We admit it: When it comes to hoops, the D.C. Council was a lot better than the media expected.
In the first annual council -media charity basketball game at Verizon Center this afternoon, the media figured we had a decided youth advantage. And with 16 players to the council's 9, we were counting on running them into submission quickly in the 28-minute game.
But the council, behind point guard Kwame Brown (D-At Large) and forward Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), jumped out to a six-point lead in the first half, and fired up the crowd of about 100. Wells, 52, had an unstoppable turnaround jumper from about 12 feet and he led the council team with 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Brown, who had six points and two assists, ran the offense with a burst of speed that had the media on the backpedal.
By the time council Coach Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) entered the arena, looking spry after his recent kidney transplate, the council looked to be in command. (Announcer Frank Herzog, former Ch. 7 legend and former Redskins play-by-play guru, made a joke about Barry being home "doing his taxes" before the game.) Things got so bad for the media, that we were called for a technical foul for having five men on the court (the rules stated at least one woman must be playing for each team at all times). Brown made the two technical foul shots. But media Coach Kojo Nnamdi, who had his hands full trying to sub in so many whiny journalists, put the ball in the hands of stars Wisdom Martin of Fox 5 and Jonathan O'Connell of the Washington Business Journal. Martin, who played at Jackson State, took the ball to the hole repeatedly for a game-high 20 points on 10 of 15 shooting and O'Connell chipped in nine points, two steals and an assist. Urged on by Ch. 9's Kim Martucci (four points on 2 of 2 shooting), the Good Counsel high school cheerleaders began chanting "D.C. Media!" and doing a cheer.
That brought our team back in the final quarter, our fresher legs finally paying off. The media won going away, 35-25. Martin was named MVP. (The council's Michael Brown had six points and this blogger had a basket to round out the scoring.)
Afterward, the two sides agreed to play again next year. And Metro challenged the media to a game. Stay tuned.
(Top photo by Hamil R. Harris, Washington Post; second photo by Adam Tuss, WTOP.)