"It's All About The Game"

Takoma uses good start to down Friendship







Ron Bailey, Publisher

Takoma's Tigers are young and talented.

December 5, 2013` - Having just come off a double digit defeat to Paul VI (VA) on Monday, it was important Takoma Academy (MD) got off to a great start Tuesday night versus Friendship Collegiate. They did, dispatching the Knights 77-68 at home.

Takoma's Tigers jumped to a double digit lead, one that in the third quarter was reduced to 51-45 with less than four minutes in the third quarter, but was nevertheless a win was preserved. The catalyst for their scoreboard advantage was defense, leading to run outs; when the Tigers' needed a bucket, it was their defense that made it possible.

Sophomore Corey Fitzgerald led the Tigers with 16 points, while junior Chris Johnson chipped in 13. Junior Chris Johnson added eight points for Takoma.

Corey Fitzgerald, here denying a shot, is an exciting young performer.

Friendship was paced by senior Eric Latney, who came off the bench to score 19 points. Senior Antyon Henson finished with 22 points.

In his first year as Takoma's head coach, Jerry McFarland is bullish on the Tiger's trending.

"I really believe it's headed into a great direction" said McFarland, "because the administration and Athletic Director Keith Beckett is behind me with that I'm trying to build. They know I'm trying to build the right way with student athletes".

In terms of his players, McFarland is also happy, saying "I'm really proud of the kids. I'm really proud of the work they put in...there's a lot more to come. Our young kids have really stepped in and done a good job".

That would be "In an eight man rotation, we have two sophomores and three juniors". The future is bright for the Montgomery County-based team.

Player Notes:

Corey Fitzgerald - 6'3", 175 pound sophomore forward/guard, Takoma Academy - "He's really athletic" said McFarland of this bright spot. "He's put in a lot of hard work during the summer". Fitzgerald is more forward than pure guard right now, but he's developing perimeter skills such as shooting off the dribble. His athleticism allows for finishing and defending, both at times in stunning form.

McFarland identified Fitzgerald as one of his players "willing to run through a wall for you".

Oladoyin Fadojutimi - 6'3", 170 pound junior guard, Takoma Academy - A transfer from High Point (MD) , Fadojutimi was around a twenty point scorer last year. At Takoma the approach has been different, as McFarland shared "He has a lot of ability. The thing with him is teaching him how to play, and not to say anything negative about his past coaches, but buying in to being coached at a high level...for him, he needed the structure we have at Takoma".

Part of that is increasing Fadojutimi's efficiency, which also entails simplifying the game, letting it come to him. Athletic, long and clearly having worked on his jumper and handle, both are still being focused on, as is identifying when to use them.

"People look at a kid like Jabari Parker...they look at his jumpshot, but he gets buckets posting up first" said McFarland of what he's teaching Fadojutimi. "That's the level I'm really trying to get Doyin to...My biggest thing is to convince him to being an all around basketball player. At the next level, that's going to be his thing".

St. Peter's has reportedly offered Fadojutimi, while UMBC is showing love. Greensboro, Appalachian State, Stonybrook and Mars Hill are interested.

Charles Vine - 5'11", 160 pound senior guard, Takoma Academy - Having been offered by Washington Adventist, McFarland labeled Vine "An efficient player", one that "has to get more explosive and improve his handles". His present mentality is of making players around him better.

Though he can do a lot things" McFarland wants Vine to "get more rebounds".

Eric Latney - 6'1", 170 pound senior guard, Friendship Collegiate - Very adept at penetrating, Latney employs fancy dribble and change of pace moves to get into the lane. Must become a better outside shooter. Has no real collegiate interest at this time. Can get buckets.

Antyon Henson - 6'2", 190 pound senior guard, Friendship Collegiate - A do-everything type performer, Henson drives, shoots, and boards. He's not excellent at anything, but does impact the game in virtually every facet. Schools have not started showing interest yet.



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