Falls Church 65,

Wakefield 60

With its leading scorer and rebounder on the bench in street clothes, the Falls Church boys' basketball team spent the first half of yesterday's AAA National District game at Wakefield trying to find a way to score consistently. Three minutes into the third quarter, the Jaguars found it.

Falls Church scored on nine of its final 12 possessions of the quarter, closing the session with 10 straight points to pull in front before holding on for a 65-60 victory. The victory gave Falls Church a two-game lead in the district over idle Washington-Lee.

Senior Thomas Fawehinmi sat out the game after an undisclosed violation of team rules, and the Jaguars (12-4, 7-0 National District) started out slowly on offense, notching just 27 first-half points.

Wakefield (8-9, 5-3) led for much of the first half and, after several third-quarter lead changes, was still ahead by one late in the quarter.

But Falls Church senior Steve Papageorge (17 points) made a long three-pointer and then found senior Justin Deskins on a no-look pass for an easy layup to gain a four-point lead.

Senior guard Marvin Carthon followed with a steal and two free throws, and hit a three-pointer at the buzzer with a man in his face to give Falls Church a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The lead stayed at or above that threshold until the final seconds.

"At first it was a little tough [playing without Fawehinmi], but we have so many people that can come in and step up that it's not really a problem for us," said Carthon, who had 16 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. "We come out stronger in the second half -- it's our endurance that gives us the edge."

Deskins had his second huge game against Wakefield this month. The 6-foot-5 center finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds after recording a season-high 27 points and seven rebounds in a five-point win on Jan. 6.

"I told Justin to be tough on the boards and to give us a little more offense and he produced," said Falls Church Coach Tony Fisher, whose team is off to the best start of his six-year tenure.

Sophomore reserve Geoffrey Crawley had 16 points for Wakefield, which was playing its first home game in more than a month, a span of 10 games.

"The shots we took tonight are the shots we usually take and usually make," said first-year coach Tony Bentley. "We had the momentum, but they just took it right out of us."

Jaguars' Steven Papageorge goes baseline to score two of his 17 points between Wakefield's Geoffrey Crawley, Kenneth James, right.