For anyone searching to find Eleanor Roosevelt High School senior guard Daria Simmons when the Raiders are playing Bowie this fall, look no further than the free throw line because that is where she has resided in two encounters with the Bulldogs, leading the Raiders to a sweep of their rivals.
Back on Jan. 18, Simmons sank 14-of-17 free throws to help hold of Bowie in a 48-44 victory. Fast forward to Tuesday night and Simmons stepped to the line 17 times — two more than all of her opponent — and knocked down 16 of them to spark the Raiders to a 53-46 road victory.
“I was just trying to do my game,” said Simmons, who led all scorers in both games with 22 points. “They kind of switched up on us, but I was still trying to attack and get my shot off and get the foul called. It was an ugly win, but we'll take it.”
Roosevelt (20-0, 17-0 4A League) also took home the County 4A League crown and a spot in next week's county championship game as it moved two games ahead of second-place Bowie (18-3, 15-2) and three games in front of Charles H. Flowers with one regular season contest remaining.
“It was another grinder,” Raiders coach Delton Fuller said. “We didn't play well at all, but I told the girls to keep grinding. Daria stepped up huge. She got a little disciplinary problems in practice so she didn't get to start but she came through like a true senior and hit some huge free throws. She played like a senior.”
On what was Senior Night for Bowie, which honored their upperclassmen at halftime, neither team could get much going offensively, including an 8-7 first quarter because of turnovers and a lot of missed layups. The Raiders held that one point lead after the first eight minutes of play and a 20-19 lead at the half behind seven free throws by Simmons.
Roosevelt extended its advantage to as much as eight points late in the third quarter before a 7-2 run by the Bulldogs, including a 3-pointer by Ryan Maynard, trimmed the deficit to 38-35 heading into the final eight minutes.
The game remained close as Bowie's halfcourt trap severely limited Roosevelt's offensive chances while Roosevelt's box-and-one on Marshauna Butler (14 points) helped hold Bowie in check. The difference down the stretch was six free throws — four by Simmons and two by Kaila Charles (13 points) — plus two inside baskets by Alannah Baiynia that kept the Raiders just far enough ahead for the win.
“Too much reaching, that was No. 1 and the second thing that really, really got us — I kept telling the girls be patient in our offense,” Bulldogs coach Chris Ferguson said. “We were trying to rush through everything. Even though the game was tight in the first half, we still weren't in a rhythm in our offense [and] a lot of reaching; you can't put them on the line.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 53, Bowie 46
Eleanor Roosevelt 8 12 18 15 — 53
Bowie 7 12 16 11 — 46
Eleanor Roosevelt (20-0, 17-0): Daria Simmons 22, Kaila Charles 13, Jazmin Faulkner 12, Alannah Baiyina 4, Tolu Omokore 2.
Bowie (18-3, 15-2): Marshauna Butler 14, Amara Jackson 10, Alexis Newbold 6, Tyra Durrett 4, Marjani Lillard 3, Ryan Maynard 3, McKenzi Bess 2, Serena Brown 2, Sabriena Shubert 2.