The Eleanor Roosevelt High School girls’ basketball team, the undefeated 4A state champions last season, continued its winning ways in Monday night’s summer league championship game with a 33-28 win against Bishop McNamara.
“The girls came together,” said Roosevelt head coach Delton Fuller. “It was very good to see some girls step up. All in all it was a good victory. We knew coming in to the game it was going to be a battle until the end, and that’s exactly what it was.”
Roosevelt went ahead early in the first half leading the McNamara 17-7. However, that lead was quickly shut down during the second half. McNamara fought back and cut the lead to three points at 31-28 with only one minute left in regulation.
With only seconds left on the clock, Roosevelt guard Kaila Charles got called for an offensive foul, giving McNamara one last possession and a chance to become the new champions.
“When Kaila went out, Tolu (Omokore) stepped up and said, ‘We’re going to get this win,’” Fuller said.
Rising senior Tolu Omokore’s prediction ended up being correct. McNamara unable to take advantage of its last possession. Roosevelt sophomore Alia Parker sealed the game with two free throws to extend the lead to five points with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.
“I feel relieved and glad,” Omokore said. “It was hard to beat (McNamara) twice. This competition was tougher than the one we played last season against them, but I had that ‘let’s do this’ mindset.”
Omokore scored seven points while Charles led the team with 14 points. Parker contributed four points.
Zenzele Vital led McNamara in scoring with 10 points while Myka Johnson-Matthews contributed six points, and Kyara Frames scored five points.
Despite the loss, McNamara head coach Frank Oliver Jr. said the team’s performance in the summer league is a positive step for the program.
“We’re making progress,” said head coach of Bishop McNamara, Frank Oliver Jr. “A year ago we were 3-27 when I first came in, and now we’re playing in a championship game against the top team in the state. This means that we’re making progress slowly, but surely. Going into next year this is a very positive sign that we’re showing improvement and that we’re really trying to get better and improve the program. My hat goes off to these young ladies; they’re definitely turning the corner and making Bishop McNamara one of the top programs in the area.”