"It's All About The Game"

Big third quarter secures GP win in DC






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Defense turned the tide.


December 17, 2015 - Teams from the DCIAA and PG 2A/3A leagues rarely matchup, but tonight was different, as Maryland's Gwynn Park traveled to Capitol Hill extended, where Eastern was waiting to host them. The visitors prevailed in an exciting, 73-67 win.

Things picked up after a 30-30, intermission score. Gwynn Park head coach Mike Glick revealed the game's seminal strategy move wasn't his choice, as "Assistant coach Spencer Way made the call of the game by suggesting changing to a 1-2-2 3/4 press. I thought this changed the flow of the game, propelled us to the decisive run". Interestingly enough GP deployed multiple presses/traps in the first half, including full court man and trap, trap at half court, and 2-1-2, though they were not as effective.

Justin Faison, during first half action.

Glick's guys used that 1-2-2 to spur a 17-2 spurt by the quarter's 3:05 mark; Gwynn Park was able to get stops/steals, converting them on the other side of the floor not only just on fast breaks, but half court three pointers and drives to the rim also.

"They're guards were super aggressive" said Eastern's senior forward, Jamarko Pickett (13 points), also noting secondary Gwynn Park defenders attacked the ball as well.

Closing the third quarter and into the fourth, Eastern started picking up their pressure, face guarding GP junior point guard Justin Faison (12 points, three assists). The result was the home team coming within one point, 53-52, after senior guard Derrick Porter's layup. He would end up leading the game in scoring with 18 points, and along with sophomore guard Devin Thomas spearheaded their team's attack on both ends of the floor.

Glick's crew is a veteran one - four of his double figure scorers were seniors - and consequently knows how to respond. His did, led by football standout and forward Aaron Parker, who scored six of the squad's next 12 points, finishing with a team high 14. GP held on for victory.

Joining Faison, the junior, and Parker in scoring over nine points for Gwynn Park (4-0) were Isaiah Miles (10 points, 10 rebounds), Marlon White (12 points) and Kollin Mitchell (10 points), a forward, guard and guard, respectively.

Senior forward Ike Dickerson had 12 points for Eastern (0-5), joining Porter and Pickett in the double figure scoring club.

Both teams have short turnarounds, as Gwynn Park next plays Saturday at North Point HS's DMV Tip-Off Classic . PG 4A league Northwestern is the foe, while the two teams tip at 10:30a.

Eastern hosts neighborhood rival Phelps tomorrow, an 8p start. To it's credit, the team has not practiced in over a week, and is getting its proverbial sea legs back.

Recruiting Notes:

Justin Faison - 5'9", 145 pound junior point guard, Gwynn Park (MD) - A transfer from McNamara, Faison has made a splash at Gwynn Park, directing the squad. Glick is happy to have him.

"Junior Justin Faison has been an impact player in directing the team and being a floor general for us" said Glick, who believes Faison "definitely has the potential to be a scholarship player", one who may be able to ascend to the Division I level "if he can develop his outside shooting and strength".

An accurate assessment based on tonight. His shooting seems to be improving already - the point man canned a pair of three pointers.

Jamarko Pickett - 6'7", 178 pound senior forward, Eastern (DC) - An enigma of sorts, many have heard of Pickett, but due to not playing high level travel team ball and the DCIAA being constantly overlooked for other leagues, recruiters and scouts haven't really seen him play much.

Pickett is a long forward with great passing skills, a deft shooting touch, long arms and overall fluidity. He has both some tools and skills.

Where Jamarko needs to improve is strength -wise; he doesn't bang much, and can get knocked off his line dribbling. Speaking of ball handling, Pickett can pat the rock, but despite leaning over his center of gravity is too high and doesn't bull by people, including in open floor situations. Both can be improved by more strength and practice.

He's clearly got the chops to play college ball. Where and what level depends on his focus and willingness to improve.

Could very well attend prep school next year.


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