Seniors suit up for one final time
Potomac boys hold on, Chesapeake girls roll in SMAC all-star basketball games
By AJ MASON email@example.com
After accepting his Most Outstanding Player award following Friday night’s annual Southern Maryland Athletic Conference senior all-star boys basketball game at North Point High School in Waldorf, Lackey’s Hakeem Everett posed for pictures with family members, teammates and coaches.
It was during these postgame pleasantries that the realization hit him. His high school basketball career was officially coming to an end.
Everett wasn’t alone. Numerous players were scattered around the floor taking pictures and spending time with teammates and friends. Some lingered longer than others, not wanting to take off the jersey they had worn throughout their time at their respective high schools.
“I have a lot of great memories,” Everett said. “It was a lot of fun to come out and play with guys that you battle against during the season and tonight I definitely came to win. If all of us were on the same team, we probably would win a state championship.”
The boys game was the second game of a doubleheader, which saw the Potomac Division edge the Chesapeake Division 82-78, while the Chesapeake girls rolled to a 75-48 win. Calvert and St. Mary’s county teams made up the Chesapeake Division, while Charles County squads made up the Potomac.
“It was very special and a true honor to coach these seniors from different schools in Charles County,” said Potomac coach Darnell Kemper, an assistant Westlake boys basketball coach.
The SMAC all-star affair recognized the top senior boys and girls basketball players and to give college recruiters another chance to scout uncommitted talent. But most of all, it was designed to give a few select seniors one last hurrah before taking the next step in their young lives.
“It is special to coach in the SMAC all-star game,” said Chesapeake coach Josh Pratt, who is Huntingtown’s head boys basketball coach. “There were some college coaches in the stands and I tell the kids you never know who is watching. Just shows you the athleticism we have in SMAC.”
In the boys game, Chesapeake trailed 79-74 with 1 minute 12 seconds left in regulation, but back-toback thunderous dunks by 6-foot-4 forward Vonnie Watkins (Patuxent) cut the deficit to 79-78 with 48 seconds remaining.
“I’m going to miss high school basketball,” said
Watkins, who is bound for Division I’s Ohio University for football. “I wanted to get some dunks in and I told my teammates my I would do that for them. To have them late in the game to bring us back made it even better.”
After guard Jalen Gibbs (North Point) missed the front end of a one-and-one for Potomac, Chesapeake had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but Davaughn Reid (Huntingtown) had the ball stolen from Everett, who was fouled with 3.7 seconds left.
Everett made the first free throw to push the lead to 80-78, but missed the second attempt and Amir Lawrence (Westlake) grabbed the rebound for Potomac and scored on a putback as time expired.
Everett led all scorers with 21 points, while Gibbs added 17. Both combined for five of the team’s seven threes in the game. Lawrence finished with 12.
“When I saw [Reid] coming off the screen on the dribble I just gambled and it worked,” Everett said. “I went a quick reach and got the steal.”
Chesapeake led 14-9 after one quarter, but Potomac took a 40-28 lead at the half and was up 61-51 after three. Chesapeake came to within two points three times in the fourth and one point late in regulation, but fell short.
“North Point is a place I will always remember playing at and it will be truly missed,” Gibbs said.
Chesapeake had four players in double figures as David Oliveras (Great Mills) finished with 15 points, Watkins scored 14, Jack Lanham (Calvert) had 13 and Nevyn Harris (Great Mills) added 10.
“To play with and against the best seniors in SMAC was great and it was a way to show family and friends what we can do,” Oliveras said.
In the girls contest, Ananda Claggett (Northern) was named the Most Outstanding Player in Chesapeake’s victory with a game-high 18 points. The Chopticon duo of Aryanna Hutcherson and Kyaira Priest finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
“It was fun and we just played hard and forced some turnovers,” said Claggett, who will be heading to Marymount University (Va.) to play basketball. “I’ve improved the last four years and I’m ready for college now.”
Potomac led 19-11 lead after the first quarter, but Chesapeake had a 64-29 scoring advantage in the final three.
Leading Potomac in the scoring column was Aliyah Bullock (North Point) and Octavia Hawkins (Thomas Stone) with 15 points each.
“It was great to have the opportunity to see the girls in SMAC play one last time before they go off the college,” said Chesapeake coach Tim Contee, who is Calvert’s head girls basketball coach. “It was fun to coach them and sit back and watch the talent.”
Potomac’s Hakeem Everett (Lackey) dunks home two of his gamehigh 21 as Chesapeake’s Vonnie Watkins (Patuxent) looks on in Friday night’s SMAC senior boys basketball all-star game at North Point High School in Waldorf. Potomac won the contest 82-78.
Chesapeake’s David Oliveras (Great Mills) goes up for the contested layup over Potomac’s Sean Patterson (St. Charles) in Friday night’s SMAC senior all-star boys basketball game at North Point High School in Waldorf. Oliveras led Chesapeake with 15 points in an 82-78 loss.
Potomac’s Aliyah Bullock (North Point) launches a three-point attempt with Chesapeake’s Aleta Plater (Chopticon) in Friday night’s SMAC senior all-star girls basketball game at North Point High School in Waldorf. Bullock finished with 15 points in a 75-48 loss to Chesapeake.