Even though DuVal High School's boys' basketball team lost all but one player from last season's starting lineup, the roster still is profiled virtually the same way.
Tall, quick and athletic. And Eleanor Roosevelt coach Brendan O'Connell says that combination “is a problem.”
But the Raiders — playing without injured 6-foot-5 forward Victor Okafor — held their own on the boards, played typically sound defense and came away with a 63-51 victory Thursday night in front of a packed gym at Roosevelt.
“They're as athletic as it comes,” O'Connell said of DuVal. “I thought we did a good job on the boards, especially in the second half. We had a guy sick and a guy hurt, so we needed our guys to step up.”
In particular, Andre Fox and Ishmail Jabbie, who combined to score 41 points and pull down 20 rebounds, performed well. Fox led all scorers with 23 points while Jabbie delivered his best effort of the year, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds off the bench.
“It's been an up-and-down year for me and I'm glad I was able to come out and impact the game,” Jabbie said. “The coaches always want me to attack the offensive and defensive boards. I'm just trying to get my confidence back and I'm glad it worked out today.”
Early in the third quarter, DuVal erased Roosevelt's comfortable lead on the strength of an 11-0 run spearheaded by dynamic junior wing man Donald Lane (21 points). Lane scored eight consecutive points — including converting a pair of difficult 3-point plays after being fouled on a good shot attempt — to pull the teams even at 35-35 with 4 minutes, 17 seconds remaining. After O'Connell called a timeout, however, the Raiders went on a 10-0 run of their own, capped by a 3-pointer from Jabbie.
“They gave it to us there in the third quarter, but I thought our guys showed a lot of poise,” O'Connell said. “No one panicked and we came right back at them.”
The win was Roosevelt's (10-2, 8-1) fourth in a row, while DuVal had its modest three-game winning streak snapped. Though the Tigers (6-7, 4-5) generated some of the game's more flashy plays — both Lane and Edward Polite had two dunks and converted on a number of difficult drives — Fox quietly did what's he's been doing all season as the Raiders' leading scorer. The 6-foot-3 senior finished 8-of-13 from the field and drained five 3-pointers. That left DuVal coach Lafayette Dublin unhappy with his team's defensive effort in what's been an unpredictable season for the Tigers.
“It's pretty much effort,” Dublin said. “These guys have got to trust each other more and start sharing the ball more. We've only got one guy that played last year, that's Edward, so they've just got to gel to help us get over the hump to start beating quality teams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 63, DuVal 51
DuVal (6-7, 4-5) 8 13 18 12 — 51
Eleanor Roosevelt (10-2, 8-1) 15 15 19 14 — 63
DuVal: Donald Lane 21, Edward Polite 16, Kevin Simpson 5, A.J. Wilson 3, Justin Alexander 2, Christian Hillian 2, Khalil Newkirk 2
Eleanor Roosevelt: Andre Fox 23, Ishmail Jabbie 18, Gregg Boyd 5, Larry McCan 5, Delascio Dancy 4, Trae Butler 3, Quincy Winstead 3, Eric Kinard 2