Coolidge Coach Vaughn Jones has hammered the point home all season, to anyone that would listen: If the Colts were going to make a run at their second straight DCIAA title, the team would need point guard Omar Roberts to take them there.
On Monday night, it happened as Jones had planned. Coolidge, in a 62-61 win over Theodore Roosevelt, won an emotional DCIAA championship that had plenty of star-performances to go around, including 20 points from post David Kadiri and some clutch fourth quarter shooting from guard Kory Cooley. But Roberts, who has started games for the program ever since he stepped foot on campus three years ago, was the engineer of the win.
In the first half, for example, when Roosevelt secured control of the game in the second quarter with a 10-0 run to take a 28-19 lead, Roberts came out of a timeout and immediately nailed a three-pointer, then came up with steals on two of the next three possessions. Coolidge was able to come up with stops on three consecutive possessions after that, and Roberts added five more points on two straight possessions late in the first half to give his team a 32-30 lead — and the game never got away from the Colts after that point.
“In the playoffs he really just took us to another level,” Jones said.
Roberts also came up with a steal late on a Roosevelt fast-break, which led to a Kadiri layup that gave Coolidge a 52-51 lead with about four minutes remaining. Jones had said after the game that he wanted to set something up for Roberts on the final possession of the game, when the score was tied at 61, but Cooley was fouled before the half-court set and he nailed the game-winning free throw.
Coolidge is the fourth seed in the inagural DCSAA tournament, and will meet Perry Street Prep on Thursday night. Should the Colts win that game, and Roosevelt beat eight-seed National Collegiate, the two schools would meet for a fourth time this season on Saturday at Trinity University.
Roberts, who Jones said is being recruited by Hawaii, Delaware State, Maryland Eastern Shore and Florida Gulf Coast, among others, finished with 12 points on Monday night — in what was likely one of his more complete performances of the season.
“His best game ever as a Coolidge player,” Jones said. “Honestly, he was the difference for us the last two years…he showed what it was to be a championship guard. He’s done it the last two years.”