Though they have taken separate paths, the Friendly and Oxon Hill boys' basketball teams entered the week perched atop their respective league standings.
Friendly Coach Gerald Moore is impressed by the number of points his Patriots (9-0, 5-0 Prince George's 3A/2A/1A League) are scoring -- 78.3 per game, third-best in the area. But he's more pleased by the number of players contributing. Five players average at least nine points per game, led by senior point guard Trevan Jackson's 18.5.
"All people say is how many points did a player score," Moore said. "No one asks how many rebounds did you get or how many charges did you take. It's all about points, points and points. I'll tell you what: The biggest reason why we're undefeated is because everybody is scoring for us. We don't have one or two guys doing it all. Our whole team is getting involved."
As effective as Friendly's players have been in putting the ball through the hoop, Oxon Hill's have been just as good at keeping the ball from going through theirs. The Clippers (9-2, 8-0 Prince George's 4A League) have yielded an average of 51.7 points per game -- nearly seven points fewer than any other team in the league. Their defense is remarkable considering that Oxon Hill played seven of its first 11 games against teams with records of .500 or better.
The Clippers entered the week coming off their best defensive performance of the season, limiting a Parkdale offense that averaged 60.3 points per game to just 38 on Friday.
"That was our best defensive game of the season, and that's how I'd like to see us play every game," Oxon Hill Coach Billy Lanier said. "We are a defensive team first because we don't have a player who's going to score 30 points every night. But I think as a team, we can be very good defensively when we play like we're capable of playing."
Potomac Gets Defensive After winning nine league games in the past two seasons combined, the Potomac boys' basketball team entered the week tied with Gwynn Park for second place in the Prince George's 3A/2A/1A League with a record of 5-2, just one game shy of matching the number of league wins the team had last season.
Potomac is easily the league's most improved team, primarily because of a defense that has allowed only 58.3 points per game -- down from 67.4 last year.
"Our goal is to not let a team score more than 12 points in a quarter, and when they score more than 12, our guys are mad," Potomac Coach Rico Reed said.
Reed attributed the Wolverines' success this year to a combination of experience and trust, as the team's three leading scorers -- Emmanuel Jean-Francois (16.9 points per game), senior guard Nicholas Griffin (14.7) and senior guard Gordon Bunn (11.9) -- are returning starters and have accepted their roles on the team.
"There may be some people who are surprised at what we've been able to accomplish so far this season, but I'm not," Reed said. "Our guys trust each other out there, especially on defense."
Wolverines Start Fresh Despite opening the season with losses in five of his first seven games, Potomac girls' basketball coach Michael Strother was optimistic his Wolverines would have a prosperous new year when they returned to Prince George's 3A/2A/1A League play after the holiday break.
Led by the stellar play of junior guard Lauren Brittingham, the Wolverines (4-7, 4-2) started the new year with victories over Surrattsville and Forestville last week.
After scoring a game-high 14 points to lead the Wolverines to a 60-42 victory over Surrattsville on Jan. 7, Brittingham turned in the best performance of her career by posting a triple-double (a career-high 26 points, 10 steals and 10 assists) to lead her team to a 61-60 victory over Forestville.
Brittingham is emerging as one of the county's most improved players. She entered the week averaging a team-best 14.5 points and eight assists per game and is shooting 73.3 percent (22 of 30) from the free throw line. She made just 58.9 percent of her free throw attempts last year.
"Lauren has been amazing the past two games, and she's bringing a lot of intensity that's rubbing off on the rest of the team," Strother said.