The Cesar Chavez Charter School Eagles of Southeast D.C. defeated the Gwynn Park High School Yellow Jackets of Brandywine, Md., 59-50, at the 2014 MLK Hoopfest Showcase in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20.

The Eagles played an efficient but fast-paced game, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 16-10 in fast break points.

“I think this was one of our better wins because it wasn’t our normal type of game,” said Cesar Chavez head coach Malcolm Battle. “It was a possession-by-possession game. Our kids like to play at a frenetic pace, but we had to value more possessions.”

With five seniors set to graduate, Battle said the victory at the MLK Hoopfest Showcase was special for the 11-5 team.

“At the end of the day, we always want to win, but I’m more concerned that my young men get to play college ball,” Battle said. “So I think they might have shown on a big stage in front of some college coaches that they can play a college game.”

One of those seniors is Derjuan Murphy, a 6-foot, 4-inch swingman who led his team with 12 points and eight assists, and made all five of his free throws. Murphy, a two-sport athlete, missed all of last season with a broken leg and ankle suffered from playing football.

Murphy said he always looks for ways to improve on the court, and wishes he could have grabbed more rebounds in the win over Gwynn Park.

“I like boxing out to assist the rebound, but I would rather get the rebound,” he said. “An offensive rebound is a putback.”

“He is a good basketball player, and an even better person,” said Battle. “He does the little things that might not show up on the box score. His rebounding, his effort, those are things you can’t value, and that’s what wins basketball games.”

Cesar Chavez senior guards Chris Baez and Tyler Thompson grabbed 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

The top performers for Gwynn Park were Cedric Hines (10 points, six rebounds) and Isaiah Martin (14 points).

Breana Pitts

Special to the AFRO