Coming into the 2017-2018 high school basketball season, the Eleanor Roosevelt Lady Raiders knew that they had to play together as one unit after losing leading scorer Octavia Wilson last season to graduation. Instead of coming into the regular season with thoughts of trepidation, the Greenbelt, Md.-based high school has been thriving in league play, even in the absence of Wilson.
The Raiders are currently 6-2 and are riding a four-game win streak while boasting an undefeated record in their division. Eleanor Roosevelt most recently handed Riverdale, Md.-based Parkdale High School its first loss of the season on Jan. 2.
Senior guard Ashia McCalla led the way with 17 points in that contest and dished out four assists. She played solid defense as well, accounting for four rebounds and a block to dominate the Panthers 54-44.
McCalla is still the first scoring option for the Raiders this season. The 5-foot-5-inch, 135-pound guard leads her team in scoring, averaging 16 points per game. But, she has help from teammates in the scoring department as well.
Junior guard Taylor McCormick has stepped up her game this season by averaging in double-figures (12.6 points per game), improving over the four points per game she averaged during the 2016-2017 basketball season. One of her best performances of the season was against St. Vincent Pallotti High School — located in Laurel, Md. — during which she had a 23-point outburst in a 57-49 victory on Dec. 29.
Junior forward Makayla Adams, junior guard Trinity Workman and senior guard Nia Scott are not to be forgotten. Adams has been more of a consistent scorer this season (7.5 points per game) while Workman and Scott have improved their offensive game as well.
Adams, Scott and Workman have provided stout defense and have cleaned the glass by pulling down rebounds at will for second-chance points and have set the tone on both ends of the floor this season. Adams had a season-high of 14 rebounds against Virginia-based Herndon High School and Workman accounted for 10 points, three assists, six rebounds and two blocks during that game.
Not particularly known for her scoring prowess, Scott has turned the corner as an all-around player. Scott dropped a season-high of 15 points against Pallotti and is getting more comfortable with her shooting stroke.
“I worked on being an offensive threat,” Scott told the AFRO. “I feel like it’s going to be a team effort for us to score consistently this season. It is going to be up to us to really prove that we have what it takes to be just as successful as we were last year without her [Wilson].”
As long as the Raiders are playing together like this moving forward, a 4A state championship title doesn’t seem too far out of reach for this year’s squad.
“We have a couple of banners in the rafters and we already know who is in front of us,” Eleanor Roosevelt Women’s Basketball head coach Delton Fuller told the AFRO. “As soon as we lost to Walt Whitman High School (last year), the first thing that I think of as a coach is, ‘How we are gonna get back there [state championships]?’ I still have my coaches band to remind me not to forget where we came from. I’m not saying that we are going to run through the county, but if we take care of our business we should definitely be able to get back there.”