The three-guard, two-forward offense is alive and well. At least, at Spingarn it is.
For a second straight year, the Green Wave has replaced its center position with another guard, and still could be the best team in the metropolitan area. Their three-guard alignment of all-Met senior Sherman Douglass, Melvin Middleton and Robert Smith is quick, aggressive and talented. With two excellent 6-foot-5 forwards -- Anthony Duckett and Manuel Jones -- Spingarn is ranked No. 2 after winning its first 10 games.
Last week, the Green Wave won the Kingdom of the Sun Classic in Ocala, Fla.
"We're still making some mistakes but I think we're going to be a good team," said Coach John Wood, who has averaged more than 20 victories over the past 10 years. "Our guards make us go. Melvin gets the ball to the right people, Sherman and Robert are great shooters and Jones and Duckett have really improved since last year."
Yet to be really tested, Spingarn, the area's highest-scoring team with an average of 91 points per game, has relied on a fast break, a full-court press and a tight, quick-reacting combination of sagging zone defenses. The key player is the 6-1 Douglass. He's averaging 31 points per game, including a season-opening 48 against DuVal.
Smith, Duckett and Jones also are averaging double figures while Middleton, who shoots only when he needs to, averages about eight points per game. Although Spingarn is short by average standards, the Interhigh League school can rebound with most teams. Jones, Duckett and sixth man Ernie Jones, also 6-5, block out well and are good jumpers.
Considered by some to be the top threat to defending champion Dunbar, Spingarn has opened league play in impressive fashion. The Green Wave routed McKinley, 87-65, and led most of the way in beating Wilson, 71-62.
Wood's best this season may earn the Green Wave a trip to Cole Field House for the city title game.
The area's longest winning streak ended last week when the H.D. Woodson girls team was upset by Crossland, 54-52, in the semifinals of the IAABO Tournament. The Warriors had won 20 straight games over a two-year period. The Warriors, 29-1 last year, are 9-1.
The Tiger Club, one of the better junior basketball teams in England, didn't fare too well in its recent 10-day series against Metro Conference teams, but should have picked up some tips to use when it returns home.
Unbeaten upon arriving here, the Tiger Club lost every game against the more experienced Metro teams. DeMatha handed the visitors their worst loss, a 101-41 defeat.
The Executive III organization, which has been responsible for helping area youths obtain college scholarships over the past decade, held its annual athlete recognition banquet last week at the Bolling AFB NCO Club. More than 20 former high school players, who are presently playing in junior colleges and prep schools around the nation, were honored.