Theodore Roosevelt senior Mike Warren grabbed a flick from junior Johnnie Shuler near the top of the key, rose in rhythm and stroked another three-pointer during the third quarter of Thursday’s 76-69 win over 13th-ranked Riverdale Baptist.
Often, Warren punctuates his outside shots by extending three fingers into the air. But when this ball swished net from deep, his third in a two-minute span, the guard only shrugged his shoulders and happily bounced back upcourt.
Both Theodore Roosevelt and Riverdale Baptist played the nonleague contest in Northwest without multiple starters, and Warren’s shooting helped swing a tight game. He finished with a season-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, hitting five of the team’s 12 three-pointers as the second-ranked Rough Riders kept their unblemished record intact.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Warren, who hit 27 three-pointers total in his first 17 games. “When you know you’re on, you want the ball.”
Both teams had to juggle their rotations to match their available personnel, but still managed to produce an entertaining game in which neither team led by more than six points until the final minutes.
Theodore Roosevelt (20-0) played without usual senior starters Everett Quick (eye injury) and Tavon Alexander (suspension), leaving juniors Jarrell Allen (13 points) and Jibreel Faulkner (10 points) to pick up the slack.
Warren scored 11 points in the third quarter, including the three-pointer midway through the period that gave the Rough Riders the lead for good at 45-42.
Faulkner threw down a pair of momentum-swinging dunks in the fourth as the home team pulled away. The first came off an alley-oop from Shuler, and on the other, the forward broke down the lane and leaped over a defender to draw a foul and make it 67-62 with 1 minute 42 seconds left.
“I’m just glad we got over the hump without those [starters] being on the floor tonight,” Coach Rob Nickens said. “I think a lot of those guys you won’t always hear about played big. . . . When those guys have it going we’re a tough basketball team.”
Meantime, Riverdale Baptist (20-8) was missing three starters because of academic issues for the fifth straight game, including its top two scorers in seniors Nigel Johnson and Khary Doby. Coach Louis Wilson said those players will be eligible to return on Monday at National Christian.
“We’re a pretty deep basketball team,” Wilson said. “Even though we lost three starters tonight, I felt like we hung in there, worked really hard and defended as best as we could. It was just their night to make three-pointers.”