McKinley, known throughout the area as one of the best shoot-and-chase teams around, showed its other side yesterday, much to the surprise of Theodore Roosevelt.
Fifth-ranked McKinley put the brakes on its fast-break offense and played keep-away most of the final quarter and took home a 58-53 victory in an Interhigh League game at H.D. Woodson.
The Trainers are now in a three-way tie with Spingarn and Eastern for second place, two games behind unbeaten Dunbar (11-0). All have 9-2 league marks.
(At Eastern, the 19th-ranked Ramblers (13-6) shocked fourth-ranked Spingarn (17-3) 66-64,behind 14 points and 23 rebounds by Mike Wilcher. Chris Perry made 10 of his 17 points in the final period to lead and unsuccessful Green Wave comeback.
Roosevelt, now 7-5 in league play and 13-5 overall, led most of the way until a disastrous 65-second streak turned the delibrate Rough Riders from the controller to the controllee. Leading, 47-42, late in the third period. Roosevelt lost the ball three straight times to the Trainer press. Ed Swails, who finished with 19 points, glided in for a layup, Cedric Sullivan sank a jumper from the corner and Jarvis Smith hit a jump shot at the buzzer to put McKinley ahead to stay, 48-47.
Sullivan and Swails opened the fourth quarter will baskets and McKinley, holding a 52-47 advantage, suddenly went to its delay offense.
"We call it our switch game," said Swails, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard. "We've always had it but lately we've been behind and haven't been able to use it. This was a good time to use it."
McKinley, coming off a 68-49 loss to Spingarn, held the ball three minutes before Sullivan took an errant shot and Roosevelt's Zach Jones pulled down one of his 13 rebounds.
Michael Hancock's basket pulled Roosevelt to within three points, 52-49, with 3:55 left in the game. But following a McKinley timeout during which Trainer Coach Walter Kennedy implored his team "to be patient and make good passes," McKinley calmed down.
McKinley held the ball another 2 1/2 minutes before Smith saw a crack in the lane and scooted in for a layup and a 54-49 advantage.
Richard Berry sank a short shot to pull the Rough Riders close again, 54-51. Carl Benford, starting in place of regular center Tyrone Snead, who missed the game because of a death in the family, sank the first shot in a one-in-one foul situation. Jones gave Roosevelt hope when he followed up a missed shot to cut the deficit to two, 55-53, with 15 seconds on the clock.
Roosevelt had little choice but to foul and Ronald Curtis dropped in a free throw with eight seconds left to sew up the victory. Swails added a little padding to the final score and his 16-point average with a breakaway layup at the final buzzer.
"We didn't have much choice but to go the four-corners," said Kennedy. "We didn't have Snead to help us and we weren't playing well at all. We had to do it."
Roosevelt, the master of the deliberate game, worked the ball inside enough to Hancock, Jones and Glen Price for easy baskets to maintain the lead for most of the first three periods.
Roosevelt scored the final six points of the second quarter to go ahead, 37-31, at the half. But the Rough Riders may have been a bit too careful, passing up four-on-two fast-break opportunities and 10-foot jump shots until they finally fell behind in the third period.
"Once we got ahead, we went to our passing game. And I have to run things," said Swails. "As you might remember, last year we always came from behind to win. This is the first time this year we have done that."
Edward Creque's basket with 19 seconds left lifted Wilson to a 60-59 victory over Chamberlain at Ballou.
Forward Randy Crawford's foul shot with seven seconds left lifted Cardozo to an 83-82 victory over Anacostia at Spingarn. Crawford scored 16 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and senior Eugene McClanahan grabbed 23 rebounds for the Crimson Tide.