Dunbar senior guard Tre Kelley had wondered at times this season whether his team's trio of talented guards would ever put together a truly dominating performance. It happened last night at Coolidge High -- in the perfect situation.
Facing No. 7 Spingarn, the three-time defending D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champion, Kelley and brothers Earl Risby and Eric Price combined to score 44 points and defend with tenacity as No. 14 Dunbar surprised the Green Wave, 68-61, in a DCIAA semifinal. Dunbar (22-5) will make its first appearance in the final at 9 tonight (weather permitting) against Cardozo, a 79-70 winner over H.D. Woodson at Ballou High.
The Dunbar trio of guards got 22 points from Kelley, but the three set the tone against Spingarn (19-5) with defense. The Crimson Tide forced the Green Wave into 20 turnovers and 19-of-56 shooting (34 percent).
"Our defense won this game," Kelley said. "But we also have the offensive weapons to carry us, and it came through when we needed it most. I've never won a game in my four years against Spingarn."
In the team's first meeting this season on Jan. 31, Spingarn won, 71-55. Dunbar had anticipated a rematch in the DCIAA final, but Spingarn was dropped from the first to second place in the East Division after the league ruled it had to forfeit a game for using an ineligible player.
At Ballou, Cardozo's boys put the perfect ending on their overtime victory over H.D. Woodson. Lorenzo Lessene grabbed the game's last rebound and passed to Steven Lee, who found Roland Williams for a breakaway dunk. Seconds later, thanks to key contributions from each of those three, the Clerks (15-7) had clinched a berth in the final.
After leading scorer Rickey Branham and starting point guard Dominic Bailey both fouled out early in overtime, the trio combined to make 10 of 12 free throws and score 14 points in the extra session. Williams finished with 21 points, Lee with 17 and Lessene with 10; all three had 10 rebounds.
"We've been getting dogged across the city for a long time," said Lee, a senior forward who also had a defensive stop near the end of regulation, "and now it's our time to shine."
H.D. Woodson (19-4) led by nine with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, but Cardozo clawed back. The Clerks tied the score at 59 on Williams's fifth three-pointer with less than a minute remaining. Each team scored two more points, and H.D. Woodson got the ball with 10 seconds left but couldn't get off a shot.
Woodson, Roosevelt Win
H.D. Woodson senior Jameka White spent the first half of yesterday's DCIAA girls' basketball semifinal surrounded by Anacostia's twin towers: sophomore twins Jazmine and Jessica Adair. When both twins were forced to the bench early in the second half -- Jazmine with a dislocated nose and Jessica with four fouls -- Smith suddenly found room to operate.
The four-year starter took advantage, grabbing seven of her 12 rebounds and scoring nine of her game-high 14 points in the second half as the Warriors secured a 35-24 victory at Ballou. Woodson, which won its eighth straight game, will play for its 17th DCIAA championship at 7 tonight against Theodore Roosevelt -- an 82-60 winner over Ballou -- weather permitting.
Anacostia (17-9) led 18-12 at halftime, thanks to a 14-0 run at the end of the half. The Adair twins combined for seven offensive rebounds and five blocks in the half, holding H.D. Woodson (17-8) scoreless for the final 10 minutes 14 seconds.
But both twins left the court within a 33-second span midway through the third quarter, leaving Anacostia with a five-guard lineup.
"At that point, I just knew we were going to win," said H.D. Woodson senior Asia Alston, who added seven points and seven rebounds.
H.D. Woodson outscored Anacostia 23-6 in the second half.
In the other semifinal, five Theodore Roosevelt players scored in double figures as the Rough Riders earned their first appearance in the DCIAA final since 1989. Sophomore center Katrina Wheeler had 25 points and 13 rebounds and guard Shanae Brice had 21 points and nine assists as Roosevelt (19-0) remained unbeaten.
The Rough Riders had a 19-point lead with 7:15 remaining in the third quarter, but Ballou (11-8) cut the deficit to 65-55 in the fourth quarter with a 12-4 run. Roosevelt closed the game with an 18-4 run.
Junior guard Chinata Nesbit scored a team-high 22 points for Ballou, with 12 rebounds and 10 assists.