Of all the experienced players on eighth-ranked Eleanor Roosevelt’s girls’ basketball team, a freshman forward named Kaila Charles made the most intelligent play of Tuesday night’s game against C.H. Flowers. With about 15 seconds left, and her team clinging to a 43-40 lead, Charles closely watched C.H. Flowers routinely prepare to inbound the ball under its own basket, then went into stealth mode. She snuck up on the guard taking the pass, and once the inbound came, Charles stuck her arm into the passing lane and forced a bobble — causing her opponent to awkwardly step out of bounds.
It ended the Jaguars’ upset bid Tuesday, and capped a terrific performance for Charles. She scored 16 points and Daria Simmons added 15 to lift the Raiders to a 45-40 win in a key Prince George’s County 4A clash in Greenbelt.
“I was just playing defense,” said Charles, whose team improved to 18-0, with 15 of those wins coming in league play.
That was about the only extent Charles went to in praising herself Tuesday, knowing her team was nearly handed its first loss of the season. C.H. Flowers (14-4, 12-3) looked poised to get over the top after a close loss to the Raiders a month ago — and nearly did it behind 12 points apiece from De’Janae Boykin and Kyah Proctor, whose three-pointer with about three minutes remaining capped a 9-2 run that pulled C.H. Flowers to 39-38.
But Simmons hit a runner in the lane a minute later, and after C.H. Flowers came up empty-handed on a chance to take the lead with about 30 seconds left, Simmons drove the ball into the paint and went up and under two Jaguars for a layup that sent her home crowd into a frenzy — and gave her team a 43-40 lead with just 15 seconds left.
“It was a rough game. I was getting my shots blocked,” Simmons said. “I tried to get something crafty to get to the basket, and that’s what I did that play.”
Simmons was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw. C.H. Flowers set up a play on a timeout after rebounding the miss — but those plans were foiled by Charles, who said after the game that her team has the “all the way.” It’s that type of confidence that makes her a rare young player to Simmons.
She’s a gift to us . . . She’s one of the top freshmen that I’ve ever played with,” Simmons said. “She knows what she’s doing out there.”