It all began Tuesday, when McNamara hosted Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rival DeMatha. Since 2003, the Mustangs had lost 20 straight games to DeMatha, and with the Stags up 11 points at halftime, it appeared the streak would continue. But after hearing Coach Marty Keithline push them to pick up their defensive effort, the Mustangs responded.
“We started putting more pressure on guys and creating turnovers that put us in transition,” Jiggetts said.
An eight-point fourth quarter by DeMatha helped the Mustangs cut the deficit to 52-50 with 10 seconds remaining. Keithline drew up a double-screen play for Jiggetts, who found himself wide open at the top of the key for the game-winning three-pointer.
“It’s a real good feeling to finally beat DeMatha, especially at a big place like [the Show Place Arena],” Jiggetts said of the 53-52 victory. “I’ll remember that win for a while.”
The same can be said for the Mustangs’ 63-42 defeat of Carroll on Friday. Jiggetts entered the contest just 14 points away from 1,000 for his career, but Keithline made a point not to tell the Siena recruit.
“In my experience, it’s very nerve-wracking for the kid if he knows, so I didn’t tell him,” Keithline said. “It ended up being a nice surprise for him and his parents. Plus it was his father’s birthday.”
In the fourth quarter, Jiggetts got fouled while converting a layup for his 1,000th point. After he drained the free throw, the game was briefly stopped to recognize Jiggetts, who took a few seconds to catch on.
“I was shocked, really because I had no idea I was close to 1,000,” said Jiggetts, who finished with 15 points. “It’s a great accomplishment. I’m moreso focused on the playoffs and winning a championship than points, but I’ll take it.”
Paul VI sophomore Kevin Dorsey admits that he was “real nervous” to take over the point guard position this season — and who could blame him? Not only were expectations high following the Panthers’ run to the WCAC title, but Dorsey had to fill the shoes of 2012 All-Met Player of the Year Patrick Holloway.
Whatever nerves were left during this past weekend’s Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Missouri, though, are surely gone after Dorsey’s heroics. The sophomore hit two buzzer-beaters in two nights with the last knocking off national power Montverde (Fla.) in the tournament final.
The first shot, a 19-foot jumper, came in a 52-50 semifinal win against St. John Bosco (Calif.) after the Panthers rallied from seven points down in the final two minutes. With the game tied at 50, Coach Glenn Farello drew up a play for Marcus Derrickson, but with the Braves double-teaming the sophomore forward, Dorsey was forced to take control.
“They knew we wanted to get the ball to Marcus, so Franklin [Howard] drove and drew the defender before passing it to me,” said Dorsey, who had 32 text messages waiting for him after the game. “The shot felt good when I let it go and went in.”
Before Saturday’s final, Farello wrote several past No. 1 upsets, including Paul VI’s win against Oak Hill earlier this season, and taped them on the locker room wall to motivate his players.
“They were all great, but the Oak Hill one stuck out to me because that game showed us how good we can be,” Dorsey said. “Some say we’re too young to win, but coach told us that there’s no reason for us not to be good right now.”
After rallying from eight points down to force overtime and watching Montverde’s Kasey Hill hit a game-tying three-pointer, Dorsey dribbled down the clock while staying on the move to avoid a five-second call.
“I saw the clock going down, so I dribbled to the middle, faked, turned around and hit the shot,” Dorsey said. “That one felt good, too, because I practice that shot all the time.”
But the tournament did bring a bit of bad news, too. Junior forward and leading rebounder Quadree Smith sprained his right shoulder in the semifinal win and is expected to miss at least three games, according to Smith and Farello.
David Brooks remembers the days when Robert Bacon’s three-point attempts barely made it to the basket. But after two years as the “consummate gym rat,” the Oakton coach now calls Bacon his team’s best outside threat.
“Everybody knows he’s able to get to the basket, but he’s worked so much on his game to where he doesn’t really have a weakness,” Brooks said. “He’s been tremendous for him.”
The result has been the 9-6 Cougars winning three of their first four games in Concorde District play and emerging as a threat within the Northern Region following a 7-15 record last season.
In a battle of the district’s top teams on Jan. 10, Bacon hit four three-pointers en route to a game-high 24 points and a 69-56 win against Robinson. Just as impressive was the balanced effort that saw seven different Cougars score.
“At the beginning of the year, the coaches thought we didn’t have much depth, but we have guys like Will Smith and Thomas Tribble stepping up for us and providing quality minutes,” said Bacon, a junior guard who is averaging 18.2 points. “That’s really been essential to us playing well recently.”
Continued big play from their bench will be key for the Cougars, which will make their second go-around in district competition with four of those five teams possessing winning records.