Chris Morgan scored 12 points to lead the Suitland High School boys' basketball team to a 53-47 victory against host Charles H. Flowers on Friday in what was a back-and-forth game featuring eight lead changes and seven ties.
“The kids fought, and we knew that it was going to be a hard-fought game,” Rams coach George McClure said. “I thought coming into the season that Flowers was one of the top two teams in the [Prince George's County 4A] league, and even though they were missing some tough kids, I still knew it would be a tough game.”
Suitland looked to be pulling away early in the contest, building an 18-10 lead on the strength of an eight-point run to end the first quarter. Marquette Brown (11 points) and Darryl Smith (five points) paced the Rams in that first period, as each player connected on a three-pointer to help build the early advantage. Brown added another long-range shot in the second quarter, and led all Suitland scorers with seven at the half.
“Marquette can score,” Morgan said. “He usually starts, but today he came of the bench. I knew that he was going to pick it up and play a good game today.”
The Jaguars (12-7 overall, 11-5 division) battled back in the second quarter, briefly retaking the lead at 25-24 with 1 minute, 57 seconds to play in the half. Kofi Andoh led the charge for Flowers, scoring five points during the rally. Andoh finished with a team-high 12 points for the Jaguars, nine of those coming in the first half.
The Rams (12-8, 11-6) responded quickly and reclaimed the lead on a layup from Morgan. The junior forward also connected on a free throw to push the lead to 27-25 at the break.
Flowers rallied again early in the third frame, eventually tying 36-36 with three minutes left in the quarter. Dante Holloway provided the spark to ignite the comeback attempt, scoring five of his 10 points in the period.
“I told the kids at halftime that there was no doubt that Flowers was going to make a run,” McClure said. “It was very much like a boxing match, they were going to throw some punches, we were going to throw some punches, and we just wanted to be the last ones standing.”
A 12-4 run for Suitland over the next seven minutes provided a comfortable eight-point cushion with four minutes remaining in the contest. The Rams scored eight of those points on second-chance baskets, as they aggressively pounded the offensive glass. Half of Suitland's 32 rebounds in the game came at the offensive end of the floor, leading to 19 second-chance points.
“We went through a couple stretches toward the end of the third quarter and into the fourth where they didn't make any of their initial shots,” Jaguars coach Mark Edwards said. “They got everything off the glass, and everything was a rebound or put-back, or a rebound and foul and they get to the free throw line. We were doing a decent job on our initial defense, we just need to rebound the basketball.”
After losing four of their past six games heading into the game, the Rams will look to build off the momentum they gained with Friday's road victory.
“Oh yeah this was a good win,” Morgan said. “We are trying to squeeze up and get that fourth seed. We needed this win today.”
Suitland 53, Flowers 47
Suitland (12-8, 11-6) 18 9 15 11 -- 53
Flowers (12-7, 11-5) 10 15 11 11 -- 47
Suitland: Chris Morgan 12, Marquette Brown 11, Gerrard Gray 9, Savon Walker 8, Darryl Smith 5, Nolen Dixon 4, Raymond Brown 2, Tyree Wallace 2.
Flowers: Kofi Andoh 12, Juwuan Weldon 10, Dante Holloway 10, MyKel Johnson 7, Clint Robinson 6, Rayquan Zimmerman 2.