Oxon Hill 59,

Eleanor Roosevelt 57

Oxon Hill Coach Debra Anderson was smiling on the bench as her team trailed host Eleanor Roosevelt by 10 points with just more than four minutes to play last night in a Prince George's 4A league matchup of unbeatens.

The eighth-ranked Clippers won their first three games by an average of 29 points, and Anderson knew they were in need of a test. She was pleased with the results.

With their four starting seniors and one starting junior displaying the experience of last season's run to the Maryland 4A state final, the Clippers staged a frantic fourth-quarter rally.

And when the Raiders missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1.9 seconds left, the Clippers survived to capture a 59-57 victory.

"Everybody steps up when they play us, but our girls are real poised," Anderson said. "This is just getting us prepared for the playoffs."

After two free throws by junior Andrea Wright (14 points, game-high 15 rebounds) with 5 minutes 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Raiders (2-1, 2-1) led 50-35. During the next 4:02, however, the Clippers (4-0, 4-0) took the lead with a furious 21-2 run sparked by junior guard Denesha Kenion (15 points, eight steals, five assists) and senior center Latricia Jones (game-high 18 points, 10 rebounds).

Down four after the run, Roosevelt pulled within one twice in the last minute and three seconds, first on a three-point play by Kairsten Nunn (12 points) and then on a pull-up jumper by Nichelle Derrickson that cut the Clippers' lead to 58-57 with 12 seconds to play.

Kenion hit one of two free throws to extend Oxon Hill's lead to 59-57 with 9.2 seconds left.

"We're just a little inexperienced down the stretch," said Roosevelt Coach Roderick Hairston. "I'm not making excuses, because those Oxon Hill girls play hard. But we need to learn how to close games out."

Roosevelt took a 28-20 lead at halftime thanks in large part to Oxon Hill's miscues. The Clippers had nearly as many first-half turnovers (17) as they did points.

"At the beginning of the game, we were just rushing," Kenion said. "Coach told us to settle down, run the offense and feed the post, and that's what we did."