"It's All About The Game"
Call it 33-0!
Ron Bailey, Publisher
History is made, despite challenges.
"We have five seniors, four of them have been with me the entire time. And we just talked about that. I told them it would get done in the first half” said head coach Trey Mines. “And we just played our roles, keyed in on the defensive end...and I challenged them, all five. Rebound; make them miss the first shot, and we have to rebound…be patient on offense. They just came out and played”.
That the Warriors did, grinding to an 18-10 first quarter lead. Junior forward and game MVP Antwan Walker led the second quarter with two layups. Later in the period Woodson’s sophomore swingman Kiyon Boyd scored on a driving floater, followed by his steal subsequent stick back, creating a 31-15 Warrior lead and forcing a Friendship timeout.
Antwan Walker was a force.
The Knights trimmed their deficit to 31-21 by the half, aided in part by a 2-3 zone. Mines’ group solved that and other Friendship defensive schemes – man to man, 1-3-1 – inflating their lead to 55-34 with 5:04 remaining to play. Both teams cleared their benches within the last two minutes.
“It wasn’t necessarily hard, it was how they were coming at you” said Boyd of Friendship’s 2-3 matchup zone. “So Coach said ‘Keep calm, keep cool, and pay attention, be patient, and something will open up'. And we did exactly that”.
Senior guards Alani Moore and Emmanuel Johnson both tallied 11 points for Friendship Collegiate (17-10). Moore noted of Woodson’s defensive effort “Yeah, they jumped out early, got stops and we couldn’t get back in the game”.
Walker finished with a game high 19 points. Boyd finished with 11 points, while senior guard Clenteous McCoy logged 10 points for the victors.
Mines, who stressed his team faces extreme challenges off the floor and in life – case in point would be senior forward Kavon ‘Joe-Rock’ Montgomery being grazed by a bullet Thursday night after the team’s semifinal victory over Gonzaga - successfully tapped into those experiences this season: “We talked about a couple of things; I keep going back to the strength of this team…A lot of things they fight for in life. Forget basketball…For an inner city team, these are not kids coming in (from other jurisdictions). These are inner city kids from the neighborhoods in the city".
His summation to the squad? "Don’t let them take this away from you. You’ve had things taken your whole life. You’re on the path to history’" he shared.
Mines continued, noting "This isn’t something where he (Walker) could say ‘Hey man, if we don’t get it this year, we’ve got next year’. It doesn’t happen like that. We’ve taken it game by game. And tonight we just talked about putting it all together”.
That they did, and in the process are DCSSA champions, 33-0 and go into the history books.
“It feels good” said the understated Walker. “It feels good to be 33-0”.
“Coach said ‘Take it one game at a time’ shared Boyd. “We forgot about the first game. Just forget about it. Erase it out your mind, because nine times out of 10 the next team we play is going to be better than the last team we played. And they won’t lay down. No team we play will lay down…You have to come out there and play the game as if it was your last. Play our heart out every night”.
Thirty three times the Warriors were able to accept that ethos. History is the result.
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