Seniors Johnee Durham, left, and Brittany Whitley form part of a stingy Oxon Hill defense that has the Clippers eyeing a county championship. (Photo by Wallace Barron)

They can feel it. They can taste it. They can see it, just up ahead, a Prince George’s County championship game that hasn’t featured the Oxon Hill Clippers in at least a decade.

But they can’t talk about it.

“It’s like the unspoken tension,” Oxon Hill senior Brittany Whitley said. “We know we can do it, but we don’t want to jinx anything.”

Oxon Hill (17-3, 12-1 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A) surpassed last season’s win total with last Tuesday’s 74-30 romp over Fairmont Heights, marking the Clippers’ best season since Coach Devone Williams took over the program five years ago. With two games left in the regular season, the Clippers have cinched the Maryland 3A South region’s top seed, and a win against 2A front-runner Gwynn Park on Thursday would vault them into next Wednesday’s county championship against No. 4 Eleanor Roosevelt.

To Williams, that prospect is too distant to ponder. He insists his girls are training their focus on Tuesday’s contest against winless Surrattsville.

“We’re worrying about one game at a time,” Williams said. “We won’t be thinking about Gwynn Park until Wednesday’s practice.”

Oxon Hill’s breakout success hinges on harrying man-to-man defense. The Clippers have yielded just 32 points per game over their last 10 outings, helping them to nine wins in that span.

Their signature triumph came on Jan. 31, in a road game against defending 2A state champion Largo. The high-octane Lions had eclipsed 73 points in each of their previous five games, but persistent help defense kept the lane clogged for the area’s leading scorer, Stephanie Guihon, whose 16 points marked her second-lowest output of the season.

Whitley’s effort on the defensive end proved especially vital in that 53-47 victory. The senior forward counts Guihon as an AAU teammate on their Metro Lady Celtics squad, so she used that edge as a help defender to anticipate and thwart Guihon’s relentless dribble penetration.

On the other end, Oxon Hill thrives on uncommon scoring balance. Four Clippers average double figures, led by 5-foot-3 sophomore Iyanna Warren (12 points per game), who recorded a season-high 21 in the Largo win.

“Everybody’s going to get their chance to shine, and we realize that,” Whitley said. “We don’t have any superstars. We know how to share the ball and make things happen for our teammates.”

As preseason practices hinted at promising results up ahead, Williams kept repeating the same axiom to his girls: “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” A potential championship berth lies in the week ahead, if only they can seize the opportunity.

“It’s right in our reach,” Whitley said.

(Video by Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)
The Big number: 74

Combined rebounds for Parkdale forwards Nyamal Pinyien and Ragan Johnson in the Panthers’ wins over Suitland and C.H. Flowers last week. The two also put together 51 points in that span.

Prince George’s player of the week

G Michael Speight, Wise, Sr.

Speight tallied 28 points in Wise’s 72-39 rout over High Point on Thursday, then dropped a team-high 20 in a defining 64-58 victory Saturday over Rock Creek Christian that vaulted the Pumas to the top spot in The Post’s rankings.