By the final minute of the second overtime of last night's boys basketball game between No. 12 H.D. Woodson and Ballou, the pace had slowed to a crawl. Both teams were finally feeling the strain of a game that had been close since the opening tip.
But in the final seconds, Daryl Morrow and his brother, Norman, found their energy reserves and lifted Ballou to an exciting 101-98 double-overtime victory in Congress Heights.
The Morrow brothers combined for 67 points for Ballou (9-4 overall, 1-0 in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association East division). H.D. Woodson (11-2, 0-1) was led by Mike Harris's 23 points and 22 from Howard Gilmore.
"I was thinking, there at the end, that it really didn't matter if we win," first-year Ballou Coach Michael Grafton said. "I was just satisfied watching my team take H.D. Woodson to the limit. With all that we've been through, losing all those players this summer--nobody gave us a chance. We proved something tonight."
Grafton took the program over in the fall after seven players transferred to various area schools over the summer because of Ballou's lateness in hiring a new coach. Of those seven, five started at some point last season and two others saw significant playing time. The players transferred because by late summer Ballou had not hired a new coach. H.D. Woodson's Gilmore was one of players who opted to leave.
"I was really nervous there at the end," Norman Morrow said. "We're a young team, after tonight, I think we're going to be all right."
Neither team was able to control the game for any extended period of time. But toward the end of the second overtime, Ballou regained its composure.
In the second overtime, Daryl Morrow, a 6-2 sophomore, scored six points and Norman Morrow, a 6-0 senior, hit two key free throws to put the Knights up 99-96 with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Harris, averaging 17 points per game, then was fouled as he attempted a three-pointer. He converted 2 of 3 free throws to cut the deficit to 99-98. On the ensuing possession, Ballou threw a deep downcourt pass to Eric Barbour, who hit a running jumper as the clock expired to account for the final margin.
"I was getting scared. I thought we were going to lose after we didn't get them in the first overtime. But we proved that we're a good team. We work hard in practice, and tonight, all of the suicides paid off," Darryl Morrow said, referring to the practice drill Grafton makes his players run.
Note: It doesn't get any easier for H.D. Woodson, whose next game is at No. 3 Spingarn (10-1).
CAPTION: Norman Morrow (4) battles Howard Gilmore of No. 12 H.D. Woodson. Morrow scored 37 points and his brother, Daryl, scored 30 as Ballou won DCIAA opener.