The biggest disappointment of the evening was not seeing 7-foot-2 Wei Quanjia and 6-9 Deng Guoyou, the two tallest players on the People's Republic of China Junior Olympic men's team, get into the game. Both sat out because of sore knees.
The biggest enjoyment was watching 6-3 Wang Fei run circles around the Team D.C. guards to the tune of 32 points.
But Wang's efforts were not quite enough as the taller, more physical Washington team pulled away from the gritty 19-and-under Chinese to capture a 91-82 victory in the 7-Up AAU basketball challenge last night at George Washington University's Smith Center.
For 30 minutes, the Chinese relied on surprising quickness and outside shooting to keep up with the more talented home team. Paced by Wang and Cai Guangsheng (14 points), the visitors led by as many as nine points before settling for a 46-40 lead at the half.
"Someone told us they were a mechanical team. They weren't," said Coolidge's Tim Anderson, who scored six of his 16 points during a second-half stretch that gave his side the lead for good. "We thought we could come out and run them but they ran us. They gave us a serious game."
Wang, who made nine of 13 field goal tries and 14 of 20 free throws, along with Xue Zhengwu (15 points, eight rebounds) continued to score either inside or at the foul line until Team D.C. got serious midway through the second half.
Led by Anderson, Spingarn's Sherman Douglas (eight points, four assists) and Anthony Duckett (seven points) and Baltimore Dunbar's Kirk Lee (six), the local team began dominating the inside and the easy baskets starting coming.
"The turning point came when we put Anderson on that No. 11 (Wang). He was more physical and faster than our guards, and Timmy was taller and able to contain him better," said D.C. Team Coach Stan Anderson, who had the dubious task of trying to play 18 players.
Actually, the 6-5 Anderson didn't stop Wang from penetrating as much as Wang stopped himself. "He didn't drive anymore and that helped me," Anderson said.