A year ago, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School girls' basketball team went into the Prince George's County Championship game with a perfect record, only to have Gwynn Park spoil its undefeated season.
The Raiders wouldn't let that happen again this time.
Playing against 3A/2A/1A League co-champion Largo, Roosevelt (21-0), the 4A League victor, overcame a sluggish start to win 71-35 in Thursday's title game at Henry A. Wise High School in Upper Marlboro.
“We used it as motivation to come back and win,” sophomore Kaila Charles said.
Charles and freshman Octavia Wilson scored 26 points apiece to lead the Raiders to their first county title since 2009.
“We have goals on the board back in our team room and that's definitely one of our goals, so we can check this one off,” Roosevelt coach Delton Fuller said.
Roosevelt took an 11-9 lead over Largo (16-6) into the second quarter and trailed at several points during a back-and-forth first half. Early in the second quarter, forward Tolu Omokore was whistled for her third personal foul, leaving the team without its leading rebounder. But after trailing 20-19, Roosevelt went on a 13-4 run — capped off by Wilson's buzzer-beater — and took a 32-24 lead into halftime.
The second half was all Roosevelt. Led by Charles and Wilson, the Raiders tightened up their defense and put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Charles scored the team's first 10 second-half points, extending Roosevelt's lead to 42-27 with her third 3-pointer.
“We were just like, we need to wake up,” Charles said. “... I couldn't just stay there and be sluggish. I had to wake up and I had to help my team.”
Wilson scored 16 second-half points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
“[Coach Fuller] told us that we needed to stay calm and pick it up,” Wilson said. “He kept our intensity up.”
Roosevelt allowed only five points in the third quarter and took a 52-29 lead into the final period. Charles had a team-high seven blocks, giving the defense an interior presence with Omokore sitting on the bench.
“She works really hard in practice and she pushes everybody else to work hard,” Wilson said.
Alexys Long scored a team-high 13 points for Largo, which represented 3A/2A/1A after winning a coin flip tiebreaker against Gwynn Park.
Roosevelt will play the winner of tomorrow's Wise-Bowie matchup in the second round of the 4A South Region tournament. The Raiders lost to North Point in last season's state semifinals.
“We're just going step by step by step,” Fuller said. “I told the girls, enjoy the win tonight. Right back to work tomorrow.”
Roosevelt 71, Largo 35
Roosevelt (21-0) 11 21 20 19 — 71
Largo (16-7) 9 15 5 6 — 35
Roosevelt: Kaila Charles 26, Octavia Wilson 26, Tolu Omokore 5, Alannah Baiyina 4, Jaala Henry 4, Daijah Davis 3, Tracy Okoroh 3.
Largo: Alexys Long 13, Stephanie Guihon 8, Antanae' Cash 4, Chance Graham 4, Kendall Ihejirika 4, Amel Duggins 2.