The most obvious conclusion that can be drawn from top-ranked Oxon Hill's 97-68 victory over No. 5 Newport School last night at Bowie State University is this: Michael Sweetney is not the Clippers' only weapon.
Sweetney, a 6-foot-8 All-Met center who has unofficially committed with Georgetown, had 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocked shots in the Clippers' season opener. But Sweetney was outscored by three of his teammates; junior guard Lamar Butler had 23 points, and senior forward Marcus Artis and junior guard Phil Goss each scored 16.
"Everybody has a role on this team, and if we play our roles, we'll be successful," said senior point guard Richard Little, who finished with considerably more assists (10) than shots attempted (one). "We know that teams are going to pack it in on Mike. Lamar can fill and be our shooter, though Mike is still my first option."
Butler, a 6-2 reserve guard, made 8 of 14 shots, including 5 of 8 three-pointers. His three-point basket with 3 minutes 33 seconds left in the second quarter started an 18-5 Oxon Hill run that gave the Clippers a 47-35 halftime lead.
"Lamar is a flat-out shooter," Oxon Hill Coach Billy Lanier said. "He's a great combination of a shooter and a scorer. If his shot's not there, he can still find a way to score. He's much more confident this year as well."
One sequence early in the third quarter epitomized the night: Butler passed the ball from the right side in to Sweetney, who was quickly double-teamed. Sweetney didn't even bother to face the basket; instead he made a touch pass back to Butler, who smoothly made his fifth three-point shot of the game.
"Everybody always worries about Mike," said Artis, whose main role is usually to rebound and defend. "Lamar just drained it for us. Teams just can't look for Mike."
Notes: Newport junior T.J. Thompson, who scored a team-high 19 points, was helped off the court with 3:39 left in the game. He bruised a shoulder and will be re-evaluated later this week. . . . Oxon Hill senior center Ronald Miller (broken right pinkie finger) did not play last night and will be out three to four games, Lanier said.
Staff writer Tarik El-Bashir contributed to this report.