HYATTSVILLE — The Capitol Hoops Summer League at DeMatha is in full swing with local teams taking on non-conference opponents in matchups that don’t normally occur in the regular season. Tuesday was no different as the Whitman Vikings (3-3) clashed with and defeated the 1-3 Central Falcons from Prince George’s County by a score of 62-57.
At first, it appeared as though Central was going to extend its 14-point halftime lead and cruise to an easy victory, as Whitman registered just 16 points in a sluggish first half. Falcons forward Devonte Young (15 points) led the charge as he grabbed second-chance rebounds under the basket, drawing a foul in the process. Central point guard Craig Morton (six points) passed off to Young after a fast break for an easy two points under the basket.
Meanwhile, the Vikings couldn’t seem to get going at the foul line after as several players missed their free throws, totaling six in a row. The Vikings also strung together a scoreless four-minute period that allowed Central to add to its comfortable lead.
“We just over-dribbled and haven’t moved the ball and haven’t gotten guys good shots,” said Vikings head coach Chris Lun of his team’s first-half performance. “We were just stagnant, standing around, no energy. We had to make a decision if we’re going to keep playing like that or are we actually going to share the ball and be unselfish. The guys stepped up.”
The Whitman team that took the court in the second half looked like a completely different squad from the one that had struggled in the first half. The Vikings capitalized on Central’s mistakes and jumped out to a 9-0 run that stunned the Falcons and caused Central head coach Leon Cunningham to burn a timeout.
Whitman guard Brendan Shaver, who had managed just two buckets in the first half, finished the evening with a game-high 19 points after a successful second half.
The Falcons offense that had previously appeared so prolific now suddenly couldn’t seem to get a single basket. The Vikings wiped away Central’s lead just five minutes into the second half after guard Jason Lewis, a St. Andrew’s transfer, rebounded his own shot twice before landing a layup on the third attempt.
However, Central wasn’t going to go away that easily. The Falcons tied the game up again after forward Michael Calloway scored twice in a matter of seconds. The Vikings found themselves back at the free throw line as Central trailed by two with just 24 seconds left.
This time, the first half’s free-throw woes eluded Whitman and the Vikings closed out their third win of the summer season.
“We had an opportunity to stop their run, but they made shots and we didn’t,” said Cunningham. “We came out in the second half and in the first five minutes we had three turnovers and they scored off of each one of them. We missed some defensive rotations in the second half, which was uncharacteristic of us.”
Both Lun and Cunningham stated that one of the best features of the summer league is that teams get to play against opponents they’re unfamiliar with, which helps them prepare for the regular season later this year.
“There’s no bad teams down here, so every game is tough,” said Lun. “We’re playing WCAC schools, IAC schools, P.G. County schools, so this is a great experience for us and it’s only going to help us get ready for county play in the winter.”
Whitman will have a few days off before playing its next opponent, a team called DC Evolution, next Thursday. Meanwhile, Central is set to play DeMatha on Saturday.