When Eleanor Roosevelt guard Octavia Wilson shoots a deep jump shot, the game stops momentarily as the ball rises and falls with a slow, high arc whose peak would threaten some of the area’s lower gym ceilings.
And though Wilson is a slim freshman shooting over players much stronger and more experienced, those balls are plummeting from the rafters through the net with increasing regularity, and did so time and again Friday night. Wilson scored 21 points and was 3 for 4 from behind the arc as No. 3 Roosevelt handed No. 11 C.H. Flowers its first loss, 75-49.
“It’s scary,” said Roosevelt Coach Delton Fuller of his sharp-shooting freshman. “She played incredible. So far, she’s shooting the three-ball probably best of anyone on the team.”
Wilson’s emergence — she’s scored 15 points or more in five of the Raiders’ 10 games this season — is a terrifying truth for Prince George’s 4A teams who already had plenty to handle in dominant post presence Tolu Omokore and versatile scorer Kaila Charles, one of the area’s best one-two punches.
Flowers, looked to be the team most likely to challenge Roosevelt for league supremacy. Friday night, the Jaguars simply couldn’t keep up with a typically strong outing from the Raiders’ dynamic duo-turned-trio and a hot night from Roosevelt role players such as Allannah Baiyana (nine points) and Dajah Davis (eight).
“We were expecting a close game,” said Charles, who tied Wilson for the game-high with 21 points. “So we were really surprised when we were up by 20 at the half. We got in the locker room, and Coach told us to keep working and try to show how good we are.”
The Raiders never slowed their effort, using a 30-point first-quarter explosion to spark a gritty full-court defensive effort which they kept up throughout the game. Their efforts were embodied by a fourth-quarter play in which Wilson, with the game firmly in hand, charged the length of the court to disrupt a layup by Flowers.
Roosevelt showed its depth defensively on Flowers star De’Janae Boykin, whose slow start was compounded by the Raiders’ box-and-one defense, in which a few Raider defenders took on the task of slowing the budding star. Though Boykin turned in more than a few head-turning passes, the Raiders limited her to six points while keeping her teammates in check, too.
But while the Raiders had the option of keying on the Jaguars’ star, the addition of Wilson to the Roosevelt scoring arsenal makes it even more difficult for opponents to take a similar approach against the Raiders’ stars. On nights like Friday where Wilson’s high-flying shots are falling as readily as Omokore’s layups and Charles’s transition jumpers, the ceiling for the senior-less Raiders looks high enough to hold even a Wilson three-pointer with room to spare.
“We just have to keep sharing the ball,” Charles said of the ways her team can reach its potential. “If somebody’s hot, give it to them. If somebody’s open, give it to them. We have to make sure everybody gets an opportunity because everybody can score.”