DCIAA championships

Ballou boys and H.D. Woodson girls capture DCIAA basketball championships

In the DCIAA championships, the Ballou boys rolled over Eastern 101-89 behind 32 points from Donte Thomas while the H.D. Woodson girls cruised past Dunbar 57-30 for their fifth straight title.

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By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 7, 2010

As Ballou received its commemorative D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship T-shirts, Knights assistant coach Zalmico Harmon Sr., grabbed an extra one Saturday night and started waving it at his players as if to cool them off.

He would have needed plenty of help.

The second-ranked Knights were unstoppable from behind the arc early on, hitting their first three three-pointers in the first four minutes. That flowed seamlessly into an unrelenting transition game and the points appeared effortless at times as Ballou claimed its second consecutive DCIAA title with a 103-89 victory over Eastern at Coolidge.

The Knights, coming off the school's first title last year, entered this season not only hoping to return to the March 14 City Title Game but expecting to do so.

"Last year was the first, so it was big," said senior guard Donte Thomas, who had a team-high 32 points. "We've got more to do this year."

Once again, the Knights will be joining H.D. Woodson's girls' team at Verizon Center next week. As expected, the Warriors won their fifth straight DCIAA title, 57-30 over Dunbar, their 72nd consecutive victory over a league opponent.

Surprisingly, Ballou's victory was similarly one-sided, especially after Eastern played the Knights (30-4) to single-digit margins twice in the regular season. The teams engaged in some terrific up-tempo play, but ultimately Eastern (15-11) could not keep up.

Leading 26-23 two minutes into the second quarter, Ballou scored 13 consecutive points and kept a double-figure lead for the duration.

Ballou thrived in transition. The Knights got quick outlet passes to one of its three standout senior guards -- Thomas, Christian Leach (21 points) or Zalmico Harmon Jr. (15).

"They are a great bunch of guards," Ballou Coach Jenkins Dormu said. "I think they're the best trio of guards in the area."

With a 49-35 lead at halftime, Ballou started the second half on a 16-6 run, capped by a dunk by Antwan Pittman (21 points) in transition. Eastern called timeout, but trailing 65-41, the Ramblers could not come back despite sensational play from Phil Hawkins, who scored 27 of his game-high 38 points in the second half.

Meantime, Woodson (21-5), coming off winning its past four games by a combined 326-17, seemed almost intent on pulling back from its relentless attack of the scorebook.

At times, Woodson guards Ronika Ransford and Janae Blount would stand 30 feet from the basket and either dribble lazily or hold the ball, while Dunbar sat back in a 2-3 zone.

"They weren't playing any defense," Woodson Coach Frank Oliver said. "In a championship game, why would you sit back and let a team dribble? We're just trying to get to the City Title."

And if they win, the Warriors would become the first girls' team to win three consecutive championships.

"Everything we do is for this moment now," he said. "This is what we play for."

© 2010 The Washington Post Company

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