With his team leading comfortably and about 45 seconds remaining in Saturday night’s Maryland Independent School Athletic League championship, Perry Street Prep’s Jerrod Diggs took a behind-the-back-pass from a teammate and soared under two Grace Christian Academy post players, and dropped in two points he’ll never forget. Aesthetically, it was probably one of the best looking plays Diggs made in his four-year career. And it was the perfect way to go out.
Diggs dominated on Saturday night, scoring 27 points while teammate Avery Stuckey added 13 to lead Perry Street Prep to a 77-66 win over Grace Christian in the MISAL title game at Model in Northeast Washington.
“This is a big one,” Diggs said. “All year [it was our goal] to win a championship. If we had won the division and didn’t win the championship, it would’ve been a failure of a season.”
Diggs made sure that didn’t happen on Saturday. Perry Street Prep (19-6) overcame a barrage of three-pointers in the first half by Grace Christian (18-6), which menaced the Pride behind slick point guard play from Trey Roberson (21 points). But Diggs was the calm. He scored 10 in the second quarter to help give his team a 35-31 advantage at halftime — and after the Knights pulled within 56-50 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, he scored four straight in the next minute for Perry Street Prep – then helped facilitate three-pointers for teammates Dequan Brandon and Chappelle Wilson on back-to-back possessions in the middle of the frame that made it 66-56 and that sunk Grace Christian’s hopes.
“All I had to do was stay focused,” Diggs said.
In the girls’ final, Takoma Academy used 17 points from point guard Asya Thomas and 13 from post Avery Seymour to down Spencerville Adventist, 57-45. It was the third straight MISAL title for Takoma Academy (21-5), and much of that was due to Thomas’s ability to turn a strong defensive performance into points for her team.
“I knew I had to pick it up as a captain and leader of this team,” Thomas said. “We just had to keep up with our defense.”
Late in the third quarter, she fed Seymour in transition after coming up with a steal, then got a steal and bucket of her own on the ensuing possession to grow the Tigers’ lead to 37-24. Takoma Academy never trailed, but after Spencerville Adventist cut the lead to 50-44 with just under two minutes remaining, the senior Thomas scored seven points in the final 90 seconds — including an acrobatic three-point play earned after she turned up a steal with just 30 seconds remaining.
The crowd erupted after that exclamation point, which was Thomas’s final basket of her career. And it happened again two hours later when Diggs had his special play at the end of Perry Street Prep’s win.
“That one felt good,” Diggs said. “I expected it. I expected it.”