D.J. Harvey’s steps are so large, the DeMatha forward can practically reach from one end of the floor to the other with a pair of dribbles. It’s with that speed that he devours the open court before him, then gathers the ball near the free throw line and throws down a dunk fit for the ACC, home of his college destination, Notre Dame.
In the 44th annual Capital Classic on Saturday at Verizon Center, the game was open and free flowing and full of dunks.
A team made up of some of the country’s best high school players, the U.S. all-stars, defeated the best of Maryland, Virginia and the District, the Capital all-stars, 113-101.
That said, the score was irrelevant. Event organizers gave MVP trophies to a player from each team. In the middle of the game, the U.S. team’s Isaiah “Jelly” Washington, of the Bronx, N.Y., waved off his teammates on offense so he and Cesar Chavez guard Keleaf Tate of the Capital team could play one-on-one in the open floor.
“It was a great competition,” Tate said. “You just man up and try to stop him. But for real, no one can stop Jelly.”
The sequence was all part of a 16-2 run for the U.S. team to open the second half. Not that anyone was counting because after Washington’s pair of scoop-shot layups, even Capital players gave him high-fives.
“I had to give the crowd a little taste of New York,” Washington said. “That’s what we do. You have fun and try to embarrass your defender.”
If that’s what they do in New York, count the District as the land of dunks and sure-
handed ambling forwards.
Harvey’s dunk cued a scoring spurt from the Capital team, including a putback jam from O’Connell forward and Providence commit Nate Watson. Maret center and Iowa commit Luka Garza had three straight layups late to cut the U.S. team’s lead to six points.
For a moment, that made the score relevant, and the Capital team applied some full-court pressure to claw back into a lead with three minutes to play.
Then fans started chanting, “We want Jelly! We want Jelly!” During a timeout, players snagged free T-shirts from ballboys and threw them to fans themselves. The U.S. team ran away with a 12-point win after some highlight-worthy dunks in garbage time.
Nobody cares, Tate said. “It was great to compete against the best players from all these different cities.”
And the players may well see each other again in a mad college basketball March.
W.T. Woodson guard and Christopher Newport signee Jason Aigner led all scorers with 16 points in the early game between local players, but his Suburban all-stars fell, 97-87, to the District all-stars.
The Suburban team cut a 20-point second-half deficit to five in the fourth quarter. But Virginia Academy guard and Fairleigh Dickinson recruit Jah’lil Jenkins hit a corner three-pointer to solidify the District’s margin. Magruder forward Bryan Boehlert added 10 points for the Suburban team, and Theodore Roosevelt forward Donald Brewer scored 10 for the District.