Wise Expects to Compete Despite Roster Adjustments

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The starting lineup for the Wise boys' basketball team underwent some changes between the start of practice and the Pumas' season opener.

Talented sophomore point guard Daryl Traynham transferred to a school in North Carolina. Then another would-be starter, 6-foot-7 Maxie Esho, told Coach O.J. Johnson the day before the season opener that he did not want to play this season. On the heels of losing third-team All-Met forward Roscoe Davis to Hargrave Military Academy last summer, the Wise roster had taken a significant blow.

There is talent remaining, however. Senior guards Donald Williams and Antoine Brown and junior guards Phil Wood and David Golladay are scoring in double figures through the season's first two games, a loss to Riverdale Baptist and a victory over Suitland.

"We still have a pretty good team and expect to compete for the [Prince George's] 4A this year," Johnson said. "If this had to happen, it's better that it happened in the preseason."

Shot Sharing at Northwest

Early-season success is nothing new to the Northwest girls' basketball team. Just like last year, the Jaguars are 4-0.

What's different, though, is a more complete team effort, anchored around junior center Deven Green and senior forward Nikki Day.

Green is averaging 20.3 points in the four victories and has gone to the free throw line 41 times in those games, showing an ability to use her size to attract contact.

"She's playing out of her world right now," Jaguars Coach Marc Waldman said. "Anytime we need a big shot, it's like, 'Here you go,' and she's come through."

Day has nearly doubled her scoring average from a year ago to 17 points per game.

But what's most promising about this year's Northwest team is that role players have recognized the double-teams on Green and haven't been afraid to take advantage. Guards Grace Stewart and Jordyn Miles have taken shots Waldman said they might have passed up last year.

"When they're in their range," Waldman said, "everyone is looking for her shot, and that makes everyone better."

Largo Develops Chemistry

Through the first two games of the season -- both wins -- Largo Coach Ayana Ball-Ward likes what she's seen from her new starting five.

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