One-point losses are tough to forget, particularly when the game could have been won on a last-second shot.
Last month's 54-53 loss at DeMatha still hurts and McNamara Coach Marty Waters, and his team can't wait until the rematch on Feb. 9.
"We didn't play well, but had the last shot (a Martin Somerville jumper that missed) at the buzzer," Waters said. "We are pretty anxzious to see them again."
Very few teams look forward to playing DeMatha, but the confident Mustangs are enjoying the best start in the school's history. Going into this week, the Mustangs were ranked No. 5 with a 16-2 record. McNamara also finished second in the first half of the Metro Conference season with a 6-1 mark, guaranteeing it at least a playoff berth.
The conference champion meets the Interhigh League champion for the city title at Cole Field House in March. The league runner-up usually decided by a playoff game, meets the Interhigh League runner-up in the preliminary game.
"That was important. We know we got a piece of the pie by finishing second, "Waters said. "Last week was a key week for us and the kids did a great job beating Carroll (76-66) and Gonzaga by 16 going into the last quarter and pulled it out.
Six-foot-5 senior Quinn Harris (15 points, 11 rebounds per game), who sank two free throws with three seconds left to beat Gonzaga, teams with 6-0 Tony Johnson (4.0 points, five steals), 6-0 Nate Joy (12.0 points), 6-8 Eric Johnson (6.0), 6-3 Walter Webb (6.0), and 6-0 sixth man Martin Somerville (12.0) to form maybe the best overall team Waters has had in his 12 years at the Forestville private school.
"Maybe we don't have the best talent, but these kids play very well together," he said. "They have played good defense all year and been very consistent. When one guy is off, the others pick up the slack.
McNamara's other loss, a 24-point clinic by Archbishp Molloy, was actually beneficial to Waters' team.
Since that loss, the Mustangs have played almost flawless, losing only to DeMatha.
February will be a big month for at least three teams in the Interhigh League: Anacostia, Cardozo and Dunbar.
Anacostia got off to quick start with a 6-0 record. But the Indians have lost 10 of their last 13 games and have dropped to 6-7 in league play.
Dunbar, in the midst of a four-game losing streak, has fallen to 4-9 and is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in years. First-year Coach Mike McLeese is building his inexperienced team around sophomore Donald Ford.
Gardozo, led by 6-5 senior William Davis, has finally shown some life with three staight wins and is also 4-9. The Clerks have not made the palyoffs in the last nine years.
Coolidge, at 13-0, has been tested lately (winning five of its last seven games by a total of 24 points), but still owns a three-game Interhigh lead with seven to play.
Mount Vernon linebacker Shane Scott will sign a foot ball grant-in-aid with Clemson. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Scott's older brothers Jim and Sean played a t Clemson and Virginia, respectively. ... Largo's 6-3 center Alycin Epps is probably out for the year after re-injuring her knee. Epps was a much-improved player and had combined with senior 6-foot forward Vanessa Blair to form a good front line for the 12-2 Lady Lions.