Largo senior Michael Graham is a 6-foot-5 athletic forward who can throw down a dunk with the best of them. His teammate, senior Damante McNeill, is a 6-4 forward who packs the muscle and size to fight inside for positioning and rebounds.
Both have had standout games for the Lions this season but more often than not they haven’t come at the same time. Case in point: the last time Largo faced No. 15 Gwynn Park in mid-January, they fell by two.
But in Monday night’s rematch, Graham and McNeill had perhaps their best combined outing of the season to power host Largo to a 68-55 upset of Gwynn Park.
“We just kept our heads together in the game and we just knew where each other was going to be on the court and what to do,” said Graham, who finished with a team-high 17 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks.
While both players are among the best post players in Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A, both acknowledged after Monday’s win that sometimes their best games haven’t coincided.
“When he has a good day in practice, he does well in the game,” said McNeill, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. “When I have a good day in practice, I do well in the game. It’s what we do in practice.”
Added Largo Coach Lew Howard: “Consistency is the most important thing. They’ve both been playing really well throughout the season and I thought tonight if both of them gave us a really good effort we’d have a chance to win.”
Against a tough Gwynn Park (16-5, 15-2) team, both players did. The Yellow Jackets — who defeated the Lions, 78-76, on Jan. 13 — jumped out to a 17-8 first quarter lead on Monday. But the Lions (17-4, 15-2) used the inside moves of McNeill and the vacuum cleaner-like rebounding of Graham to take a 30-26 halftime lead.
The two connected on one play early in the third quarter when McNeill lobbed the ball toward the basket and Graham snatched it out the air and slammed it in for a dunk — his second such play of the game.
Largo’s standout point guard Derrick Colter was in his usual form (16 points) until he began cramping in the second half. Gwynn Park, led by senior guard Jarvis Hawkins (23 points), trimmed a 15-point deficit to seven points by the start of the fourth quarter.
But Graham and McNeill proved too much down the stretch for the Yellow Jackets.
“The sky’s the limit,” McNeill said. “If we play together like this, the sky’s the limit.”