SILVER SPRING – In boys basketball action, James Hubert Blake High School fought back from a double-digit deficit to take down John F. Kennedy High School, 67-62, on Jan. 21.
Junior forward Brian Ayafor tied for a game-high 28 points, including three crowd-pleasing dunks, helped lead the Bengals (6-6) to their third straight victory.
For the Cavaliers (4-7), guard Abel Elias scored 16 points to close out the first half, including two 3-pointers. Eilas, who finished the game with 28 points, was the focal point in Kennedy’s offense as they led by eight points by halftime. Junior wing Christian Jenkins was able to increase that lead to 10, the largest of the night, at the onset of the third quarter with a coast-to-coast layup.
However, the Bengals refused to pack it in against their county rival. According to sophomore guard Romelle Williams, players in both programs grew up together playing sports or going to school with each other before going their separate ways for high school. These relationships helped foster some friendly trash talk between the two on social media.
Blake started to mount to their comeback midway through the third quarter starting with a 7-0 run, closing the gap to within one point spurt. The Bengals fought for loose balls and scored on multiple second-chance buckets or at the free-throw line throughout the fourth quarter.
Elias scored five points to keep the Cavaliers ahead but Blake kept scoring baskets. The Bengals capped off their comeback with a 9-2 run to take over the lead for good in the game’s final moments. Ayafor scored all but two points during that stretch, including a 3-pointer that circled around the rim before dropping and a put-back layup that gave Blake the lead, 63-60, once and for all.
Sophomore Jovanni Galarza brought it to within one point with a layup but that was the closest Kennedy would get. Bengals senior point guard Miles Samuels responded with a quick layup that solidified their victory.