City Title Notebook

Ballou's Mozee Named Most Outstanding Player in a Losing Effort

DeMatha defeated Ballou at Verizon Center on Monday night, 55-48, to win the City Title Game.Video by Atkinson & Co.
By Jeff Nelson
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When his name was announced as Ballou's most outstanding player in the boys' City Title Game last night, Chris Mozee walked to center court at Verizon Center with a look of sadness that belied his accomplishment.

The 6-foot-3 junior did not play on the Knights last season (he was ineligible) and did not start for most of this season (he was the sixth man). But after 20th-ranked Ballou Coach Jenkins Dormu made him a starter in the playoffs, Mozee rewarded the decision with 21 points in a 55-48 loss to third-ranked DeMatha.

"Scoring [was] not a problem," said Mozee, who exceeded his previous career high of 15 points. "I just don't want to lose."

Mozee averaged 6.5 points per game this season, but came out firing against the Stags and scored 10 of his team's 12 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Knights trailing by just two.

He also made a turnaround three-pointer at the first-half buzzer to send Ballou into halftime down just 26-23. Ultimately, though, the Knights couldn't pull off the upset, and Mozee took no satisfaction in the close game.

"We could have beat them people," he said.

Denied Inside

After H.D. Woodson senior center Jeniece Johnson scored 14 first-half points and kept many of Good Counsel's possessions on the perimeter, the Falcons focused on getting the 6-foot-6 senior off the floor. Within three minutes of the third quarter, they succeeded, as Johnson picked up her third and fourth fouls.

Fifth-ranked Good Counsel trailed by 11 at the time of Johnson's departure and eventually cut the deficit to five in the final minutes of the third quarter. But the Falcons never had much success scoring inside and watched eighth-ranked H.D. Woodson pull away for a 61-43 win at Verizon Center.

"We didn't penetrate enough," said Good Counsel senior guard Sarian Snyder, who had a team-high 15 points. "We settled for too many outside shots, and then by the time we did want to penetrate a lot, it was too late."

Even though Johnson played only one minute in the fourth quarter, Good Counsel managed just six points in the final eight minutes.

"I thought we had some really good shots at it," Falcons Coach Tom Splaine said, "and we ended up missing some shots inside and that really hurt us. It looked like it deflated us."

Looking Ahead

H.D. Woodson's bid to become the first girls' team to win three straight City Titles next season will not be easy. The Warriors will lose three senior starters from this year's team: Johnson and guards Carleeda Green and Bernisha Pinkett. . . .

It was not a good night for dunking in the boys' game. There were five missed attempts. . . . Ballou became the first DCIAA team to lose by single digits since 2002, when DeMatha beat Spingarn, 59-52.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company