IF YOU ARE AMONG the hoop-happy legions around town that follow the bouncing ball from one end of a basketball season to the other, the glorious blur of this last weekend of tournaments is only now wearing off. Hour after hour, on radio, television and live--very much so--there was proof again that Greater Washington is the home of some of the best basketball players and teams anywhere --from high school to college.
Add to this region the universities of Maryland and Virginia--which have long been showcases for talented players from this area--and the local interest in the tournaments and national championships is naturally intense. Though not all the teams fared well in these latest tests, they have had superb seasons: American, Georgetown, Howard and the University of the District of Columbia all have fielded well-coached, top-flight athletes.
But special recognition should go to the fine tradition of high school basketball in this area, which was most recently capped Sunday at Cole Field House, where 6,000 fans saw a thriller: De Matha edged Spingarn, 53 to 52, to win the City Championship. Not only was the game well played, but the event was a model of good spirit and sportsmanship. If there is still any stereotypical or historical misimpression of these parochial-public school events as sure-fire trouble spots, the evidence for it was nowhere to be found on Sunday.
Similarly, no one should be deluded into believing that the road from downtown to adulthood success is lined with basketballs; the room at the top in the National Basketball Association is tiny, and the disappointment for high school and college heroes is great. But both De Matha coach Morgan Wootten and Spingarn coach John Wood know this and do not pretend otherwise. Instead, they teach, they develop and they earn the respect of some young men who have every reason this week to be proud of their accomplishments.