"It's All About The Game"

Marshall, Raiders edge Pumas






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Marshall got it done.


December 19, 2015 - With .05 seconds left, Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) Naji Marshall had the game in his hands, literally; having been fouled after attempting a final shot, the Class of 2017 guard could win it for his Raiders at the charity stripe. Pressure situation, right?

"It wasn't really pressure. You have to shoot every free throw the same" said Marshall afterward of his shots, both of them being made, giving ER a thrilling 53-51, home win over budding rival Wise (MD) last night in Greenbelt. "You shoot a thousand free throws in your life, a million free throws. Every free throw has to be the same" .

Naji Marshall, after being fouled on this shot, sank a pair of game winning free throws.

Marshall finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and a pair of assists, also canning two first half three pointers. His coach, Brendan O'Connell labeled the performance "his best all around game", as the 6'6", 210 pound performer lauded Marshall's "rebounding, chasing down shots...Just playing hard".

ER led 17-5 to start the second quarter, before Wise ran off six straight, in part due to greater defensive intensity and a scheme that put a premium on the Raiders driving and making plays. Nevertheless they seemed solidly in control, despite leading just 25-20 at intermission.

Enter Mike Speight: Wise's Class of 2017 guard went on a third quarter tear scoring 14 in the period, including several three pointers. By quarter's end the Puma's led 40-37.

"I knew he was going to hit a few shots. He's a good shooter, I expected him to do that" said Marshall, who was on the bench for much of Speight's outburst and guarded him well early in the game. "It was cool, I knew my point guard had him. My point guard is the best defender on the team, so I knew we had him". That would be senior Delascio Dancy, who finished with 8 points for ER.

The Raiders were outscored by eight points in the third period, to which O'Connell noted "We just kind of do that sometimes (have offensive droughts). We haven't been a great scoring team thus far".

But they certainly have Marshall, whose put back dunk tied the game at 51 with 1:51 remaining. It answered Wise forward Daron Barnes' (17 points) strong move to the basket - which he did regularly in the second half - and awarded/made free throws.

Senior forward Victor Okafor drew a charge for ER with thirty seconds remaining. Two timeouts later Marshall ended up isolated for the last shot with the game knotted.

Both ER (2-2, 2-0) and Wise (2-2, 1-1) have a quick turnaround, playing in the DMV Tip-Off Classic. See the info below for details.



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