Fighting leg cramps, Theodore Roosevelt center Katrina Wheeler converted a crucial layup with 13 seconds remaining to send the host Rough Riders to a 55-54 victory over reigning District public school champion Dunbar yesterday, ending a 13-year losing streak to the Crimson Tide.
Wheeler, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, grabbed her 21st rebound of the game after teammate Shanae Brice missed a free throw attempt and scored on a put-back to help the fifth-ranked Rough Riders improve to 10-0, 1-0 in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association.
It was the third straight loss for No. 9 Dunbar, which fell to 7-3, 0-1.
"Katrina is probably one of the most athletic females in the area," Dunbar Coach Johnnie Walker said. "Her athleticism can alter a game and she can get to the basket and block shots so well."
In the boys' game that followed, Dunbar junior guard Earl Risby scored seven of his game-high 20 points in the final two minutes of the game to lift the 14th-ranked Crimson Tide to a 68-58 victory over Theodore Roosevelt.
The victory for Roosevelt's girls is perhaps its most significant since the program captured the league championship in 1989.
"This was a game to give us an identity in the [league's] West Division, and let the players feel confident about themselves," Roosevelt Coach Tyrone Pittman said. "The players wanted to let people know that they are a real team and are going to be around for a while."
Roosevelt, behind the scoring of Wheeler (12 points) and Diamond Mitchell (15 points) opened with a 14-4 run. The Rough Riders maintained their lead throughout the first half as Brice scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the second quarter.
Dunbar, which trailed 32-24 at halftime, tied the score at 45 with 5 minutes 15 seconds remaining in the final quarter on a layup by Sophia Bratcher. The Crimson Tide appeared to gain momentum and take over when Laquanda Brandon (game-high 18 points) made two consecutive jump shots to pull her team to within 53-51 with 1:28 to play.
But a turnover and missed free throws dampened Dunbar's chances.
In the boys' game, Dunbar took advantage of five turnovers by Theodore Roosevelt to ignite a 13-2 run that sealed the win. Senior All-Met Tre Kelley finished with 17 points for Dunbar, and sophomore center Jefferey Owens had a team-high 18 points for Roosevelt.