Eleanor Roosevelt senior Malachi Alexander has been having quite a senior season for the 22-1 Raiders.
His dramatic game winning dunk at the buzzer wasn't even his first buzzer beater of the game. To end Wednesday night's first quarter Alexander hit a buzzer beater as well. Alexander finished with a game high 20 points and springboards Roosevelt into the 4A playoffs riding a double digit winning streak.
Unlike the other favorites in the 4A, Roosevelt doesn't have a cake-walk to get to the Comcast Center. Roosevelt coach Brendan O'Connell listed as many as seven teams who could potentially knock his team off on a given night. In other brackets within the 4A however, it would take a colossal upset to see one of the heavyweights fall.
Entering this game there was no doubt these were the top two teams in PG County. In years past they have had to do coin flips to determine the championship entrants.
The game saw both teams get out to sizable leads, only to see the opponent storm back. Roosevelt was down double figures in the second half and Potomac was getting really hot from the perimeter. Roosevelt went to a 1-3-1 to try to mix things up and it worked. Roosevelt climbed back into the game and even took a one point lead on a Jesse Ason free throw with just under a minute remaining. Potomac's Dion Wiley would respond by drawing a foul of his own and headed to the line with just under 30 seconds in the game and a chance to give Potomac the lead. Wiley would miss the first and hit the second and the stage was set.
After a pair of timeouts Roosevelt ran a screen play with multiple backdoor options. With four second left Malachi Alexander would pass to Jesse Ason at the high post. As Ason caught it the right side of the floor cleared out and Alexander would make a back door cut. His defender didn't even see him flash to the basket and he had what looked to be a wide open uncontested dunk with very little time. As Alexander controlled the ball Dion Wiley came flying from the weak side in attempts to block Alexander's shot but Malachi took it strong to the front of the rim and flushed it down with just over a second left.
Potomac did have timeouts left but didn't call one and the buzzer sounded and Roosevelt was crowned. It was one of only a handful of times this season that Roosevelt was really tested and O'Connell was excited to not only get the win but to have participated in a tough game against a tough team, with the playoffs starting next week.
Dion Wiley was terrific for Potomac and showed why he is one of the top players in his class (2014) in the country. Wiley finished with 20. Potomac is the #1 seed in the 3A South and many consider them and Milford Mill, the #1 seed from the North as the favorites to win the 3A crown. Potomac opens up on February 28th against the winner of Huntingtown and La Plata.
Roosevelt opens up the same day against the winner of Oxon Hill and Parkdale. They will have to potentially face Flowers and DuVal in their trek out of the 4A South.