Friendship Collegiate’s big lead had disappeared, its big man was stuck on the bench and a crazy season looked headed for another crazy finish. But amid the chaos stood All-Met Alani Moore, and much like he has done throughout a season that began with forfeits and residency investigations, the point guard came to the rescue when the Knights needed him most.
Moore’s fantastic fourth quarter spurred Friendship Collegiate to a 65-60 win over IDEA in Saturday’s D.C. Public Charter School Athletic Association boys’ basketball championship game at Trinity University in Northeast Washington. He scored 13 of his 27 points in the final eight minutes, helping the Knights avoid a massive collapse.
On the heels of a commanding first-half performance, Friendship Collegiate (12-9) took a 19-point lead into halftime as its length on defense forced the Timberwolves into an extended scoring drought.
But the defending PCSAA champions came to life in the second half behind junior Stefon Fisher (24 points) and began to chip away at the deficit. A floater off a pretty spin move by senior Justin Milstead gave IDEA (21-14) its first lead midway through the fourth quarter, once 6-foot-9 Friendship Collegiate senior LeAndre Thomas fouled out.
Moore, though, answered immediately with a three-pointer. When IDEA drew even at 53 a few seconds later, he then found senior Ike Okwara in the corner for another three-pointer.
The Knights didn’t surrender the lead again, and Moore made sure of it. The Temple recruit and PCSAA player of the year sprinted downcourt for three acrobatic coast-to-coast lay-ins in a row that sealed the victory.
“I took it into my hands as the leader, and I just put it on my back,” Moore said.
The Friendship Collegiate girls’ basketball team has dominated the PCSAA for so long now, its 54-36 win over Washington Latin in Saturday’s title game seemed almost like a formality. The Knights have won eight consecutive conference titles, but they have bigger goals in mind.
Junior Henayah Moton said the team has “been in the gym constantly shooting, trying to prepare for states,” and the extra practice showed against the overmatched Lions. Friendship Collegiate (18-5) raced out to a 16-2 lead and never looked back.
Senior Kieche White finished with 12 points, while Moton and forward Shantel Cheeks each added 10 points. Sophomore Niyjah Wright, who shared PCSAA player of the year honors with White, led Washington Latin (19-3) with a game-high 17 points. The Knights face H.D. Woodson on Monday to start the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament.
“We worked hard to get here. We kept playing as a team, and we did it together,” White said. “We not losing. That’s all I’m saying.”