Friday night’s rematch between the boys basketball teams of Largo and Central high schools had, surprisingly, all the makings of a rout. It had taken the Lions just 9 minutes to build a comfortable 10-point lead on the backs of big men Abdulai Bundu and John Majors, whom Central had absolutely no answer for.
In fact, early in the second quarter, Bundu had as many dunks (three) as Central did field goals.
“It’s great working with Abdul, he’s a pretty good post player like myself,” said Majors, who finished with a game-high 24 points while adding 11 rebounds. “No better frontcourt.”
But that was about when the script for a rout stopped, and the back-and-forth game many probably expected began. Ultimately, through all the runs and slumps and turnover sprees and free throws, it was Largo upsetting No. 7 Central in Capitol Heights, holding on for a 54-51 win.
“They knew we had our bigs and they wanted to stop us from getting the ball to the middle of the floor,” Largo coach Lewis Howard said. “… Our high-low was pretty hard to stop.”
Largo built up a nice 18-10 cushion by the end of the first quarter by constantly pounding it inside but, midway through the second quarter, the Lions went away from the post-heavy game that Central couldn’t contain and began hoisting up quick 3-pointers and long midrange jumpers. Central, meanwhile, was working on getting Davon Taylor as many touches as he could handle.
The 6-foot-1 guard scored 10 straight points for the Falcons to whittle the deficit to 24-22. They would enter the break down five, but with Largo finding no way to score outside the lane and finding no way to get the ball safely into the lane, they seemed poised to take over. And in the third quarter Central did just that, scoring the first six points after halftime to take its first lead of the game with 5 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the third.
The Lions would hit just one field goal the entire third quarter, enduring a near-10 minute drought without one, but through free throws and scrappy defense remained down just one entering the fourth quarter.
“He’s one of our leaders,” Central coach Lawrence Pugh said of Taylor. “He’s our heart and soul of the team.”
Then, throughout the fourth, Largo went back to its roots, feeding Majors the ball every possession, whether it had to be forced or not, and he delivered, scoring 11 of his 24 points in the final quarter. Bundu, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, would add six of his own in the fourth — the two combined for 16 of the 19 field goals made by Largo on the night.
“John just played a tremendous game, he’s coming into his own,” Howard said. “Finally getting himself where he’s been able to get the minutes and convert some plays and he’s doing a great job. He’s probably been our most consistent player all season.”
Largo hasn’t lost a game since Jan. 8 and Friday’s win is its seventh in a row. Likewise, Central hadn’t lost since Jan. 8 prior to Friday and was in the midst of a four-game winning streak.
Of much more concern for the Falcons than the end of a streak, however, is the health of leading scorer Calvin Lovitt. The senior guard got caught up diving for a loose ball in the third quarter and appeared to be in a great deal of pain. He was taken to the hospital immediately following the game.
“It all depends on Calvin Lovitt right now,” Pugh said. “If he’s OK, we’re going to pick up right where we left off. If not, some other guys are going to have to step up.”
Largo 54, Central 51
Largo 18 9 6 21—54
Central 10 12 12 17—51
Largo (11-6; 10-4): John Majors 24; Abdulai Bundu 17; Damone Carter 5; Dion Gardner 4; Aaron Thomas 2; Connie Ihearauh 2.
Central (10-4; 9-3): Davon Taylor 20; Calvin Lovitt 8; Micheal Hooks 7; Dequan Smith 7; Seth Chrislon 4; Kamron Hall 3; John Brown 2.