Freedom's Isaiah Wimbush (14 points) directs traffic in the second half of the Eagles' victory Friday night.

Freedom-Woodbridge outlasts Forest Park, looks to step up game

After Freedom junior Jordan Perkins stole the ball and converted a layup to clinch the road win over Forest Park Friday night, he let out a quick victory yell. But when we caught up to him afterwards, the celebration was already over and it was back to business.

“We should have been better, blown ’em out,” he said. “But things happen.”

That was also kind of the mentality of Freedom Head Coach James West after the Eagles’ 63-58 victory. He was satisfied with the tough road win against a Cardinal District foe, but already thinking about what his team could do to keep elevating its game.

“I am a little frustrated as a coach because I’ve seen our offense flow so great,” West said. “Playing right now we’re kind of in a funk, struggling to score the ball. We missed numerous layups, opportunities to get the ball ahead for easy transition buckets…little things, that if we’re going to contend for a district championship we have to get better at.”

Riley Riley
Tavarres Riley, who led Freedom with 16 points, gets to the rim in the second half against the Bruins.

Still, first thing’s first, and the Eagles were happy to get the win in a tough environment against a very young but dangerous Forest Park team. The Bruins trailed most of the game, but were able to keep it close the whole way. Freedom is a guard-oriented team, and Bruins freshman center Brandon Edozie (23 points, 13 rebounds) was a one-man wrecking crew down low.

Edozie had all of Forest Park’s points after the first quarter to keep his team close, but when Bruins sophomore guards Samuel Norfleet and Dekevion Moore started to step up it really became a game. When Moore followed a teammate’s miss with 40 seconds remaining, the game was tied in crunch time.

That’s when Freedom’s experienced guards got it done. Isaiah Wimbush, who used his quickness to get to the line all night, calmly sank two free throws. After Edozie was fouled on an offensive rebound and made one-of-two, senior Jalen West was fouled and also made one-of-two.

Perkins and the Freedom defense then sealed the victory.


Perkins said he never had any thought about pulling the ball out after he came up with it.

“Ball got loose, got deflected, I picked it up, went and laid it up,” he said.

Tavarres Riley led the Eagles (1-1, 2-1) with 16 points and was efficient shooting from the field and from the line. Wimbush added 14 points and Perkins 10. Coach West also got 15 first half points from his bench and while the Eagles are a smaller team that is vulnerable to post play, he also got some solid play from his bigs.

Daniel [Ehichioya] is still young but he played well tonight,” West said. “We mostly play a five-guard lineup, so we have to come up with numerous defensive strategies to trap our opponent and front their bigs. We did a better job of that after halftime tonight.”

Freedom defense baby
Freedom’s guards often trap their opponents–here Elijah Reid and Jordan Perkins do exactly that to Winston Raford.

The Eagles, who got to the line 34 times to the Bruins’ 11, now embark on a difficult holiday non-conference schedule that West hopes will help deliver district wins. That’ll include games in West’s hometown of Petersburg. Forest Park (0-2, 2-5) will stay more local, appearing in the Joe Cascio Tournament at Falls Church.

–Chris Jollay

all stats are unofficial

MCLENDON-PARKER 0-2 0-0 0 3 2
NORFLEET 3-5 3-4 11 0 2
HENDRIX 1-3 1-2 3 4 2
MOORE 5-13 0-0 10 7 1
EDOZIE 10-14 3-5 23 13 0
Perry 0-2 0-0 0  0 1
Raford 0-0 0-0 0  1 0
Osei 0-0 0-0 0  1 0
Smith 1-1 0-0 3  0 1
Salvatierra 3-7 0-0 8  0 2
Pora 0-1 0-0 0  0 1
Sheikh 0-2 0-0 0  5 1
TOTALS 23-50 7-11 58  34 13
Threes: Salvatierra 2-2, Norfleet 2-3, Smith 1-1, McLendon-Parker 0-1, Pora 0-1, Sheikh 0-2, Perry 0-2, Hendrix 0-2, Moore 0-3
RILEY 6-8 4-5  16  6  3
WEST 1-7 5-8  7  2  1
WIMBUSH 4-7 6-11  14  5  1
PERKINS 3-9  3-3  10  3  2
ERINNA 0-0  0-0  0  0  0
Ehichioya 3-5  0-0  7  2  0
Reid 2-5  1-7  7  3  4
Redfearn 1-2  0-0  2  0  1
Kayede 0-1  0-0  0  0  0
TOTALS 20-44 19-34 63   21  12
Threes: Reid 2-4, Ehichioya1-1, Perkins 1-5, Riley 0-1, Redfearn 0-1, Kayede 0-1, West 0-2