By ANDREW FEATHER
WALDORF, MD - Cameron Hayes and Zion Cousins provided a dominant post presence for Frederick Douglass as the Eagles rode a soaring start to an 82-56 win over Clinton Christian in the DMV Tip-Off Classic on Saturday afternoon at North Point High School.
The pair combined for 47 points and 18 rebounds as they overpowered anyone Clinton Christian threw at them.
“We have a goal, and that’s to win a state championship,” Hayes said after the win. “In order to accomplish that goal we can’t relax, we have to grind no matter what they do and we did that today.”
Douglass was strong defensively all night, holding Clinton Christian to 30.2 percent shooting (16-of-53) from the field, and just 15.8 percent (3-of-19) from 3-point range. The Eagles also forced 17 turnovers, turning those into 25 points.
“Defense is a thing that we focus on every day in practice,” Douglass guard Donald Carey said. “We knew that we would have to focus on defense this game just like every game, and we played played well defensively and got the win.”
According to Hayes, “If you play for [Douglass] you better play defense or you’re not going to play. Defense is our backbone. Offense wins games but defense wins championships.”
But it wasn’t just the play of the Douglass forwards that stood out, it was the tremendous number of fouls. The teams combined for 48 fouls on the night, including 27 in the first half. The teams also combined to shoot 65 free throws on the night and more than 30 percent of points came off of free throws.
After Clinton Christian jumped out to an early lead, Douglass came roaring back, going on a 15-4 run to take a 20-10 lead heading into the second quarter.
Clinton Christian came charging back, going on a 10-4 run to start the second quarter to pull the game within four, 24-20 on a layup by forward Jordan White. But Douglass wouldn’t back down, pushing the pace offensively and heading into the halftime break up 37-30.
In the second half Douglass was in complete control. The closest Clinton Christian came the rest of the way was six points, 49-43 with 3:49 to go in the third quarter. Douglass then upped the tempo on offense and pressured Clinton Christian on defense, leading by 12 at the start of the fourth quarter and not letting up the rest of the way.
Hayes scored a game-high 25 points for Douglass. Cousins added 22 and Carey scored 12 points and had nine rebounds for the Eagles.
Tydarius Harris led Clinton Christian with 20 points on 4-of-14 shooting and Jordan White and Vince Rose added 13 and 10 points in the loss.
Clinton Christian star Melo Eggleston did not dress for the game and his absence was not injury-related.