Coolidge and Spingarn rallied in the second half to post victories in the semifinals of the Interhigh League boys basketball tournament last night at Coolidge.
Coolidge made eight free throws in the waning moments of the game and held off determined Wilson, 66-56. Earlier, Michael Smith scored eight of his 24 points during a key third-quarter stretch to help Spingarn turn back Eastern, 61-50.
Top-seeded Coolidge (27-2) will meet second-seeded Spingarn (20-7) for the tournament championship tonight at 8:15 at Coolidge.
But second-ranked Coolidge, the league's regular-season champion, has already earned the right to play Metro Conference champion and third-ranked DeMatha (26-3) in the city title game Sunday at Cole Field House at 4 p.m. Spingarn will face the Metro Conference's second-place team in the preliminary game Sunday at 2.
In girls Interhigh Tournament play, top-seeded Wilson (23-3) will face second-seeded Coolidge (25-3) in the title game at 6:30 today.
In consolation games today, H.D. Woodson's girls (29-5) play Anacostia (16-8) at 3 and Eastern's boys (12-13) meet Wilson (12-18) at 4:45.
In last night's boys action, Coolidge trailed, 25-24, at the half before getting several inside baskets to move ahead, 45-36, going into the final period.
Wilson began a desperate comeback, cutting a 10-point deficit to 54-50 with just 2:30 to play. But Wilson had to foul to get the ball and Anthony Riley and Donald Hodge each sank two free throws to make it an eight-point game. Derek Harris then made a layup and Coolidge was ahead, 60-50, with two minutes to play.
Malcolm Doster's three-pointer cut the margin to seven, but Coolidge made six more free throws to sew up the game. Coolidge made 26 of 32 on the evening.
The Spingarn boys, starting a front line averaging 6 feet 6, did a poor job rebounding, allowing hustling Eastern to continuously get second and third shots. Eastern shot poorly but grabbed 22 offensive rebounds, scoring 17 points off the extra chances.
The Ramblers trailed, 25-22, at the half and 32-30 early in the third period before Smith took control. He scored off two breakaways and on two jumpers as Spingarn extended its lead to 40-34 going into the final period.
Eastern trailed, 46-40, with less than four minutes to play. But Spingarn sank 11 of 13 free throws over the final minutes to assure the victory.
Woodson's girls, who lost twice to Coolidge during the regular season (by a total of 23 points) took themselves out of the game in the first period.
The Warriors, five-time defending tournament champion, made only four of 14 shots and committed six turnovers in the opening period.
Carson, meanwhile, got off quickly, making five of her first seven shots for an 11-point first period to stake her team to a 19-9 lead.
The Colts outscored mistake-prone H.D. Woodson, 22-10, to take control of the contest. Carson had 16 more points, including a three-pointer, and Patricia Frost added 12 of her 20, as the pair accounted for 39 of their team's 41 first-half points.
Coolidge shot better than 60 percent in the second period and led, 41-22, at intermission.
Led by Valerie Wages (20 points), H.D. Woodson cut the deficit to 59-49 with four minutes to play. But the Warriors made only one field goal the remainder of the game.
Wilson had no problem with the Indians. Anacostia didn't score during the first six minutes of the opening period and trailed, 9-0. Wilson extended its lead to 16 points in the second period and led, 25-9, at the half.