Juwan Cofield brought the ball up the court with a little more than seven seconds on the clock.
His Surrattsville High School boys' basketball teammates were scattering to different parts of the perimeter with their palms out, waiting on a catch-and-shoot opportunity.
Instead of passing, however, Cofield found an open space along the 3-point arc and pulled up for a game-tying shot attempt. The ball rolled off the rim as time expired Thursday and the Hornets lost to Richard Montgomery 54-51 in a More Than Basketball summer league game at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C.
“[We're] going to win or lose on me,” said Cofield, a rising junior. “Today I just — we lost. But I'll take it”
“I started to call a timeout,” Surrattsville coach Demario Newman said. “But I said, 'You know what, let me see what he can do ... give him an opportunity.' It's as simple as that. It's basketball man.”
A season ago, Cofield averaged 10 points per game, but with Evonte Hill, who averaged 21, and David Curtis, who averaged 11.5, now gone to graduation, Cofield will be one of the leaders of a young Surrattsville team.
Newman does not want people to think the scoring load is all on Cofield.
He said he likes the team they have returning, and that the offense will not be an issue with different players capable of and expected to contribute.
“This year is definitely going to be a team effort,” Newman said. “Right now, I do lean on him a lot for a lot of different things. Basically for leadership ... and also Kordell [Kershaw], [our] point guard — leadership.”
Kershaw is only listed at 5-foot-5, but the rising senior played bigger than that in Thursday's game.
He made difficult shots in the lane over taller defenders on Richard Montgomery's roster.
“Good point guard play. He can handle the ball, pass the ball, shoot the ball. So I think that's going to be the facilitator for our team this year,” Cofield said about his teammate.
Last season, the Hornets went 5-19, continuing a trend that started in 2010 of alternating winning seasons and losing seasons. They were 13-11 in the 2012-2013 season and they likely want to continue that trend for at least one more year. But in order for them to be better, Newman and Cofield agreed, they need to work on defending and boxing out this summer.
“Like I said, I'm excited for what we have coming back,” Newman said. “Just got to constantly put some work in over the summer. Finish out the summer, come back into the fall, get in the weight room. Just keep working.”
Similarly, Richard Montgomery lost it's top scorer, Noah White (9.2), to graduation, but the margin in points scored between he and rising senior Renzo Farfan (8.5) is not as wide.
Farfan, and a cast of other rising seniors who played in Thursday's game, including Nick Jackson, David Bottenberg and Justin Nikakhtar hope to improve on an 11-13 record from last season.
Thursday marked the final night of the More Than Basketball regular season. Every team participates in the playoffs, which are set to begin on Monday. The final is scheduled for Thursday.