Though H.D. Woodson features a two-time league player of the year and a blossoming sophomore drawing the attention of Division I coaches, the defining characteristic of its ascension to the top of the Washington area boys’ basketball scene has been its resiliency.
As the wins piled up and the target on their backs got bigger, the pressure never seemed to bother the Warriors. Wednesday night’s D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship game was no different.
Right when it looked as if No. 1 H.D. Woodson’s undefeated season might be slipping away, senior Kavon Montgomery was in the middle of two gutsy plays that ultimately propelled the Warriors to a 68-57 win over No. 17 Theodore Roosevelt in front of a sellout crowd at the University of the District of Columbia in Northwest Washington.
With the entire crowd on its feet and Woodson’s lead down to three points with less than four minutes to play, Montgomery scored on a lay-in off a steal by senior Clenteous McCoy and then followed with a steal of his own on the next defensive possession. The forward raced down the court for another basket.
Before long, the Warriors were celebrating back-to-back DCIAA titles.
“We just fought all game,” Montgomery (19 points) said. “We didn’t get down or nothing.”
H.D. Woodson (30-0) will enter next week’s D.C. State Athletic Association tournament looking to become the first District public school team to end the season undefeated since Spingarn in 1985. But first it had to get through the Rough Riders (27-4), who it barely edged during a highly charged regular season meeting two weeks ago.
Senior Antwan Walker was again a difference maker, finishing with nine points, at least six blocks and a thunderous one-handed alley-oop jam to ignite a second-quarter run that gave the Warriors the lead for good. Five of the six Woodson players who played had at least nine points, and they never wavered.
“Today,” Walker said, “I just didn’t want anybody to score on me.”
The DCIAA girls’ championship game had already gone well for Wilson, so Coach Nadira Ricks wanted to give her starters a proper send-off from the crowd. With two minutes left in Wednesday night’s opening contest and a healthy lead, in came the reserves.
Only senior Tytilalo Green didn’t want to come out.
“The game’s not over,” she pleaded to Ricks, and who couldn’t blame her for leaving nothing to chance. The Tigers had lost in this game four years running.
But once Wilson polished off a 59-45 upset of Anacostia at UDC and celebrated its first DCIAA title since 1993, Green could laugh it all off. The Tigers had just rolled past a defending league champion that had beaten them — and the rest of the league — during the regular season.
“We were ready,” Green said. “We was on a mission to take it. We wanted to go out with a bang.”
Green scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first half when the Tigers blitzed Anacostia and built an early 18-2 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish. Senior Angelica Chacon finished with a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds), and senior Tu’Ziah Hall added 10 points.
Wilson (19-7) also bottled up Indians star Asisha Greene, who was named the DCIAA player of the year for the second season in a row, and Anacostia (18-7) never found a rhythm.
“It was unfinished business,” Chacon said. “We lost to them last year, and we wanted to get back at them.”