Players were diving for loose balls and fighting for rebounds. There were hard fouls, and argued calls. There was even a full parking lot and a half-packed gymnasium.
Though Thursday's high school girls' basketball game between Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Seton was just a summer exhibition, it had the intensity of a mid-winter regular season matchup.
The result was a 43-39 victory for Roosevelt, the Class 4A state champions, but players from both teams said they were content with how they played in the Bishop McNamara High School Girls Varsity Summer League in Forestville.
“It was very intense and we had to be on task,” Roosevelt rising junior Kaila Charles said. “... It was a learning experience for us. We couldn't just chill.”
Charles scored nine points while sophomore Octavia Wilson scored a team-high 11 points and senior Tolu Omokore added 10. It was a rare close game for a Roosevelt team that went 26-0 last season and regularly defeated its Prince George's County public school opponents by 30-plus points.
“[We can't] come in here thinking we're just going to win everything,” Charles said. “... We have to build a mindset that we might lose, so we can play better.”
Seton graduated its three leading scorers (Camden Musgrave, Savannah Johnson, Casey Davis) after finishing near the top of the competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (26-7, 15-3). With new players inserted into the lineup, the Roadrunners went toe-to-toe with Maryland's top public school team in what coach Jonathan Scruggs said was their best game of the summer.
“There [are] things that we talked about doing as a team and there are things that we talked about doing individually, and we saw a lot of people out there doing those things,” Scruggs said. “And that's the important thing for us. We keep seeing progress on the little things.”
Senior Raven Fox and sophomore Jaylen Hines led the Roadrunners in scoring with 10 points apiece.
“As a team we knew we had to step up and get the job done, and we knew we had to play as hard as we could,” Hines said. “... It was very nerve-wracking but we just felt like we could [work as a team], and do the job.”
The league's regular season ends next week and the playoffs are scheduled to take place from June 27 to June 30.
“We're doing good,” Hines said. “We're getting better as a team and it's a process that we're going through, so we're going to get to the top.”
Eleanor Roosevelt 43, Elizabeth Seton 39
Eleanor Roosevelt 20 23 — 43
Elizabeth Seton 17 22 — 39
Elizabeth Seton: Raven Fox 10, Jaylen Hines 10, Taylor Claiborne 7, Naani Carver 4, Adrianne Hagood 3, Jadyn Whitsitt 3, Makayla Chapman 2.
Eleanor Roosevelt: Octavia Wilson 11, Tolu Omokore 10, Kaila Charles 9, Daijah Davis 7, Alia Parker 4, Jaala Henry 2.