La Plata boys fall to Eastern
Warriors fall short in second half
When the host La Plata boys bas- ketball team started the third quar- ter well to forge its biggest lead of the night against visiting Eastern (D.C.) High on Wednesday evening, the Warriors look poised to head into the Christmas break with a victor y.
But the visiting Ramblers ended the frame on an 18-7 run to take a 47-43 lead into the fourth quarter and they used a similar surge over the last five minutes of the contest to earn a 76-67 victory over the Warriors. Four La Plata players scored in double figures, led by Merion Devine, II with 22, but that was not enough to offset 28 points from Eastern’s Devon Johnson and another 16 from Jerome Johnson.
“We’re young and we went through a few lapses where we played like a young team,” said La Plata (3-3) fifth-year coach James Douglas, whose team will play Mt. Hebron on Wednesday in the first of two games at the Northeast tournament during the break. “I thought we did a good job of getting the ball into [center Johnatahn Gra- ham] at times, but then we forced a few passes into him and turned the ball over.”
Eastern’s late surge to claim the lead at the end of the third quarter did not carry over into the early stages of the final frame, howev- er. La Plata stayed close thanks to buckets from Devine and Mateo Nunez, then Devine intercepted a pass near midcourt and raced virtually uncontested for a dunk that gave the Warriors a brief 52-51 lead with six minutes remaining.
Two free throws from Ryan Calvert gave La Plata a 54-53 lead with 5:31 remaining, but the Ramblers dominated the game from that point. Devon Johnson hit two three-point field goals over the next two minutes to lift the Ramblers to a 63-57 lead. La Plata got within three later on a jumper by Lazarus Sutton, but the visitors scored the last six points of the game to pull away.
At various times in each of the first three quarters, La Plata appeared to have control of the contest. After spotting the visitors an early 5-0 lead, La Plata responded with a prolonged 14-5 run to forge a 14-10 lead that appeared safe until Devon Johnson made his presence known by nailing a desperation three-point field goal from beyond his own three-point line as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter.
Unfazed by Johnson’s long buzzer-beater to end the opener, La
Plata regained control of the contest at the outset of the second period on buckets inside from Gra- ham and jumpers from Devine, Nunez and Devote Proctor. The War- riors extended the lead to seven before Michael Brown hit a jumper just before the buzzer to trim the La Plata halftime lead to 30-25.
La Plata again started the third quarter in sharp fashion as Lazarus Sutton hit a three-pointer and Devine converted a steal into a layup to again push the Warriors lead to seven at 36-29. But the remainder of the quarter belonged to Eastern as Jerome John- son hit two three-pointers and Oliver hit another to lift the Ramblers to a 4743 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“That was a typical game from Jerome,” said Eastern (3-5) coach Em- manuel Kakulu, whose team will play three games in the Mount Ver- non tournament over the break. “That was not a typical game from Dev- on. He’s been up and down so far. But by the end of the season, I think
La Plata center Johnatahn Graham goes inside for an easy bucket in the first half of the Warriors’ game against Eastern on Wednesday. Graham scored 15 points for the Warriors in a losing cause as the visiting Ramblers eventually emerged with a 76-67 victory