By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 19, 2011; 12:13 AM
"Now that we're ranked, we've got that bulls-eye on us," Jones said. "Everyone's coming after us."
And the rest of the DCIAA is probably going to start coming a little harder after the 20th-ranked Rough Riders used a strong fourth quarter to come from behind and beat Coolidge, 59-57, in a game that solidified Roosevelt as the team to beat in an otherwise evenly-matched DCIAA.
While Roosevelt is 13-2 and 4-0 in the DCIAA West, no other DCIAA squad is more than four games over .500. Eastern (6-5 overall, 3-0 DCIAA East) is the only other team undefeated in league play.
"This is how this league is every year," Roosevelt Coach Rob Nickens said. "Now, it's our turn to see how we can handle it."
The core of this year's Roosevelt team is experiencing DCIAA play for the first time. The Rough Riders are three years removed from winning their first DCIAA title since 1972, and seem to be following the blueprint Ballou used to win last year's title. Roosevelt seniors Devin Gallman, Ezell Starks and Jones transferred this year from Paint Branch, Wise and Suitland, respectively.
"At the beginning of the season, people don't expect anything from you, even if they saw you in summer league," said Jones, who led the Rough Riders with 19 points. "It takes a while to see how you look against the rest of the league."
Jones scored nine first-half points from the low block to keep Roosevelt just behind, 28-27 at the break. Coolidge (8-8, 3-1 DCIAA West), however, scored eight of the first 10 points after halftime and went to a 2-3 zone to make entry passes to Jones difficult.
Needing to put the ball on the floor, Roosevelt turned to Starks to penetrate and Gallman and freshman Jarrell Allen to finish.
Gallman was able to break the Coolidge press, and fed Ryan Tanner for a layup with 2 minutes 56 seconds to play to give Roosevelt a 54-53 lead, its first edge since the middle of the second quarter.
Coolidge, meantime, could not get its offense going, aside from Khalen Cumberlander (19 points), who was the only Colt to score over the final five minutes. The Colts managed just two field goals in the fourth quarter.