Friendly 75, Gwynn Park 62

After watching Friendly finish the first half of the season as the area's highest scoring team, Coach Gerald Moore issued another challenge to his third-ranked Patriots: Get it done on defense.

"I wanted to see us commit ourselves to playing great defense," Moore said. "We've been able to score, now I wanted to see if we could win because of our defense."

Friendly proved it could do just that in a 75-62 victory over Gwynn Park in a Prince George's County 3A/2A/1A game in Fort Washington. Gwynn Park entered the game averaging 74.8 points, but the Patriots limited the Yellow Jackets to 25 second-half points last night.

Though Friendly's defense was impressive, it did not overshadow the play of Patriots junior guard Chris Howard, who recorded the first triple-double of his career by posting 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to improve Friendly's record to 14-0 overall, and 10-0 in league play.

"I've been talking all year how I wanted to get a triple-double," said Howard, who led five Patriots in double figures. "So it was about time for me to get one."

Senior guard Trevan Jackson (17 points), junior center Sam Young (13), senior forward King Miner (11), senior forward Randy Allen (10) and Howard showed why the Patriots entered the night scoring an area-best 83.8 points per game.

"We've been able to score all season because we have so many options offensively," said Jackson, who added 11 assists. "But we wanted to be more than just a team that can score. We want to be known for our defense."

Gwynn Park (10-4, 6-4) was led by senior center Tariq Bond and senior guard Joey Butler, who scored 17 points apiece, with senior guard Edwin Davis adding 14 for the Yellow Jackets, who have lost two of their past three games.

Leading 42-37 at the half, Friendly's defense took over. The Patriots held Gwynn Park to 10 third-quarter points to take a 54-47 advantage entering the fourth. The Patriots put the game away by opening the final period on a 7-4 run to take a 61-51 lead with 5 minutes 16 seconds remaining following Howard's jump shot.