Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:49 AM
Photo by Daniel Kucin. Michael Giles reaches for a loose ball. Giles scored 16 points in the Bulldogs’ victory.
Published on: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
By Daniel Kucin
The Bowie Bulldogs are on the rise after beating the previously undefeated Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders Friday night.
The Bowie boys’ basketball squad was still finding themselves as a team and the players knew that the bulk of the rest of their schedule would be against top-tier teams. That did not shy them away from showing Roosevelt what they were made of in a critical road contest that had huge playoff implications.
“An old Bowie team might have packed in the bag, but this team just kept fighting,” Bowie head coach Cedric Holbrook said. “If we keep fighting, we have the opportunity to win every game.”
“We are a young team,” Holbrook added. “If you really think about it, we were only playing two seniors. We are learning how to win basketball games, and even if we lost tonight I would have commended them on how much they fought all game.”
Photo by Daniel Kucin. Jalen Robinson attempts a shot. Robinson finished the game with nine points and nine rebounds.
Roosevelt was killing Bowie inside in the first half with exceptional play from Malachi Alexander, who dropped 17 points and was menacing on the boards with seven rebounds.
Despite looking to be completely outmatched, the Raiders held a six-point lead at the end of the first. With just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bowie senior guard Michael Giles drained a huge 3-pointer to tie the game. Giles scored 16 points, and he knocked down three crucial shots from beyond the arc in the Bulldogs’ 60-55 victory.
Bowie went on a 13-7 run to tie the game up at halftime. It was tightly contested until late in the third quarter when Roosevelt seemed to be pulling away with a 10-point lead. Bowie’s lack of speed in transition on defense led to numerous fast-break dunks by Roosevelt’s Tiwian Kendley. However, Bowie responded to the fast-paced attack and started to drop shots on the opposite end.
“We were taking shots too early and shooting the ball hard so it was coming off the rim long, and it set up them for those fast break points,” Holbrook said. “You know when we settled down and started to take better shots, the ball was at least coming off soft. … It gave us a chance to fight for it and get it back, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Bowie’s Dejaun Smith was the game’s hero. Smith led his team in scoring with 18 points.
Roosevelt was up by two-points in the remaining seconds of the fourth quarter. Smith set up and hit a 3-pointer that made Bowie’s sideline erupt with jubilation as he gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead with three seconds remaining.
“It felt good. I thought that we should have beaten them in regulation, but we fought hard all the way through,” Smith said. “I feel like we are in a great position, and we have all of the pieces to win all of these games if we play hard.”
Roosevelt threw the inbound pass to Alexander, who was fouled on a controversial call inside the key. He was sent to the line for two shots. Alexander could have stolen Bowie’s thunder by winning the game, but he managed to only drop one of the pressure-packed set of free throws.
Bowie took control in overtime by holding the Raiders to only three points. Smith put the game out of reach with 17 seconds remaining, as he drained both of his shots at the charity stripe.
Roosevelt was stunned at home, and the Raiders’ 12-game winning streak is just a memory now. After the weekend, the Raiders still sat at first place in Prince George’s 4A, and Bowie will have to continue to control its own destiny with a 9-4 record. It is any team’s league at this point as the end of the season slowly starts to unfold with many surprises and upsets.