The number 41 was seared into the Eleanor Roosevelt girls’ basketball team’s memories this season. Not only was it the number of turnovers committed in last season’s Maryland 4A state semifinals against North Point, it was also a figure that represented carelessness. It became a symbol for a young team trying to create its own moment.
In Saturday’s rematch against the Eagles in the Maryland 4A final at Towson, the only number that mattered to the Raiders was zero. That was the number of times they doubted themselves against a new rival — and in the end, it was the number of losses they finished with this season.
Brimming with confidence — brashness, even — Roosevelt dominated North Point. Junior center Tolu Omokore scored 15 points and grabbed 20 rebounds to lead the Raiders to a 64-30 win over the Eagles, sealing Roosevelt’s first state title since 2009.
Freshman guard Octavia Wilson scored 20 points and sophomore guard Kaila Charles added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Roosevelt (26-0), which finished off one of the most dominant years in school history with its most resounding victory yet.
“I challenged them,” Roosevelt Coach Delton Fuller said, “and they stepped up to the challenge.”
North Point (24-3) had won all but one of its victories by double digits this season and entered Saturday’s title game having won 13 games straight, but it simply couldn’t match Roosevelt’s energy, spearheaded by Omokore. Nicknamed “Kangaroo” by Fuller, Omokore — with her signature Mizuno knee pads — pulled down 15 offensive rebounds, including eight in the first half. That helped her team take a 29-11 lead in a game in which the Raiders never trailed and were never challenged. The Raiders outrebounded North Point 60-37 and held the Eagles to 9-of-53 shooting from the field.
“I just go get it,” Omokore said of her approach, adding she expected her team to have a perfect record this winter. “When we did Fall League, I was like, ‘All right we got this.’”
Even with her team leading big, Omokore was relentless in the third quarter, using offensive rebounds to fuel a personal 6-0 run near the end of the quarter to push the lead to 21. Wilson showed no stage fright in her title game debut, and in the fourth quarter she scored on back-to-back possessions. Charles, who is developing into a high-level recruit in the class of 2016, added an up-and-under layup moments later, pulling the crowd at Towson out of its seats.
It was a day that marked the return of Eleanor Roosevelt girls’ basketball, she said, a program that won five straight crowns from 2005 to 2009.
“We’re on a start,” Charles said. “This is the first of many.”