GREENBELT – For senior standout Jaden Faulkner, the pace of the game flew by him during a match against the Charles H. Flowers Jaguars on Feb. 2.
The former quarterback and current guard for the Eleanor Roosevelt boys’ basketball team struggled to find a shooting rhythm in the first half, leaving him with three points going into halftime.
However, he switched gears in the second half, driving past defenders for dunks while tracking back on defense quickly to make critical blocks.
“It’s all a different speed,” Faulkner said when comparing the two sports. "Overall (in basketball), you need your teammates to guide you back in, as they brought me back in, so you can get back your confidence and just go.”
Faulkner was not the only Raider struggling with his shot as the whole team could only muster eight points in the second quarter as they headed into halftime down by three.
Despite a mediocre shooting night, Eleanor Roosevelt produced enough offense, thanks to their role players off the bench and overall defensive play, to slay the Jaguars 52-45.
The win keeps Roosevelt (12-5) undefeated at home (5-0) while serving as a statement victory after losing to rival Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. 65-61 on Jan. 30.
Flowers (8-8), who defeated the Raiders at home 57-54 on Jan. 18, looked poised to shock the Greenbelt squad again after going on a 7-2 run late in the second quarter.
Jaguars senior shooting guard Koree Freeman led all scorers with 14 points, including finishing off a long-ranged three-pointer with two minutes remaining in the half to give Flowers a commanding lead.
Roosevelt struggled shooting from beyond the arc as only three of their several attempts went in.
Junior Cameron Brown provided the lion's share of the scoring with nine points in the first half. The Raiders’ defensive effort was the only salvageable moments of the first half as they forced Flowers to commit over nine turnovers with seven coming off of turnovers.
As Faulkner struggled in the first half and Brown was scoreless in the second half, role players off the bench gave Roosevelt a spark, generating 19 points throughout the game. Sophomore Jahari Simon had a standout performance with a team-high three blocks and scored six points in his reserve role.
“Everyone who came off the bench came in and gave us good energy,” Faulkner said. "They all came through with good energy, and it translated from practice.”
Roosevelt Head Coach Brendan O’Connell praised the depth of his roster and their ability to jump off the bench to be contributors on both sides of the ball.
“Our bench is young, and we have been struggling a bit this year to get them good minutes,” O’Connell said. “But lately, they have been playing good, and it has really added a lot to the team.”
The Raiders relayed on second-chance shots created off of rebounds and steals to bring them back into the game in the second half. Roosevelt flew into an 11-3 run after halftime. Senior Juston Bailey converted four of his final six points off of two steals that turned into easy fastbreak layups to end the quarter. Roosevelt finished the game with 10 steals.
The Jaguars attempted a late comeback in the fourth quarter, going on a 5-0 run and cut down the lead to within four. However, four technical fouls on Flowers in the final two minutes got two Flowers players ejected, including Freeman.
Flowers Head Coach Brian Brooks and one of his assistants were also called for technical fouls in the closing moments as time expired.
“We lost our composure in the second half,” Brooks said. “The technical fouls are something that just happened. For whatever reason, my kids talk to officials and officials talk back to them and then, all of the sudden, the technical fouls come.”
Moving forward with two weeks remaining in the regular season, Roosevelt looks to move forward to better performances as they prepare for the regional and state playoffs.
“It was a good win for us, but we cannot get too overexcited for it,” Brown said. “We just had to get back on track and get the W.”