"It's All About The Game"
Woodson makes ‘The 12’ final in thriller!
Ron Bailey, Publisher
Wariors best Gonzaga, making final in process.
The Warriors to a man never bought into a possible defeat Thursday, regardless of the challenge. According to their coach, Trey Mines, they never have.
I’ve been just telling these dudes, ‘You’re going to win’. No matter; we’ve been down before. We’ve been in games before, where we’ve played good teams”, when asked about settling his team, down 12 at intermission.
Questionable foul calls seemed to un-focus the Warriors early, to which Mines indicated. “My message to them was ‘We’re going to win’. If you ever stop believing that, you can’t win”.
Trey Mines pulled the right strings last night.
Schematically Mines employed a rather unique matchup zone dubbed ‘Tennessee’ for much of the second half, which definitely put the Eagles on their heels. Senior forward Kavon ‘J-Rock’ Montgomery (eight points) said of that defense “It stopped them from shooting”, particularly hampering Gonzaga’s leading scorer, Chris Lykes.
Lykes indicated “When they switched to that zone, the ball became stagnant”. Summing, Mines said “It was effective. They started missing a couple of shots, we were able to dig back into the game”.
One guy who was effective throughout for Woodson was sophomore forward Kiyon Boyd. On the way to a game high 37 points, Boyd early on tickled the twine from outside, and down the stretch found the lane and rim.
“Me and my team huddled up", with them informing him ‘They can’t stop you from getting the basket, so just go’”, the result being a foul/free throws or finish, recalled Boyd. That work afforded him 14 free throw attempts, of which he made 11.
Coming off the bench for Woodson was junior guard Derquan Washington, who got on fire in the second half, nailing multiple three balls. Washington made five in the second half, four of them with his team down eight points in the third quarter.
Washington, who poured in 26 points said of raining shots from distance “We were down 12, I had to work hard, create shots for myself, come off screens and use my teammates to get open so we could get into the game”.
The emotional sharp shooter also found teammates on the way to the basket, to which he noted “In practice we do drills to where if somebody steps up, know where they’re coming from, so I can have some court awareness. When Twan’s guy stepped over (senior forward Antwan Walker), I had some dishes to him'.
True, but it was the three pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation that was his biggest play: Boyd attacked from the right side, backed out and shoveled to a moving Washington, who calmly sank the shot. That three ball knotted the score at 79.
“We know each other’s game. We’ve been playing with each other for like eight years now” shared Boyd of that sequence. “That’s our designed play for end of the game; If I don’t take it and he comes around, I give it to him and he takes the shot”.
Lykes took responsibility for that make, saying “The last three, it’s on me. I was ball watching, he just got an open three, and that’s something that can’t happen”.
Gonzaga took an 88-83 lead, with 1:23 on the clock during the first overtime, before Washington hit a leaning layup. Boyd later sank two free throws at the 27 second mark, Lykes hit one of his own before Boyd’s stick back served as the period’s last points, forcing another overtime.
Derquan Washington, celebrating afterward.
Tecond bonus time saw the teams go back and forth, before Walker (13 points, game high 21 rebounds) calmly sank two free throws earned being fouled on an offensive rebound, giving Woodson 100-95 lead with 47.7 clicks on the clock.
Sophomore Gonzaga guard Prentiss Hubb got the Eagles as close as 104-102 after a three ball with under seven seconds to play, but Boyd’s free throw within the last two seconds finalized things.
“We made crucial mistakes to put them up. We let them get their comeback and get ahead” honestly said Hubb (17 points). And it just affected us”.
One solid throughout Eagle was senior guard Nigel Scott. The 25-point scorer repeatedly hit shots and hustled.
“It was definitely one of the most competitive games I’ve been in” opined Lykes, who finished with 30 points. “They play hard. They play scrappy and I think they just wanted it more than us”.
Color Lykes, who previously knew none of Woodson’s team, thoroughly impressed: “They definitely earned our respect tonight. They play with a passion that some guys who play basketball just don’t have. And I really commend them for that”.
Boyd and Washington gushed about Lykes, the former saying “He kept them in the game. All props go out to Chris Lykes. He played his tail off. He did what he had to do for his team, the later remarking “That kid is good”.
As motivation, Mines said to his team “You guys are from the inner city. Mostly public housing. You’ve been through a lot. This is just basketball. Don’t ever quit. Don’t ever give up, no matter what happens. Up 10, down 10, down 20, up 20. They took that message, kept battling, and we put ourselves in a position to win”.
Adding fuel was the larger basketball communities’ doubt, which “we try and turn a deaf ear to” but it’s heard, shared Mines. “For me, those are my kids you are talking about. They’re good kids and I know what they go through every single day…I had a chip, they had a chip (on their shoulders).
“It’s was one of those things where…we can play with those guys. You’re not going to disrespect us, we can play with those guys. We hung in there and won”.
HD Woodson plays Friendship Collegiate (16-9), Sunday at 3p for DC State Athletic Association supremacy at GW's Smith Center. The Knight’s prevailed 62-58 over IDEA in what was a great game itself.
The victors, down 12 at the half and eight to start the fourth quarter, finished regulation on a 25-13 run. A single Knight, senior guard Alani Moore went ballistic, at one point besting IDEA 10 zip via a layup, three ball, layup and inbounds play generated three pointer, given his team a 51-48 advantage.
Moore’s brilliance also employed guile; he drew two consecutive foul calls while dribbling, the last resulting in a one on one situation, making both charity shots.
“I had a rough first half. I had to end the game on a good note” said Moore while Friendship Collegiate fans enjoyed the stirring comeback. “Kept playing my game and came through”.
Junior forward Keon Queen finished with 14 points for the victors, while IDEA seniors, guard Darryl Bones and forward Kierell Green scored 21 and 14 points, respectively.
Joining that pair of Timberwolves in double figure scoring were junior forward Stephon Fischer (13 points) and junior guard Tunde Scrivner (10 points).
IDEA has finished its season at 23-15.
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