Eleanor Roosevelt senior Jazmin Faulkner heard her cellphone buzz shortly before taking the basketball court on Tuesday night against No. 12 C.H. Flowers, and she guessed who had sent the text message before ever reading it.
Derwin Faulkner won’t be attending many of his daughter’s games this season because of his new position as head girls’ basketball coach at Douglass, but he does his best to make sure she knows he's thinking about her.
Faulkner said she kept the electronic pep talk from her father in mind when she scored nine of her team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter of a 57-52 victory in Springdale. The 18th-ranked Raiders wiped out an eight-point third-quarter deficit to remain perfect and tied with Bowie atop the Prince George’s 4A standings.
“It said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do to make your team win,’” said Faulkner, recalling the pregame message. “‘Play calm, cool and collected, and when it gets to crunch time, do what you do best.’ That was motivation for me.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (10-0, 7-0) had won its first six league games by double digits, but they needed a rally to extend the unbeaten run. The Raiders trailed by eight points midway through the third quarter before using their press to force the Jaguars (8-2, 6-1) into a series of turnovers that swung the momentum.
The Raiders, who list six seniors on their 10-player roster, pulled ahead with an 11-0 run that spanned less than two minutes. Senior Daria Simmons sparked the burst, scoring six of her eight points.
The Jaguars were missing point guard Kyah Proctor during that stretch because of foul trouble, though she played the entire fourth quarter and led the team with 14 points.
“This is their first big game on the road,” Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Delton Fuller said. “I really wanted to see how they play against a good team in front of a nice crowd. I’ll tell you what, first half I think they got the butterflies out, and in the second half, they locked down.”
After the Jaguars tied the game in the fourth quarter, Faulkner, the team’s fourth-leading scorer coming in, provided the important plays to deliver the victory. The guard’s layup with 4 minutes 40 seconds remaining gave the Raiders the lead for good at 47-45, and she helped seal the win by hitting four free throws in the final minute.
The Raiders lost to Flowers twice last year, and Faulkner said memories of those games fueled the players this time as they put away the Jaguars down the stretch.
“I felt like everybody kept calm,” Faulkner said. “Once we had the lead, we just kept trying to score.”