Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s Trevor Evans already hit a big shot this season — a buzzer-beater against DuVal that he later called the biggest make of his life. But his 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter Tuesday night against Charles H. Flowers wasn’t too shabby either.
Evans’ buzzer-beating shot forged the Raiders ahead for good in an energy-filled contest in Greenbelt during which Roosevelt pulled away late to beat Flowers, 49-40, and remain undefeated on the season.
“[That shot] was big because we had started playing better in the third quarter, but I think when we saw the lead, that helped us pick it up even more,” Evans said.
The play developed differently from Evans’ game-winner against DuVal. This time, Evans sprinted down the floor, received the ball from point guard Emmanuel Matey, toed the line at the top of the arc and let loose his signature high-arching 3-point shot. The raucous crowd on Roosevelt’s side erupted when the ball fell through the net.
The bucket gave the Raiders a 34-32 lead after they had trailed by six at the half.
“We’ve been down at the half a few times this year and every time we’ve challenged them, they’ve responded, so that was a good job tonight,” Raiders coach Brendan O’Connell said.
Roosevelt, which improved to 10-0, outscored Flowers 27-12 in the second half while shooting 37.2 percent from the field (19-of-51).
“I think we’ve shown that we’re good at finishing out games,” said Raiders center Malachi Alexander, who scored a game-high 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds. “It’s not that we want to come out slow, but in the second half, [the coaches] tell us what we need to do and we come out and fix it.”
While Evans’ shot was crucial in helping the Raiders create distance in the final eight minutes, Roosevelt’s defense — as it always seems is the case — was suffocating in the third quarter. The Raiders held Flowers to four points on 2-of-8 shooting as the Jaguars’ offense reset itself multiple times.
“We try and pride ourselves on defense,” Evans said. “This game wasn’t really any different. We had to make sure we knew our assignments and what each player could do. We tried to play with intensity, and we think that wins us the game.”
Alexander’s big night didn’t come easy as he was pitted against one of the county’s budding big men in Flowers sophomore Clint Robinson. Robinson finished with six points — including an emphatic dunk in the second quarter — and 14 rebounds.
“He’s pretty athletic. He was fighting the whole game. That was a pretty good battle,” Alexander said.
Off the bench for Roosevelt, sixth man Lerenzo Foote finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in a solid effort. Depth appears to be one of the Raiders’ strengths this season.
“[Lerenzo’s] been doing that all year,” O’Connell said. “In my eyes, we have six starters. We’ve been playing 10 guys a game and I think it helped us tonight, too.”
Flowers coach Mark Edwards also was pleased with Robinson’s effort, but cited a lack of offensive execution down the stretch as the team’s biggest reason for falling short.
The teams will meet again the regular season at Flowers on Feb. 5.
“You don’t get many big games like this early in the season,” Edwards said. “It was a big game to start us off and there will be a few more. I think there’s something we can gain from this. Tonight was playoff-caliber basketball.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 49, Charles H. Flowers 40
Charles H. Flowers 8 20 4 8 — 40
Eleanor Roosevelt 11 11 12 15 — 49
Charles H. Flowers (6-4, 5-2): Brandon Green 10, Kofi Andoh 9, Dontae Holloway 7, Clint Robinson 6, Patrick Johnson 3, Juwan Weldon 3, Kyle Jones 2.
Eleanor Roosevelt (10-0, 7-0): Malachi Alexander 18, Lerenzo Foote 10, Trevor Evans 8, Ishmail Jabbie 4, Tre Butler 3, Bryant Best 2, Andre Fox 2, Emmanuel Matey 2.