Cardozo may not have a gymnasium to host home games, but the Clerks should have no problem finding a place to display their trophy after capturing the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association boys' basketball championship with a 54-50 victory over Theodore Roosevelt last night at Coolidge.
With 1 minute 36 seconds remaining in the game and the score tied at 48, Cardozo freshman guard Antonio Cooper sank two free throws to give the Clerks the lead. Lester Williams then followed with two free throws for a 52-48 margin.
Theodore Roosevelt senior Abraham Massalley made a jump shot to cut the deficit to 52-50 with 48 seconds remaining. But Clerks senior guard Roland Williams converted two free throws with five seconds remaining to seal the come-from-behind victory. Theodore Roosevelt missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
"I told these kids at the beginning of the year if they played to their potential, they could win the championship," said Cardozo Coach Henry Lindsey. "We really jelled over the past five games."
The victory allows Cardozo (15-7) to keep the DCIAA championship in the West Division for the second consecutive season. The Clerks, who last captured the title in 1995, lost to Dunbar in the final last season.
Cardozo survived a difficult road to the final with victories over perennial power H.D. Woodson in the first round and defending champion Dunbar in the semifinals. The Clerks also played every game on the road this season, as they have done for at least five years since the Northwest school's gym was condemned.
Theodore Roosevelt (15-11) controlled much of the game and led at 40-28 with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter. But Cardozo got back into the game with an 11-0 run, and made the plays that mattered in the closing minutes.
In the girls' championship game, Katrina Wheeler and Brittany Hilliard scored 23 points each as No. 3 Theodore Roosevelt pulled away for a 72-41 victory over Anacostia, the Rough Riders' second DCIAA title and first since 1989.
Roosevelt (25-1), still smarting over last year's one-point loss to H.D. Woodson in the title game, fell behind 7-0 to start the game but surged ahead with a 15-2 run the final 2 minutes 46 seconds of the first quarter.
"All I can say about last year is that we got here, but we didn't finish," Wheeler said. "No one wants to repeat a loss in a championship game."
Anacostia finished 16-6.
The DCIAA champions will face the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions in the City Title doubleheader at George Washington University on March 13.