Friendly boys' basketball coach Gerald Moore has two favorite memories from this past season. Neither, though, has anything to do with the Patriots going 25-2 and winning their second consecutive state championship.
Others remember talented and athletic Sam Young's acrobatic dunks or Young making good on a pledge to do a series of back flips after Friendly's victory in the title game.
Moore, though, fondly calls two moments from the Patriots' 78-76 victory over Oxon Hill in the inaugural Prince George's County title game. First, Moore said, he enjoyed watching standout guard Chris Howard bang his chin but keep making plays. Moore also particularly remembered Young grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring the decisive basket with eight seconds left.
"I think those were my two favorite moments," Moore said.
Like the Friendly boys' team, the Gwynn Park girls' team repeated as a state champion, winning its third consecutive title with relative ease. The Yellow Jackets, led by standout guards Kristen Boone and Kemena Brooks -- who signed with North Carolina at Greensboro -- went undefeated in county play, a feat also accomplished by the Friendly boys' team.
The county's two other basketball state champions, however, were somewhat of a surprise.
The Potomac girls' team, with a group of talented guards that included Lauren Brittingham, Juantele Cook and Tenisha Chase, won the Maryland 2A title, the first in any girls' sport for the Oxon Hill school. The Wolverines routed undefeated and defending state champion Walkersville in the title game, 62-37.
Even more unexpected was the Northwestern boys' team. After a so-so regular season and fourth-place finish in the Prince George's 4A league, the Wildcats went on a stunning run to win their first state title in 17 years. The Wildcats charged through the regional playoffs with victories over the past two state champions, Oxon Hill and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Standout forward Jeff Green blocked a shot at the buzzer in a 58-56 Maryland 4A semifinal victory over Glen Burnie, but that was only a prelude to Northwestern's last-second heroics in the state final. Springbrook's Folarin Campbell made a leaning three-pointer to tie the game, but Wildcats guard Chaise Lancaster dribbled the length of the court and -- with Green covered -- made a running shot as time expired to lift Northwestern to a 61-59 victory.
There were also basketball disappointments.
The McNamara girls' team, ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today for nearly all of the season, lost to St. John's in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final. Coach Mike Bozeman left to take an assistant coaching position at Fordham.
The Oxon Hill girls' team, led by Virginia-bound guard Denesha Kenion, won its third consecutive regional title and fourth in five seasons but failed to win its first state title. Coach Debra Anderson resigned after the season.
The Gwynn Park boys' team lost the Maryland 3A title game to Douglass of Baltimore, 66-65 in double overtime, the Yellow Jackets' fourth state final loss in the past six seasons and sixth in 11 seasons under Coach Steve Matthews, a defeat Matthews said he still occasionally thinks about.
"Probably once a week," said Matthews, calling this season's title defeat the most painful he has experienced. "You always think of the what-ifs and the whys."
In wrestling, Gwynn Park won the county championship, edging Roosevelt on the strength of heavyweight Jason Best's triumph in the last bout of the tournament.
In indoor track, Suitland and Roosevelt won the Maryland 4A/3A boys' and girls' championships, respectively. Serge McGill won the 55-meter dash and ran on two state-record setting relay teams as the Rams won their second consecutive title. Freshman twins Takecia and Tameka Jameson led the Raiders to their fourth consecutive state title. Takecia won the 300 and 500, Tameka was second in the 500 and 800 and senior Kafi Pollard won the 800.
Afolabi Aromire of C.H. Flowers won the 300 and 500 in the boys' 4A/3A meet, and Roosevelt's Kerry Pollard won the shot put. Tiffany Nesfeld of C.H. Flowers won the 55. In the 3A/2A meet, Derrick Williams won the shot put. In the 2A/1A meet, Potomac freshman Rachelle Wright won the shot put.