Gonzaga Is Early to Rise in Easy Win

Eagles Jump Out To a 16-1 Lead, Crush Roosevelt: Gonzaga 78, T. Roosevelt 44

Top-ranked Gonzaga jumped out to a 16-1 lead and cruised to a 78-44 victory over Theodore Roosevelt on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 5, 2008; Page E07

The basket that allowed the victorious players to smile came in the final minute. Seldom-used reserve Terry Kernan's three-pointer from the right of the top of the key swished through the net, bringing a big grin to his face. Coach Steve Turner, confined to a courtside seat because of a foot injury that has him on crutches, stood and turned to face his school's students, arms in the air.

Top-ranked Gonzaga still had another half to play, but there wasn't much to worry about last night in the City Title Game against No. 20 Theodore Roosevelt.

Junior center Ian Hummer scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Eagles quickly built a comfortable margin and went on to a 78-44 victory before an announced crowd of 6,258 at Verizon Center.

Sophomore guard Cedrick Lindsay matched his career high with 15 points -- 13 in the first half -- and sophomore guard Tyler Thornton added 10 points as Gonzaga (31-1) won its second City Title.

"When you play team ball like we do, it's pretty easy," Hummer said. "I was surprised how we bolted out to the lead."

Said Turner: "I felt like our guys were focused at the beginning of the game. We attacked immediately against their pressure and we finished on the opposite end. The kids from Day One wanted to win the [Washington Catholic Athletic Conference] championship and the City Title. We've got one more to go. We'll see how we finish."

The Eagles will wrap up their season next week at the Alhambra Invitational tournament in Frostburg, Md.

Roosevelt (19-9), coming off its first D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title since 1972, was led by junior forward Darin Drakeford's 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior forward D'Angelo Johnson added 13 points and senior guard Jibri Banner had 12 for the Rough Riders.

The City Title Game has been lopsided in recent years, with the WCAC champion winning six of the previous seven. DeMatha had won the previous three games by an average of 33 points. Last night's result was no different as Gonzaga took control from the outset.

As usual, a variety of players scored for the Eagles. Thornton cut to the basket and took a pass for a layup, then senior guard Rodney Gould made a rare three-pointer, his first in 2 1/2 months. A few minutes later, after a three-pointer by senior forward Max Kenyi and a fast-break layup by Thornton, Gonzaga had a 16-1 lead.

By that point, Roosevelt had missed its first 12 shots, committed six turnovers and called twice as many timeouts as it had points on the scoreboard. It was 21-3 after the first quarter and 40-18 at halftime following Kernan's long-distance shot.

"I don't know that it's over at that point and it's our night," Turner said. "But it certainly gave us a lift and gets us juiced."

Gonzaga pushed its lead to 59-33 by the end of the third quarter then increased the margin to more than 30 points in the final period.

"They really took us out of what we wanted to do," said Roosevelt Coach Rob Nickens, whose team entered with an eight-game winning streak. "It just got out of hand."

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