H.D. Woodson boys’ basketball Coach Trey Mines sat down at the table in front of the television cameras that came to witness history and started to talk about the stories behind the fairy tale ending his team had just authored.
That No. 1 H.D. Woodson beat Friendship Collegiate, 60-47, on Sunday afternoon at George Washington’s Smith Center to win the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament and become the first city public school to finish undefeated since 1985 only scratched the surface. For the Warriors, basketball was always the easy part, and the past 72 hours only reinforced that belief.
“A lot of these kids come from public housing, not the best situations,” Mines said. “What they’ve fought through just in life . . . those are the things you don’t see and don’t realize how special this is.”
Woodson (33-0) cemented its place among the greatest teams in Washington area boys’ basketball history with one of its most impressive performances. The Warriors broke the game open with a barrage of three-pointers during a 12-0 run early in the second half that delighted the thousands of fans who trekked from Ward 7 to Foggy Bottom. Friendship Collegiate (17-10) never recovered.
Late Thursday night, just hours after the Warriors won a double-overtime thriller against Gonzaga in the DCSAA semifinals, senior Kavon Montgomery was shot in the back near his Northeast Washington home. Boyd said he got a phone call soon after the incident and “my heart dropped.”
Montgomery did not suffer serious injuries, and the Warriors dedicated the DCSAA championship game to him. He was back in the starting lineup Sunday and even scored Woodson’s first basket. D.C. Public School officials did not allow Montgomery to speak with the media after the game, but the incident provided more motivation to a team that already had plenty.
“It shows you that what we go through at home and how we have to come on the court and people doubt us and tell us we aren’t as good as we are, I don’t believe in that,” Boyd said. “We in the inner city and doing what we got to do and playing our hearts out every night.”
Indeed, as Woodson won game after game this year, there were naysayers insisting the Warriors couldn’t sustain this run and that it was merely the result of inferior competition. The players heard it all and just kept beating whoever stood in their way. Guard Derquan Washington joked after Sunday’s victory, “Do we gotta beat LeBron and them now?”
“It just [gave] us more confidence, made us go back in the lab and get better and better,” said Walker, who received a scholarship offer from Georgetown following Sunday’s game. “It made us push even harder.”
Through it all, the basketball court became a sanctuary and the pressure of being undefeated never got to them.
That, Mines concluded, was merely a reflection of what this group overcame off the floor to get here.
“Where they come from, there’s not a lot of stuff they can hold on to and be proud of going into their adulthood,” Mines said. “This is something that they’re going to remember forever. Everyone is going to remember this forever.”