T.C. Williams 72,

Hayfield 60

When T.C. Williams guard Maurice Sumter set himself to shoot from beyond the three-point line, the net was still hanging over the rim from the previous shot when teammate Richard Hunter had just swished a three-pointer seconds earlier.

But the dangling distraction didn't matter. Like most of the Titans' shots last night at Hayfield, Sumter's was true. It was part of a decisive third-quarter surge that gave T.C. Williams a 72-60 Patriot District win before a crowd of about 3,500 at Hayfield.

The Titans (10-3, 5-0) maintained sole possession of first place in the district. Hayfield (11-2, 3-2) equaled its loss total for all of last season, when the Hawks won the Northern Region title.

"The regular season and the district schedule are just little expectations for our team," said Titans Coach Chavez Mabry, whose squad built a 22-point lead midway through the third quarter after leading by 11 at halftime. "We're meeting those expectations. But we have our sights on winning the region title."

T.C. Williams received its typical balanced scoring effort, led by Sumter and center Willie Shaw, who scored 18 points apiece. But perhaps the key performance was turned in by the 5-foot-5 Hunter, a junior who had 17 points.

"We came to play hard tonight," Hunter said. "They beat us twice last year. But we know what we can do and we did it tonight -- tough defense and working for our shots."

Hunter slipped through the lane several times, making shots despite having defenders on both sides. He added a three-pointer and made all four of his foul shots.

"Richard is the real deal," Mabry said. "Nobody can stay in front of him. He's had trouble before with turnovers, but now he's making good decisions.

"I knew Hayfield would be concerned with our inside game, so I told our guards it was up to them to hit their shots. And, if they have to call their own number, they can drive to the basket. And they did."

The Hawks twice closed within seven points in the fourth quarter, but got no closer. A.J. Fitzgerald led Hayfield with 21 points (five three-pointers), including eight in the final 39 seconds of the third quarter, helping to get his team back in the game.

Teammate Jahmar Claxton added 16, and Michael Lee had 10.