Standing 6 feet 2, Boykin immediately became the tallest player on the Jaguars, but she nonetheless approached Coach Patrice Frazier-Watson before her first workout and asked to be a guard.
The coach admired the newcomer’s attitude, and Boykin, in turn, has delivered, providing matchup nightmares for opposing defenses with her length on the perimeter and around the basket.
In an all-encompassing effort on Wednesday night, Boykin finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds to help the No. 18 Jaguars beat No. 17 Bowie, 56-42, in a Maryland 4A South semifinal.
Boykin also created havoc at the top of the defense as the Jaguars clamped down on the Bulldogs to earn a spot in Friday’s region final at No. 12 Eleanor Roosevelt. A win over the Raiders, who beat Laurel, 56-21, would give the Springdale school its first state playoff berth.
“She brought the versatility that we need,” Frazier-Watson said of Boykin. “She can go post, but as long as she’s here, she’s a guard. She’s an all-around player, and that’s a little different. We welcome it.”
Flowers (19-4) used a variety of defenses to keep Bowie (20-4) off balance most of the game, and the Bulldogs, playing without two injured starters, finally cracked early in the second half.
The Jaguars dropped the first meeting, 68-62, six weeks ago in the same gym, but this time, they took an early lead behind Boykin and pulled away with a 12-2 run that spanned the entire third quarter.
Senior Bianca Brown scored five of her eight points during the quarter, and senior Kyah Proctor (15 points) excited the Flowers bench when she drilled a three-pointer after sending her defender skidding across the court with a crossover dribble.
Meantime, Bowie shot 1 of 11 from the field in the period with five turnovers and also missed four free throws. When the visitors did manage to pass around Boykin, she often forced them to rush their shots and then slid toward the basket to grab the rebound.
Boykin, who averages 15.9 points per game, has grown comfortable with her spot in the middle of the defense because she plays a similar role on her AAU team.
“I play there all through the year,” Boykin said. “It’s just moving around, moving my feet, being long and going after the ball.”
The Bulldogs erupted for 21 points in the final quarter, doubling their total, but were unable to pull closer than nine points.