In what has been an up-and-down season for South Lakes, the Seahawks are heating up at the right time.
The program has won seven straight and also won their second consecutive Liberty District championship, scoring a season-high point total in an 85-44 win over Washington-Lee.
“I’m still a little bit in shock, but I felt confident that we would win,” Coach Andrew Duggan.
Senior guard Cameron Savage had a game-best 27 points, and junior guard Joseph Dagbe added 16.
Savage is averaging 19 points and Dagbe 10 to lead South Lakes (17-7), which will play either Chantilly or Battlefield on Wednesday in the Class 6 Region D tournament.
“Cam has the athleticism and ability to get the right shot off at the right time and is able to knock down that basket that’s needed,” Duggan said. “Joseph’s more of a defensive player.”
The Seahawks had been inconsistent to start the year, finding offense one game but struggling the next. However, thanks in part to Savage and Dagbe, South Lakes is averaging more than 60 points during its win streak.
The duo’s passing, enthusiasm and speed make them one of the region’s most competitive pairs.
“It’s like Batman and Robin,” Duggan said. “Some of it’s how they work together, and their actions speak louder than words … having two kids like that who are quick ballhandlers and decision-makers who are willing to sacrifice a little bit, they get us going like that.”
Savage will graduate in June and play Division II basketball with Barton College (N.C.), and Dagbe will need to fill his void.
“Joe is pretty self-driven off the floor and on,” Duggan said. “He wants to be great, and just like Cam, he puts in the work in the weight room to try to get better.”
— Sammi Silber
After a season of dramatic conference play, Paul VI prepares for wild WCAC playoffs
If you want to get a sense how exciting and close the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs have the potential to be this year, look no further than the Paul VI Panthers.
Paul VI enters the playoffs after a roller-coaster regular season in which it had results of three points or fewer against all four of the other top five teams in the WCAC. That’s just the way the conference has been this season.
“Those kind of games, win or lose, are just so much fun to be a part of,” Coach Glenn Farello said. “You can test yourself and find out about yourself.”
The Panthers have shown poise and patience in most of those games, winning three of the four. Farello credits the team’s nonconference schedule in December for helping them get ready for the challenges of WCAC play.
“With the challenges we’ve had this year, it’s been fun to watch this team fight for each other,” Farello said.
The Panthers’ 28-game home conference win streak ended in early February with a loss to DeMatha, but overall it was another successful run for the program. After beating St. John’s on Sunday to end the regular season, players that have been in the program the last three seasons, such as junior guard Josiah Freeman, have won more than 50 WCAC games.
Farello said fans should buckle up for more conference fireworks in the postseason, which begins Saturday with the quarterfinals at Gallaudet University.
“I would encourage people to come out for a day of great basketball,” he said. “There’s just nothing like it.”
— Michael Errigo
Theodore Roosevelt returns to DCIAA championship game
Theodore Roosevelt has been a top D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association contender the past decade, but the Roughriders didn’t resemble one during this year’s regular season. Theodore Roosevelt finished as the league’s third-worst team and was expected to miss its first DCIAA title game appearance in four years.
But Coach Rob Nickens prepared his squad for another postseason run, as the Roughriders pulled off upset victories against H.D. Woodson and McKinley Tech to reach their eighth DCIAA championship game in nine years. Theodore Roosevelt, however, fell to Wilson in the final for the third straight year Sunday.
“The parity in our league changes every year,” Nickens said. “Wilson had their run. Ballou had their run. The one consistent thing that’s been there since 2000 to now has been Theodore Roosevelt.”
Theodore Roosevelt finished the regular season 17-13 after losing its top three scorers from last year.
On Tuesday, guard Jibril Muhammad sank two free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining against H.D. Woodson to send the game into overtime. The Roughriders won, 85-76, in double overtime.
On Saturday, Theodore Roosevelt knocked off second-seed McKinley Tech, which dropped one regular season DCIAA game.
“When you’ve had success like that,” Nickens said, “they expect you to be there.”
— Kyle Melnick
Great Mills goes for second straight SMAC title
For the second consecutive year, Great Mills will compete for the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference title. The Hornets won their first conference title in 11 years last season after beating St. Charles. This year, they locked up the Chesapeake Division thanks to a 14-game winning streak after a 2-3 start and will face the winner of the Potomac Division Feb. 27 for the conference crown.
“We’ll be up for the challenge like we were last year to play any team,” Coach Jeff Burrell said. “You play the game the proper way and there’s a good chance to win it.”
Led by Max Brooks, who’s averaging a double-double with more than 12 points and 12 rebounds per game, the Hornets have not lost since Dec. 19. Troy Herbert and Isiah Mills are also averaging double figures.
Burrell said the team wanted to prove that last year’s reign wasn’t a fluke.
“Our guys took on the challenge of making their own mark. Last year our team made history and our community came together. This year, they got their chance to make a run,” Burrell said. “We got to rely on every single piece for our team to be successful.”
— David J. Kim
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