After the one-sided foul calls early, the countless shot clock malfunctions, the two arguing head coaches who needed to be separated by security, the disqualification of a star player on fouls and the double-digit second-half lead changes, the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association boys’ basketball regular season title came down to two free throws Thursday night.
H.D. Woodson sophomore Kiyon Boyd stepped to the free throw line with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Warriors trailing by one point. His first thought was to keep calm in the midst of what he would later call “definitely the most emotional game of the year.” But then he looked over to the bench at reigning DCIAA player of the year Antwan Walker, relegated to the sideline for the final two minutes of action, and remembered what the Warriors always say: “At H.D., we all we got.”
The first foul shot hit the front rim and bounced through the net. The second was a swish and allowed No. 3 H.D. Woodson to escape with a 78-77 win over No. 16 Theodore Roosevelt in Northwest Washington.
Boyd finished with a game-high 28 points, and his timely baskets helped keep Woodson’s undefeated record intact. The last city public school to go an entire season without a loss in boys’ basketball is believed to be Spingarn in 1985.
“We stick together. That’s how we keep winning,” said Boyd, who also hit game-winning free throws in the closing seconds when Woodson (27-0, 13-0 DCIAA) beat St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes in December. “People ask how we do it. We stick together.”
But the Warriors got a scare from Roosevelt (24-3, 11-1) in front of a capacity crowd eager to see two teams that hadn’t suffered a loss in DCIAA play face off. The game was marred by controversy, starting with inconsistent officiating and an inability to administer the shot clock.
Late in the third quarter, Roosevelt Coach Rob Nickens and Woodson Coach Trey Mines got into a heated exchange at the scorer’s table and the game was temporarily halted when the two needed to be separated by police.
The action on the court, however, was scintillating in the second half, with 14 lead changes over the final 11 minutes of action.
Roosevelt took the lead for the first time midway through the third quarter after falling behind 11-0 to start the contest. It looked as if the Rough Riders’ three-point prowess and pressure defense was beginning to wear down Woodson, which used just seven players.
But Walker turned it on in the final quarter, scoring six of his 20 points to kick-start a 10-0 run that gave Woodson a 74-65 lead with less than four minutes remaining.
Back came Roosevelt, though, and junior Donald Brewer (22 points) delivered the Rough Riders a 76-75 lead with one minute to go, once Walker had fouled out of the game. Woodson guard Derquan Washington tied the score with a foul shot before Roosevelt took the lead again when guard Sean Riley hit 1 of 2 at the free throw line.
Then came Boyd’s game-winning shots at the line, which came on a quick whistle in the open floor. When the second shot went in, an entire bench exhaled.
“We still undefeated,” Walker said with a smile.