UPPER MARLBORO – After countless battles against each other over the years, a group of seniors from Prince George’s County and Montgomery County finally got to join forces and take on their neighboring counterparts.
On Sunday, 42 players representing 30 schools took part in the VOLi Sports/FiOS 1 All Star Games at Wise High School. It was the third year for the game, but the first time that it featured the county vs. county format.
“It was great,” Douglass High boys’ star guard Timmone Whatley said of the event. “It’s a great thing to come out and play against people that you’re competing against all season. It’s fun to come out here and represent your school and your county and try to get a ‘W.’”
PG got two, in fact, with its girls winning 66-64 in the early game and the boys prevailing, 84-73.
For all the players involved, Sunday’s game presented an opportunity to go against completion they typically never see until the state tournament.
“Going to states, we always root for PG teams against the MoCo teams,” Largo guard Jessica Lyons said. “So yeah, it was kind of interesting seeing their talent against our talent.”
The Prince George’s girls rallied in the fourth quarter to get their win, as they used their defense – a non-existent aspect in most All-Star games – to force nine Montgomery County turnovers.
“We tried to have fun at the beginning,” Lyons said, “so we were like, ‘OK, we’ve got to pick it up somewhere else,’ and we picked it up defensively.”
The PG boys also fell behind early, as MC’s shooters rained 3-pointers on them early. Montgomery County made nine 3’s overall, including four in the first quarter.
“We knew Mo County had the shooters,” Roosevelt forward Prince Okoroh said with a smile, “but they were making, like, everything. I tipped one and he still made it. So, it was like, ‘Alright, y’all can shoot, y’all got it.’ Mo County’s got the shooters.”
Prince George’s trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter, but outscored Montgomery 26-6 in the final eight minutes to pull away for the victory.
“Weirdly enough in an All-Star game, I think free throws ended up hurting us,” Montgomery coach Christopher Lun of Whitman said. “We missed a lot of free throws and PG County’s was really athletic; they had some guys flying up and down the court and it just caught up with us. But it was fun.”
PG used it athleticism to turn in several highlight reel-worthy plays. Bowie State-bound Gwynn Park forward Tion Barnes threw down three dunks – including two off perfect lob passes from Whatley and Surrattsville’s Alexander Noble – and found Okoroh for a posterizing dunk that swung the momentum in their team’s favor for good. Okoroh was fouled throwing down the one-handed slam and made the free throw to put PG up three points with 3:01 remaining.
“I got the steal and ran the floor hard,” Okoroh said. “I saw Tion and called Tion’s name and he saw me and dropped it off to me, and I was just like, ‘Showtime.’”
Here are the thoughts of a few other participants on the experience:
Friendly guard Davon Morton: “It’s awesome to play in an All-Star game with a whole lot of different people that you play against all the time, you know? Its good players and you have fun, because the main thing about it is having fun.”
Whitman forward Daniel Voigt: “Even though it’s the first time that we’ve done it, I felt like both teams definitely wanted to come out and represent their county. It was fun to play in it.”
Gaithersburg guard Malcolm Miller: “It’s fun. I mean, we all play each other during the regular season, so it’s good trying to come together and root for each other in an All-Star game.”
Parkdale center Sophia Lepzem: “We jelled together, and we had fun overall in practices and the games. It was good from the first day.”
Watkins Mill coach Ivan Hicks: “I think it’s good, because the experience of playing another team as All-Stars brings everybody together. If we switch counties again next season, that would be fine, too. It’s about honoring the girls for their hard work and their accomplishments.”
Wootton center Gabby Flinchum: “It was a lot of fun, because I know all the seniors here have worked really hard the past four years, and it’s nice to see it being paid off. It was fun.”
Gabby Flinchum (Wootton) 14, Jasmin McRoy (Watkins Mill) 13, Andrea Johnson (Bethesda Chevy-Chase) 12, Amanda Whitmer (Magruder) 11, Cheyenne Brown (Springbrook) 8, Danielle Garroutte (Northwest) 2, Anna Hackett (Clarksburg) 2, Leeda Jewayni (Churchill) 2, Kendall Thomas(Sherwood) 2.
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
Jessica Lyons (Largo) 12, Dominique Person (Flowers) 10, Parris Preston (Largo) 8, Rashawnda Carter (Surrattsville) 7, Zairra Harris (Forestville) 7, DeAnna Waters (Wise) 7, Channell Mackey (Gwynn Park) 5, Jazmyn Robinson (Northwestern) 4, Kia Dawkins (Wise) 3, Sophia Lepzem (Parkdale) 3.
Montgomery Co. 12 12 27 13 – 64
Prince George’s Co. 13 14 19 20 – 66
3-Point Goals— MC 6 (Whitmer 3, Brown, Johnson, McRoy), PG 4 (Lyons 2, Mackey, Person). Total Fouls—MC 16, PG 13.
Malcolm Miller (Gaithersburg) 12, Daniel Voigt (Whitman) 12, Joe Emurasabe (Magruder) 9, Andre Gaines (Quince Orchard) 8, Ben Kelly (Quince Orchard) 8, Enerio Jones (Springbrook) 8, Jarid Watson (Springbrook) 7, Chris Viqueira (Clarksburg) 5, James Wallerstadt (Wootton) 3, Derek Miller (Poolesville) 2.
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
Davon Morton (Friendly) 17, Lamont Adair (Fairmont Heights) 12, Timmone Whatley (Douglass) 9, Brandon Bailey (Largo) 8, Prince Okoroh (Roosevelt) 8, Tion Barnes (Gwynn Park) 7, Arnold Richmond (Crossland) 7, John Savoy (Wise) 5, Nicho Tyson (Suitland) 5, Alexander Noble (Surrattsville) 4, Joshua Fitzgerald (Bowie) 2.
Montgomery Co. 25 25 17 6 – 73
Prince George’s Co. 19 21 18 26 – 84
3-Point Goals— MC 9 (Voigt 4, Kelly 1, Jones 1, D. Miller 1, Viqueira 1, Wallerstadt 1), PG 4 (Morton 2, Richmond 1, Whatley 1). Total Fouls—MC 16, PG 13.