Fort Washington natives Chania Ray and Auteaonna Gilmore, a pair of 5-foot-8 senior guards, have combined with Chloe Jackson to form a veteran and potent backcourt to lead the top-ranked Riverdale Baptist High School girls basketball team to 20 wins with a handful of regular season games remaining.
Jackson, a Waldorf native, was leading the Crusaders (20-3) in scoring at 16.4 points per game, followed by Ray (13.8 ppg) and Gilmore (10.9 ppg) to help Riverdale Baptist win 10 of its last 11 games through Sunday, including five straight wins after a 61-53 win against H.D. Woodson (D.C.) on Saturday.
Ray has been particularly hot as of late, scoring 14 or more points in the team’s last six games with a high of 22 in a 64-37 win against Georgetown Day (D.C.). Gilmore broke out of a recent scoring slump with 23 points against Woodson.
With Monday’s commanding 83-56 win against Crossland, the Gwynn Park girls basketball team improved to 13-2 overall and 12-0 in the County 3A/2A/1A League. The Yellow Jackets will now get a chance to collect wins against the bottom half of the league before finishing the season against contenders Largo (13-3, 11-1) and Friendly (9-4, 8-2).
Genesis Lucas (17.9 ppg) continues to lead Gwynn Park from her point guard position and she’s aided by Takayla Ellis (12.5 ppg) and Crystal Strother (11.3 ppg).
Coming off back-to-back appearances in the 4A state final, Henry A. Wise has experienced a tougher than usual season this winter, but the play of senior guard Channell Ferguson has been a breath of fresh air.
Ferguson is averaging 15.2 points per game, including a 35-point performance in a 77-54 loss to Suitland on Dec. 5, a 22-point performance against Northwestern Dec. 11 and 18 points in a 41-31 win against DuVal Jan. 8. She has scored 11 or more points in eight of nine games for the Pumas (4-5), who lost the majority of last year’s squad through graduation.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Emmanuel Matey turned in a virtuoso performance in a rematch against DuVal on Monday night, dishing out a school record 15 assists and scoring nine points to relieve any lingering doubt critics could still harbor in the Roosevelt backcourt.
But who does coach Brendan O’Connell turn to for ball-handling duties when Matey needs a breather or is beleaguered by foul trouble? The bruising 6-foot-7 Malachi Alexander.
O’Connell said on Monday night that, if it came down to it, Alexander is probably the “team’s second-best ball-handler.”
“That’s no joke,” O’Connell said. “If [Matey] can’t bring it up, Malachi is going to bring it up. He can bring it up. He’s that good.”
Alexander has proven his versatility all year long, dominating smaller teams such as DuVal in the post — he finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds against the Tigers — and exploiting mismatches by floating out toward the 3-point line where centers will typically leave him alone. He buried a pair of shots from deep in Monday’s win to total nine 3-pointers on the year.
“He gives everybody trouble. I mean, find a big man that’s better,” O’Connell said. “I’ll take him any day.”
Largo at Central, 7:15 p.m., Friday: Lions have a big opportunity to close the gap in the 3A/2A/1A over second-place Central.
Wise at DuVal, 7:15 p.m., Friday: Pumas can trade spots with the Tigers with a win on Friday.
Suitland at Bowie, 7:15 p.m., Tuesday: Expect another close one. It took Bowie an extra period to take a 2-point victory in the first matchup.
Charles H. Flowers at Eleanor Roosevelt, 7:15 p.m., Tuesday: Raiders look to remain unbeaten against dangerous Jaguars.
Bowie at Suitland, 7:15 p.m., Tuesday: Rams, Bulldogs will try to keep pace with Eleanor Roosevelt.
Elizabeth Seton at Good Counsel, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday: Roadrunners conclude tough stretch of games with defending WCAC champions.