The Yellow Jackets’ road game at Central was tied with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, and Parker recognized drastic measures were necessary. No. 7 Gwynn Park had arrived with a perfect record, but everything from the whistles that made the visitors throw up their hands to the barrage of three-pointers the Falcons were pouring in seemed to foreshadow an upset.
As he hovered near the rim, Parker wasn’t having it. He switched the basketball to his left hand underneath the basket and whipped in a layup to take the final lead of a gutsy, 79-75 win on Friday night in Capitol Heights.
“I don’t usually make it, but I just went for it,” Parker said. “I knew we was going to win then. I knew it was over.”
Parker took over in the second half, bulling his way into the paint and dropping 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter of the Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A contest.
“I could get to the basket at will,” Parker said. “Any of us could.”
When Parker wasn’t finishing, he was dishing. Yellow Jackets senior forward Isaiah Miles was often the beneficiary, finishing with 14 points and scoring seven in the final period.
During a back-and-forth first quarter, Gwynn Park senior guard Marlon White started hot. He drained three three-pointers and scored 10 of his 15 points in the first eight minutes.
Gwynn Park (16-0, 9-0 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A) settled down and controlled the game for much of the second quarter, but Central ended the half on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 36 heading into halftime. That surge was highlighted by a deep three from senor Daquan Simmons (16 points).
Central (10-3, 6-3) took the lead late in the third quarter behind back-to-back threes from junior Trent Dixon, one of the Falcons’ brainy players whom Coach Lawrence Pugh said he trusts to take smart shots. Dixon finished with 16 points and drew dances from his home stands with his accuracy.
“We did a good job of getting the crowd involved,” Dixon said. “They just fought back.”
Junior Javani Brown broke away in transition to lead Central with 17 points. His last drive brought the Falcons within a bucket of tying the game for the tenth time, but Parker answered with another hesitation move at the rim.
After the game, Parker was pumping his fist, and Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick could finally relax.
“I just think this is the best basketball county in the United States, and I think we’ve got the best public basketball in the state of Maryland,” Glick said. “This typifies how good the public schools are. Every game’s a battle.”