In four years of high school, Gwynn Park senior Marcel Boyd has grown over five inches. It may not seem like a lot, but when you were a 6-foot-4 freshman, it makes you a very tall teenager. Boyd is 6-9, wears a 16 size shoe and has a wingspan of roughly 7-1. (It was a 7-foot last year and he guesses it’s only gotten longer.)

Against a much-improved Potomac (Md.) team on Friday night, the Howard recruit powered the sixteenth-ranked Yellow Jackets with a strong defensive effort in a 61-55 win over the Wolverines in Brandywine.

Boyd readily admits his offensive game is still developing, though his size alone makes him the frequent target of double-teams in the post. Still, he chipped in 11 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots in a game that avenged a previous loss to Potomac.

“If my offense doesn’t fall, I just try to play as hard as I can on defense and help my team win,” he said.

Paired with Gwynn Park forward Xavier Richards, the Yellows Jackets have a strong front-court duo. Richards, a 6-foot-1 senior with tremendous leaping ability, had a team-high 16 points to help Gwynn Park (14-4, 13-1) jump out to a 16-8 first-quarter lead.

Gwynn Park's Xavier Richards gets an easy layup in the first quarter as Potomac's Davon Williams looks on. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

Boyd was a constant defensive presence, putting back teammates’ misses and displaying an adept passing feel out of the post when double-teamed. It was an impressive showing for a player who didn’t even start last season.

“He’s just done such a good job of progressing,” Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick said. “There’s a saying, an old adage that big men take a bit longer to develop and it’s absolutely true in his case. What’s changed with Marcel is approach to the game and his seriousness.”

Added Boyd: “I’m kind of getting more comfortable and getting more used to my body and developing.”

By halftime, the Yellow Jackets led 26-20 and appeared poised to pull away in the third quarter. But a 13-point lead with 5:38 left was whittled down to two points with 1:55 left by the Wolverines (12-6, 10-4), behind standout sophomore guard Dion Wiley (22 points).

But senior guard Jarvis Hawkins, Boyd and Richards all made key plays in the final minutes to help secure the victory.

The win helps Gwynn Park keep pace with No. 19 Largo at the top of the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A league.

“It was just determination,” Boyd said. “They beat us the first time. And I’m so determined to make it to the county championships.”