By MARCUS HELTON
GLENN DALE, MD - The 2017 DMVelite Fall League officially got underway on September 14, as schools from across the region took another step towards preparing for the 2017-18 season. All games will take place at Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School (11902 Daisy Ln, Glenn Dale, MD 20769).
DMVELITE FALL LEAGUE SCHEDULE + STANDINGS
This year’s Varsity Division features 21 teams split into East and West Divisions. In the East are Bowie (Md.) 1 and 2, Cesar Chavez (DC), Douglass-PG (Md.), Fairmont Heights (Md.), Indian Creek (Md.), La Plata, (Md.) Reservoir (Md.), South River Shooters (Md.), and Virginia Academy. The West includes Calvert (Md.), Capital Christian (Md.), Crossland (Md.), DuVal (Md.), Friendship Tech (DC), Paint Branch (Md.), Surrattsville (Md.) Team Rampage, Westlake (Md.) and Wilson (DC).
The Junior Varsity League will include a pair of seven-team divisions: Stars (Ball All Day, Bowie, Capitol Christian, DC Blue Devils, Team St8ment, Virginia Elite and Wise) and Stripes: (Douglass-PG, Montgomery County Elite, New World, Reservoir, South River Shooters, Team Durant and Westlake.)
In addition to the regular participants, this year’s session will also include the Inaugural DMVelite Mid-Atlantic Fall Showcase on October 21-22 for AAU, Middle School, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams. Stay tuned for more details as the date draws nearer.
Here’s a look back at Week 1 (Sept. 14-16):
WOOD MAKES EARLY IMPACT FOR B-CC
After a quiet freshman season at St. Andrews (Md.), 2020 guard Elijah Wood exploded on the recruiting scene this summer, picking up scholarship offers from - at last count - Auburn, DePaul, Colorado State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Hampton, Norfolk State, South Florida, St. Bonaventure, Texas A&M, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Tulane, and UNLV.
“Just hard work and believing in the process - trusting the process,” Wood said with a smile when asked what the key to his rise was. “My trainer Brandon Howell and my family, we just did it.”
Now at Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.), the 6-foot-5, 165-pound Wood is hoping to continue his ascension. He came up big in his debut, hitting a bucket in the final seconds to give the Barons a 54-53 win over Fairmont Heights.
“I think it’s going to help me a lot,” Wood said of this transfer. “The ball gets to be in my hand more, so I get to learn how to be a true point guard, which is the position I might have to play in college. It’s going to be good.”
“The DMV bump is crazy - talent everywhere. So [DMVelite Fall League] should be good and get me better and ready for the real season. And we can get together and get on the road to the ‘chip.”
FAIRMONT HEIGHTS PREPS TITLE DEFENSE
After winning the Maryland 1A state championship last spring, the Fairmont Heights Hornets find themselves as the hunted.
It’s a role they are more than willing to adopt.
“I mean, everybody’s going to be ready to play us,” 2018 forward Yearlando Reed said. “When they see Fairmont Heights on the schedule, they’ll be like “Oh yeah, we’ve got to beat them.’ But we’ve just got to play like we did last year and even better, ’cause even though we’re the state champions, that doesn’t mean anything. We’ve still got to work as hard as everybody else to keep our state championship spot.”
The Hornets will return an experienced group after graduating just two seniors from last year’s team.
“I’ve known these guys since I was in, like, the fourth grade; we played in elementary school,” Reed said. “So everybody knows what everybody’s good at, and we know where everybody likes to shoot the ball.”
Reed emerged as a solid inside-outside scoring threat for Fairmont Heights, highlighted by his 17-point performance off the bench in the 65-52 state title win over Edmondson. Reed said he’s slimmed down a bit this summer, and now checks in at 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds.
On the perimeter, the Hornets return star 2018 guard Darren Lucas-White, who picked up his first D-I offer from Morgan State this summer. The 6-foot, 170-pound Lucas-White will be counted on to lead the way offensively yet again.
“It’s a good experience for the most part,” he said of being the hunted. “We’re supposed to just come out the same way we did last year and just come out even stronger than we did and then we’ll be at the same spot we were at last year.”
Among Fairmont's other key returnees are Kimani Benjamin, Anthony Craven, Shemarri Miles and Mandell Quigley.
KEY WEEK 2 VARSITY MATCHUPS
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Duval vs. Westlake, 7:30 pm
Fairmont Heights vs. Indian Creek, 8:30 pm
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Cesar Chavez vs. Reservoir, 9 am
Paint Branch vs. Capital Christian, 11 am
Douglas vs. Virginia Academy, Noon
Friendship Tech vs. Westlake, Noon
Duval vs. Wilson, 1 pm
Bowie vs. Cesar Chavez, 1 pm
La Plata vs. Bowie, 3 pm