With their leading scorer watching a live stream of the Abe Pollin City Title Game over the Internet, his top-ranked Paul VI Catholic teammates made sure there would be one more victory to celebrate Tuesday night.
The Panthers played without junior swingman Stanford Robinson, but as had been the case throughout their remarkable season, several other players delivered key contributions in a 70-64 win over No. 7 Coolidge . The four other regular starters all scored in double figures.
Guard Patrick Holloway and center Coleman Johnson scored 15 points apiece and forward Jamall Robinson added 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Panthers before 4,417 at Verizon Center. Guard Tilman Dunbar added 12 points and eight assists.
“That’s the one great thing about this group, we’ve got a lot of depth,” Paul VI Coach Glenn Farello said. “Nine different players have led us in scoring. The fact that we didn’t have Stan tonight, the kids rallied around it. We’re a family.”
Stanford Robinson was punished for breaking school rules, and Farello said Robinson was not allowed to attend the game. Robinson said in a message that he was watching the game online; seconds after the final buzzer Farello took out his cellphone and phoned him.
The victory capped a momentous season for the Panthers (35-3), who went undefeated in league play, captured their first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship and won a Virginia private schools title.
“The whole Stan thing gave us a lot of motivation,” Johnson said. “As seniors, we didn’t want to go out with a loss.”
Paul VI never trailed Tuesday, but there were a few moments when it seemed as if Coolidge (29-7) might pull off another victory to cap its own splendid season. The Colts, who previously posted thrilling victories over two of the region’s other top private schools — fourth-ranked Montrose Christian and eighth-ranked Riverdale Baptist — were making just their second appearance in the City Title Game.
And after trailing by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, Coolidge appeared on the verge of yet another milestone victory. Charles McDaniel’s three-pointer from the left corner brought the Colts within 64-62 with 1 minute 17 seconds left. However, on the ensuing possession, Johnson scored off an offensive rebound.
“That was a major play for them,” Coolidge Coach Vaughn Jones said. “One thing about our kids, they never give up. . . . We played like champions. They had to make plays to beat us. We didn’t give them the game.”
Holloway followed with a jump shot from the right side and Paul VI had regained the momentum.
More on the City Title Games: