Magruder Puts 4 in Double Figures; Defeats Eleanor Roosevelt 64-45
Magruder came out of the gates as hot as a team can be in the first game of Springbrook’s Roberts Oxygen Holiday Classic on Tuesday Evening.
In fact Eleanor Roosevelt coach Brendan O’Connell can’t ever remember giving up 26 first quarter points in the seven years he’s been at the helm for the Greenbelt school. O’Connell is widely known as having one of the best defensive teams that our area sees on a year in, year out basis. Just ask the people who attend the Comcast Center every year, O’Connell’s teams have been a staple in the annual state tournament.
On Tuesday night the Raiders ran into a team that is as hot as any public school in the state of Maryland. The Magruder Colonels opened up the floodgates early on Tuesday night and led by a score of 26-6 after the first quarter. Roosevelt’s defense finally began to pick up the pace as the second quarter began. The Raiders outscored the Colonels 33-22 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and entered the fourth quarter down only 9 points. But Magruder was too strong on this night and came away with a 64-45 victory.
Roosevelt is playing shorthanded as their returning point guard, Senior Akil Charles, suffered an injury in the preseason and is still wearing a cast. Charles, who played one of the best games of his career on the brightest stage last season in the state semi-finals at the Comcast Center against Patterson’s Aquille Carr, is hoping he can return this season. With Charles sidelined Roosevelt is forced to put shooting guard Chaun Miller at the 1, a position he is not accustomed to playing.
Magruder, on the other hand, has all its pieces in place to make a run at a state championship. Point guard JJ Epps is undoubtedly the quickest guard in the county. Shooting guard Nick Griffin is undoubtedly the best shooter/scorer in the county. And Garland Owens – Garland Owens is Mr. everything. If you’ve watched our highlights at Capitol Hoops this year you’ve seen Owens dunking on everybody who enters the lane. But it’s not just his high rising athletic ability that leaves people in awe when they see the 6’4 1/2 ” Senior. He’s the ultimate eraser on the defensive end. If Magruder wants to press there’s no doubt that you can play 4-up with Owens manning the paint. He can draw the double team and find the open man (4 assists on Tuesday night). And he has developed a solid mid-range game. Then there’s small forward Justin Witmer who’s averaging 11.7 PPG this year, has connected on 15 3-pointers in 6 games and is shooting 88% from the free throw line. And to round out the starting 5, center Luke Ruland stands 6’8” and can knock down 3-pointers as well. Did I mention three of Magruder’s starting 5 are just juniors. Magruder also has a solid bench. The only thing that could hurt them in the postseason would be if Owens and Ruland were to get into foul trouble because they don’t have much depth in the front court. But if that’s your biggest problem, you’re sitting pretty.
On Wednesday night, in the second and final day of the tournament Roosevelt will play host Springbrook at 5pm, and Magruder will play Gwynn Park at 7pm.