"It's All About The Game"
Wilson grabs chances, nips Tech
Ron Bailey, Publisher
Tigers head on in DCIAA playoff play.
March 1, 2013 - Basketball games frequently are reduced to chances. Not the kind centered around luck, though that’s commonly viewed as opportunity intersecting preparation. Hoop contests can boil down to the team that takes advantage of circumstance garnering the ‘W’. Wilson did just that last night, in their 69-67 victory over McKinley Tech, at HD Woodson in DCIAA quarterfinal playoff action.
Early on, Wilson presented challenges – and capitalized on them, basically earning chances – via their 2-2-2 press. Multiple steals were garnered through it, including back to back second quarter swipes, with junior guard Larry Holmes, Jr. flourishing in the alignment. Without that press, their 36-34 lead at intermission would not have been possible.
“Pretty much we saw they have basically one ball handler” shared Wilson head coach Andre Williams on what spurred their 2-2-1 usage. “It was pretty effective”.
That's Harry Alexander snagging a board.
That effectiveness seemed to dwindle in the second half – the press wasn’t utilized as much and when it was, McKinley Tech comfortably navigated it more frequently , though Williams countered “We didn’t want them to get used it”; consequently he indicated the 2-2-1 wasn’t deployed as much.
Tech on the other hand, despite losing one of its best players (senior wingman Justin Grant, who scored just three points) to foul disqualification with 4:15 to play – it was Wilson’s Holmes that drew that fateful charge – and falling behind 65-59 almost a minute and a half later, could have still won the game: With just under a minute to play and down 67-64, Tech junior guard Anthony Carthen missed one of two foul shots, but Wilson’s junior guard Apronti Jones then failed to convert on a pair from the charity stripe. After subsequently stealing the ball, Jones turned it over with just 18.6 to play.
Tech’s senior guard Ron Scott missed a shot soon after, but his team retained possession on a held ball. Unfortunately they would themselves cough it up, and with 10.4 seconds to go, Wilson’s Holmes scored two clinching foul shots. Add missed foul shots and lost rebounds all game long to the calculus of lost Tech chances for victory.
Interestingly enough, one could argue Wilson took advantage of another opportunity, though this one likely should not have been afforded: Thirteen seconds after Grant fouled out, timeout was called. While Tech was still huddled, Wilson inbounded the ball and scored an uncontested layup. The game’s officials reportedly gave a warning, but apparently it wasn’t audible over fan noise and P.A. music. In a playoff game such as this, one that ended as a two point differential, many suggest another, more forcible warning should have been provided, at the very least.
Jones scored 16 points for Wilson, now 16-8, who must face Coolidge on Saturday, at that Northwest DC school. Holmes added 15 points, as did senior forward Harry Alexander, who was also a beast on the boards.
Ron Scott showed his entire game last night.
McKinley Tech’s season is now over, with a 21-5 mark. Scott led all scorers with 19 points, joined by junior swingman Christian Lutete. Carthen logged 12 points in the losing effort.
“The chances we had, we just fought on at the end” said senior forward Marquel Lewis, as he trudged from the locker room, tears in eyes, clearly lamenting lost opportunities. “We couldn’t’ get it to count at the right time…Everybody gave 100% effort”.
“It’s a tough loss” later added Lutete, eyes also reddened from effort and tears. He then pivoted to the future, noting “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Tech, valiant in defeat, will have to wait until then. Wilson gets another opportunity to capitalize tomorrow at 2p.
For exclusive photos, see Facebook.com/RonBailey19, albums section.
Harry Alexander - A rebounding machine for Wilson at 6'3", 205 pounds, Alexander, a senior, has a strong motor, competes, and will not be denied. His contribution is necessary on winning teams, and also includes defending plus playing with force and setting picks.
For college, Harry has to develop his perimeter shooting and ball handling; even if he competes at the D3 level - Hood College was in the house last night - Alexander must keep defenders honest, as now they can give him the outside shot. Though he can force the ball to the cup, that is not going to be readily available in college at his size.
Ronald Scott - As a senior combo guard that can actually advance the ball, Scott loves to attack the tin, where he generally finishes with finesse moves. Hood College and others are monitoring this Tech, senior standout. Can also dime to teammates.
He has to trust his outside game going forward - and get more consistent at it - while also playing all out, all the time and getting stronger. Is 6'0", weights around 165 pounds and has a 1500 SAT score.
Justin Grant - Grant might have had a tough final game in Tech silks, but he's distinguished himself year long; a smooth jump shooter, Grant also can and will slash to the tin.
Must get stronger for college ball, as well as burnish his ball handling skills, thereby allowing him to work better off the bounce under pressure.
Looks are coming, yes Hood is examining him, but others are as well.
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