we had the ball in our hands,” Smyrna wing Obinna Coleman said. “Our job is to focus on us, and making sure we attack gaps, be aggressive on defense and really just take over the game - dictate.”

Coleman had 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while also grabbing 6 rebounds and picking up four steals, leading the Eagles in all three categories. Marice Kilgoe added 14 points.

“It was an unfortunate loss last night, but I’m just glad we got the win today,” Coleman said. “... This just helps us going forward into our next few games in January. We’ve got a lot of competitive teams and some of the top schools in Delaware we’ve got to face, so we’re just ready to play to win.”

Marshall Bailey led Easton with 17 points, while Ja’Kai Brooks had 11.


Rock Creek Christian (Md.) guard Jerome Williams, Jr.

Rock Creek Christian White (Md.) guard Jerome Williams, Jr. felt confident in his scoring ability against Hodan Prep (CN), and the Eagles ended up needing every bit of his production.

Williams had a game-high 22 points and went 4-of-6 from 3-point range as Rock Creek pulled out an 86-82 victory in overtime.

“I felt like I was able to do whatever I wanted; I don’t know,” Williams said. “They sagged off the 3 and I stepped up and hit the 3; I got to the basket - I felt like I could have got a little bit more downhill and got to the free throw line, but I also got others involved. So I think I played well today.”

Sean Van Dorn had 19 points and Machi Chester 14 for Rock Creek White, and Isaiah Williams made several big defensive plays in overtime, including a steal and a pair of deflections.

“They were hitting a lot of 3’s and getting past us a lot,” Jerome Williams said, “so the key was to lock in defensively, communicate and play together as a team and close out the game, and that’s what we did.”

Hodan Prep 2025 wing Dante Censori-Hercules had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. David Popa finished with 17 points and Jaden Lee had 11, including three clutch free throws to force the extra period.


Largo (MD) 2025 Guard Cameron Ward.

Largo (Md.) 2025 star guard Cam Ward has grown accustomed to having the opposing defense’s focus on him, and he’s gotten better at handling all of that extra attention.

Ward had team-highs in points (19), rebounds (11) and blocks (4) as the Lions held off a late push from Hayfield (Va.) to win 49-45 on Thursday. When it got tight down the stretch, though, Ward didn’t press, instead drawing defenders and letting his teammates close out the victory.

“I think it's gotten easier just because it's been happening for, like, two years now,” Ward said of the defensive attention. “So the fact now is I understand what’s happening, and I know how to add my teammates into my game instead of it being just all iso ball or one-on-one. They’re sending, like, two and three [defenders] now, so the job is to also include my teammates. Towards the end of the game you saw they couldn’t trap anymore, and that’s what led us to the win.”

Emmanuel King finished with 9 points, Jared Mobley 7 and La’Tre Yawn 6 for the Lions, who are even more motivated to close out games after falling just short in last year’s state title game.

“Whenever we get in these situations we always think about that day that we lost in the state championship,” Ward said. “It was kind of the same situation - late game turnovers - and we just didn't want to have that feeling again. So, we have that opportunity now to redeem ourselves, and I think that’s what kind of carries us throughout the season.”

Largo jumped out to a 16-6 lead after one quarter and held the advantage until Hayfield made a move in the second half to trim the deficit.

Phenix Card had 15 to lead the Hawks, while Aaron McFarlane added 13.



South Lakes (Va.) 2024 forward David Rochester.

South Lakes (Va.) 2025 guard Jordan Scott has garnered a well-deserved amount of attention over the past year. One Thursday the Seahawks showed that even when their star has a low-scoring night, they still have more than enough firepower.

6-foot-8 Brown University-bound 2024 forward David Rochester had 19 points and went 4-of-5 from 3-point range as the Seahawks pulled away late to down West Catholic (Pa.), 74-50.

Tyler Andre had 15 points for South Lakes, while Merrick Rillstone had 13. Scott finished with just 7 points on 2-of-5 shooting, butt led the Seahawks in rebounds (8) and blocks (4).

Saiid Lee led the Burrs with 14 points.


Wednesday saw the crowning of another group of Bracket Champions. On the girls’ side, Hayfield (Va.), Oakland Catholic (Pa.) and St. Mary’s (Md.) took home titles, while on the boys’ side Faith Baptist (Md.) and St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) won. …  Potomac School (Va.) guard Sabrina Anderson nearly outscored the opposition by herself in her team’s 69-21 rout of St. Charles (Md.), posting 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. … Archbishop Carroll (DC) 2024 guard Hassan Dorman continued his hot week, going for 30 points and 10 rebounds in the Lions’ consolation bracket win over Glenelg Country (Md.). In two games this week he averaged 28 points and 8.5 rebounds.


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