Girls’ basketball: Fun is working for C.H. Flowers

Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post - C.H. Flowers standout De'Janae Boykin (right) has a dance-off with teammate Sierra Eggleston during practice on Jan. 30.

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With 10 players gone from last year’s 19-5 team, C.H. Flowers girls’ basketball Coach Patrice Frazier-Watson didn’t know what she’d have in her 2013-14 Jaguars. So instead of pressing to match the success of last year’s more experienced team, she and her staff did their best to wait and see exactly what this year’s group had to offer before setting expectations.

“We wanted to be patient so we could see what the makeup of this team would be,” Frazier-Watson said. “We learned that they’re young, they’re silly, and they’re having fun, and we just did not want to disrupt that.”

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Allowing youth and levity to reign worked better than Frazier-Watson or her players could have imagined. The No. 6 Jaguars finished the season with a 16-1 record, their lone loss coming to unbeaten No. 1 Eleanor Roosevelt, and won 10 straight to close the season.

“Honestly, I thought it might be a rough season coming this year,” said junior De’Janae Boykin, who leads Flowers with an average of 22 points and 16 rebounds per game. “I didn’t think we’d be where we are right now.”

The Jaguars average just fewer than 67 points per game, sixth-most in the D.C. area, and are holding opponents to an average of 34 points as the eighth-stingiest defense in the region. They locked up a first-round playoff bye and the No. 2 seed in the 4A South region behind Roosevelt. If both teams win their second-round games, they would meet in the regional semifinal.

Flowers has done it with youth at key positions: Boykin and fellow junior, point guard Sierra Eggleston (13 points per game) are constant scoring threats, and have been backed by the scoring contributions of junior Diamond Douglas (9.6 points per game), the steady hustle of Nicole Hill and the emerging consistency of sophomore Kameryn Robinson.

The energetic Jaguars are known to share smiles and dance moves to the sounds of pregame introductions with their coaches. But Frazier-Watson, who said she’s seen the younger players begin to trust themselves and their instincts more and more, says the key to a deep playoff run will be how quickly the team sheds the safety net of inexperience and begins considering itself a true contender.

“In January you grow up, in February you mature, and come playoff time, regardless of who the team will be, it’s just a whole other approach,” Frazier-Watson said. “The season is zero-zero at this point, so the kids have graduated. We joke with them: If you’re a junior, you better act 45 years old. If you’re a senior, you’re 52. Freshmen, you’re not a freshman anymore.”

 
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