"It's All About The Game"
Leagues 1-1 in City Title
Ron Bailey, Publisher
DCIAA and WCAC split this season.
March 24, 2012 – Last Tuesday, D.C.’s Verizon Center hosted the 46th Annual City Title game. No attendance figures were provided, but well over 5,000 fans attended, rooting on the boys and girls champions of the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
Both leagues won a game, leaving conference bragging rights knotted. In girls action, DCIAA champion HD Woodson defeated Good Counsel (MD) 64-54, while WCAC top dog Paul VI (VA) was crowned boys champ, besting Coolidge 70-64.
The girls game turned, ironically, on what is known as Woodson’s strong suit, fast paced action: In the first half, Good Counsel fastbreaked judiciously. With the score an 27-25 Woodson advantage at intermission and Good Counsel having severely reduced an early second quarter 13 point deficit, observers expected more of the same from the GC Lady Falcons, but coach Tom Splaine had different plans.
Woodson's Chanel Green splits Faith Randolph (left) and Sara Woods.
“That’s the way we’ve played all year” said Splaine of his decision to up tempo. He went on to opine a slower, first half pace “was the problem”. Resultantly GC pushed the ball on makes and misses in the second stanza, a tempo Splaine indicated “is more to our liking”.
Was that a case of welcoming prey to the spider’s web?
“It definitely played into our hands, and we took advantage of it” said HD Woodson’s coach, Frank Oliver, when asked about the impact of Good Counsel’s decision to push the tempo. Numbers bear it out – though they scored four more points in the third quarter, Woodson bested GC 18-6 in the fourth. Some of that were free throws, but the Lady Warriors are most comfortable getting up and down the court, playing also frenetically. And they did just that.
Woodson senior guard Chanel Green (11 points, two assists, five steals) was succinct in her assessment: “Yeah, they were pushing the tempo and we just compressed them by played good defense, and that was how we pulled it out”. By compressed she meant the 27 turnovers committed by Good Counsel.
Sophomore guard Breonn Hughey was the game’s MVP, dropping 19 points, three rebounds and two steals. Three other Lady Warriors reached double figures in scoring – senior guards Rahni Bell (12 points) and Janae Blount (10 points, four rebounds, two assists), along with fourth year forward Jephany Brown (11 points, nine rebounds, two assists).
Coleman Johnson gets to the rim in second half action.
Good Counsel (30-5, 18-0 in league) received 15 points and nine rebounds from team MVP, sophomore swingman Sara Woods, while senior guard Faith Randolph logged 16 points and three boards.
Woodson (26-5, 8-0) is headed to National High School Invitational play next week, while Good Counsel is finished for the 2011-2012 season.
The Coolidge Colts join HD Woodson in NHSI play next week, but were not victorious. The game saw PVI (VA) up 17 points in the third quarter, and Coolidge battle to within two at 64-62, with just 1:14 to play.
The game was a chess match between the participating coaches, with moves like: A 2-3 zone from PVI’s Glenn Farello being countered with a similar move by Coolidge’s Vaughn Jones. When Jones employed a 2-1-2 press that helped enable the Colts’ comeback, Farello utilized three and four guard lineups. PVI’s head guy dialed up a spread offense, when Jones’ run and jump, multiple guard defensive attack started to take a toll on the Panthers in the contest’s final minutes.
“I thought we played as hard as we could play” said Jones afterward, obviously disappointed in the outcome but proud of his team. “We matched them strategy for strategy. The difference in this game were just small plays”. Jones went to identify a Paul VI senior forward Coleman Johnson’s pivotal stick back with 1:03 remaining, as such a play, in addition to missed first half layups and a 61.1% free throw shooting mark (11-18).
“We had to go back and forth, personnel wise; it’s all matchups” commented Farello afterward, of the coaching battle he just engaged in. “I thought our kids did a great job adjusting throughout the game”. Adding to the pressure on his guards was the absence of junior swingman Stan Robinson, who served a one game suspension.
Senior guard Pat Holloway (15 points, four rebounds) hit key shots – his two point bucket from the wing with under a minute to play basically sealed the win – also played a role in handling Coolidge’s late pressure. “He basically just told us to relax, we knew it was coming, as the game wore on…they pressured us a little bit and it worked, but our coaches told us to relax” he shared of Farello and the other coach’s counsel in handling the trapping, scrambling Colts. “We made more smart passes than bad passes, more smart plays than bad plays to help us win the game” .
“It was a tough game” continued Holloway. “That’s what good teams do (respond) . Coolidge is a great team. I played them a long time about in the summer, but to come out here and play them tonight, reiterated in my mind they are a great team”.
The Colts (29-7, 14-0) were led in scoring by junior guard Deshuan Morman’s 20 points (he also had seven rebounds and four assists), while senior guard Khalen Cumberlander chipped in 15 points and three boards. Junior point guard Omar Roberts also scored in double figures with 10 points.
Holloway’s Panthers (35-3,18-0 ), whose season ended on this high note, also got 12 points and eight dimes from senior point guard Tilman Dunbar, along with a dozen points and 13 caroms from junior swingman Jamall Robinson. Game MVP Johnson led the team with 15 points, while also notching seven rebounds.
GC's Faith Randolph, headed to UVA next year, is a guard that plays with strength and aggression She's capable of hitting the open shot and driving, while also defending. Faith plays with a certain force
Foot quickness could be improved, as she will be guarding faster players in college.
Splaine on Randolph: "She’s headed to University of Virginia. The Cavaliers are getting an awful good one. Not only is she a great player, she’s a great kid; WCAC player of the year. I can’t say enough about her, she does a great job. She’s a leader by example. She will do anything for any of her teammates and stuff, and you obviously see how hard she plays".
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