There would be no last-second fireworks needed for round two of the DuVal-Eleanor Roosevelt High School boys basketball saga. Trevor Evans wouldn't be called upon to hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and fans wouldn't pour onto the court in celebration.
In fact, by the time the final buzzer sounded and Roosevelt captured an 88-64 victory over its most recent challenger in the Prince George's County 4A League, there were hardly any fans left in Lanham to celebrate.
“I thought we did a very good job defending tonight,” Roosevelt coach Brendan O'Connell said afterwards. “Even the shots they hit were well contested. I thought our offensive execution was just outstanding tonight.”
The spotlight throughout the season has often highlighted Evans and his growing resume of late-game heroics. But on Monday — weather caused the game to be moved from its originally scheduled date of Friday — senior point guard Emmanuel Matey turned in one of the year's soundest performances on both sides of the ball.
On defense, he was assigned to mark one of the county's top guards in Michael Cunningham and he would do everything asked and more. Sure, Cunningham would go on to finish with a solid 15 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there, and four of those points came off free throws.
“Just keep the ball out of his hands because he's such a great player that, if the ball is in his hands, he can create for others and create for himself,” said Matey, who called this the best game of his career. “He's a really good player and I was just trying to keep the ball out of his hands.”
On the offensive end, Matey was an ideal point guard, finishing with a school record 15 assists while making 4-of-7 shots from the field for nine points. The biggest beneficiaries of his assist-littered night were Malachi Alexander (19 points) on the inside and Evans (17 points, five 3-pointers) on the outside.
“He was great, he was awesome,” Alexander, a Holy Cross recruit, said. “I mean, 15 assists, that's — he was great. He was finding everybody and he did a good job of finishing.”
DuVal entered the night riding a 13-game winning streak; its last loss coming on a 59-58 heartbreaker to Roosevelt on Dec. 11. And the first half went how many could have expected it to: back-and-forth.
But after Charles Ekeanyanwu hit the first field goal of the second half, chipping Roosevelt's lead to 37-30, the Raiders hit a gear that DuVal didn't seem to have on Monday. Roosevelt went on a 19-3 run in which six players scored to stretch the lead to an insurmountable 23, a margin that would remain essentially the same throughout the remainder of the game.
“It's a great team win because last time it took a buzzer-beater to beat them, and ever since that win people have been talking about how we got to win, we got to win,” Matey said. “So we just wanted to make a statement tonight that we're the better team.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 88, DuVal 64
Eleanor Roosevelt 15 22 25 26 — 88
DuVal 12 16 13 23 — 64
Eleanor Roosevelt (15-1, 11-1): Malachi Alexander 19; Trevor Evans 17; Andre Fox 12; Lerenzo Foote 10; Emmanuel Matey 9; Jesse Ason 8; Tiwian Kendley 6; Quincy Winstead 4; Tre Butler 2; Folu Koiki 1.
DuVal (13-3, 9-3): Mallin Sellers 17; Michael Cunningham 15; Charles Ekeanyanwu 13; Edward Polite 6; Paris Jones 3; Chad Dickerson 3; Lorenzo Patterson 2; Tyree Holmes 2; Justin Alexander 2; Jonathan Finley 1.