A game of spurts, intense battles inside the lane and fine perimeter shooting finished with Suitland holding off No. 6 Largo to win a Prince George's 4A boys basketball game, 71-69, last night at Suitland.
The two-point margin showed how little difference there is between the teams that figure to be the front-runners in what is predicted to be a wild race in the league High Point dominated the past two seasons.
"I think the league is definitely up for grabs," said Largo Coach Lou Wilson. "Any time we can come into Suitland and play them to a two-point ballgame, perhaps on a neutral or on our home court we should do pretty well because this is a very tough place to play."
Largo (1-1) gave Georgetown Coach John Thompson, a spectator at the game, a view of what the Hoyas will have next season: the intimidating force of 6-foot-8 Don Reid, who finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
But Suitland (2-0) has perhaps the most imposing frontcourt in the area with 6-8 Derrick Ford (14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks) and 6-7 John Spann (15 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks).
The Rams also have a senior-oriented team that went on a 7-1 run in the final two minutes to break a tie at 62. John Smith (game-high 25 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists) started the rally by spinning away from his defender to sink a baseline jumper. And he capped it with a three-point shot with 50 seconds left.
Largo did not wilt, getting two baskets from guard Robert Holmes (10 points) to trim the lead to 69-67 with 12 seconds left.
Spann, however, gave Suitland some breathing space a second later with a pair of free throws.
"We're a pretty balanced team and we played a great team tonight," Smith said. "We played our best and we came out on top. We felt the same last year, but we're more together this year."