On Saturday, hosting the DMVElite Holiday Tip-off, Charles H. Flowers High School basketball coach Mark Edwards had a chance to get a glimpse of Thursday night’s opponent, Bowie.
The Bulldogs impressed during the tournament, dominating Arundel, 71-39, in a game that was never really close.
“They’re always good,” he said. “They always got good guards.”
Unfortunately for Edwards, that scouting report proved prophetic on Thursday, as Bowie’s guards recorded 62 of 66 points in a 66-54 win over the Jaguars in the opening Prince George’s 4A League heavyweight contest of the season.
“Overall, I think our guard play is strong,” Bowie coach Cedric Holbrook said. “It just puts us in a position to be successful and that’s all that really matters. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
As he did in the opener against Arundel, point guard Jared Gray led the Bulldogs, scoring 24 points on just 13 shots and thwarting every press or defensive wrinkle Edwards threw his way. Backcourt partner Dejuan Smith added 13, Cory Washington another 10, and sophomore Christian Bryant, Gray’s backup, chipped in nine more.
The game personified the disparate styles of play between Flowers and Bowie. While Holbrook’s team relies heavily on guards for the brunt of the offensive production, Edwards looks to his frontcourt in Clint Robinson and forward Patrick Johnson.
Together, the two combined for 35 points (18 for Robinson, 17 for Johnson) and got to the free throw line 22 times, though they made just 11. That was essentially how the night went for the Jaguars. All in all, Flowers would make 39 trips to the stripe, capitalizing on just 22, half of which came from Devin Shuler, who finished 11-of-13 in scoring 15 points.
“That’s pretty good,” Edwards said. “We would like to get to the free throw line that many times every game but we would like to make more.”
During several stretches of the game, Flowers’ only source of points, however badly it may have been shooting, was from the free throw line. When the Jaguars went cold, as they did on a number of occasions, Bowie stretched the lead further. Midway through the third quarter, the Bulldogs ran off a 10-0 run in less than two minutes, stretching the cushion to double-figures for the first time. Flowers drew within a possession several times but could never quite bring it all the way back, and the Bulldogs effectively protected their lead.
“I feel like I have a mismatch every time,” Gray said. “I feel like I can go by everybody who can guard me. That’s why I feel like I can score whenever.”
Holbrook was visibly pleased with his team’s effort, especially that of Gray, who has now scored 43 points on just 25 shots this season. Suitland awaits tomorrow in another 4A clash while Flowers gets its second of three games in a row with Bladensburg to be followed by Goretti on Saturday.
“That was a high quality opponent,” Holbrook said. “Flowers has an outstanding team. They have a very good team — great size, great athleticism. We basically played toe-to-toe with them.”
Bowie 66, Charles H. Flowers 54
Bowie 17 17 17 15 — 66
Flowers 12 17 16 9 — 54
Bowie (2-0, 1-0): Jared Gray 24, Dejuan Smith 13, Cory Washington 10, Christian Bryant 9, Kade Monroe 6, Everett Chambers 2, Anthony Barnes 2.
Flowers (1-1, 0-1): Clint Robinson 18, Patrick Johnson 17, Devin Shuler 15, Johnson Ogunyoye 2.