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Boys’ basketball: Central runs away from Douglass in overtime

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Central junior Davon Taylor raced toward Douglass junior Keyonte Frager in the right corner, knowing he’d get to the shooter too late. On what might have been the final play of Friday’s Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A contest in Capitol Heights, Taylor got screened and left his man open for a game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

But Taylor made sure his lapse was quickly forgotten in an 88-73 overtime victory. The 6-foot-1 guard scored eight of his 15 points in the extra period.

After Frager extended the game, Taylor sparked a dominant effort in the four-minute overtime. The Falcons scored on eight of their first nine possessions and held the Eagles without a field goal to clinch a victory that kept them in second place behind No. 13 Potomac (Md.) in the league standings.

“I had made a mistake,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t let my team down. I had to bring us back up.”

Frager capped a fourth quarter that featured five ties and eight lead changes with a shot that bounced from the rim to the backboard and through the net to tie it at 71, but the good feelings didn’t last long for Douglass (7-5, 5-3).

Taylor put the Falcons (7-3, 6-2) ahead to stay with a driving layup off the overtime tip. After battling foul trouble in regulation, he took charge in the final minutes, daring the Eagles to step in front and draw the charge. Instead, he ended up with three layups in a 90-second span that helped put the game quickly out of reach.

Meantime, senior Calvin Lovitt battled through his own foul issues to keep Central in the game down the stretch. He drilled five three-pointers en route to his game-high 25 points, closing his performance with a long-range shot that made it 86-73 with 1 minutes 9 seconds left in overtime.

“I was telling everybody [after regulation], ‘It’s not over,’ ” said Lovitt, the team’s leading scorer at 20.3 points per game. “We knew we could still win. It was just one shot.”

To Coach Lawrence Pugh, the victory signaled the latest step in a rebuilding effort that began when he took over the team in 2010.

The previous season — when the current seniors were freshman — Central didn’t win any games on the court with its only victories in the final standings coming via forfeit.

The Falcons won nine games in Pugh’s first season before jumping to 11 last year, and they have been competitive in every game this season with two of their three losses decided in the final minute.

“We didn’t even have to say anything” heading to overtime, Pugh said. Lovitt and Taylor “took it upon themselves. They said, ‘We’ll get it back in overtime.’ . . . When the kids talk like that, I’m going to trust them to go out there and do their thing.”

Douglass hung tough with a balanced scoring effort as 11 players recorded field goals, led by senior Saquan Epps-Walker, who had 18 points.

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