For three quarters, Saturday’s Virginia AAA Northern Region final looked like anything but W.T. Woodson’s best effort. The Cavaliers trailed by 22 points with 1 minute 5 seconds remaining in the third quarter and Wakefield’s Khory Moore (37 points) had just hit his sixth three-pointer. Then came the pre-fourth quarter huddle, featuring a hodgepodge of emotions that conjured up what was necessary to pull out an eventual 75-70 overtime victory.
While tournament most valuable player Peter Murray loudly reminded his teammates that the game wasn’t over, Woodson Coach Doug Craig did his best to keep his team focused and on an even keel.
“We couldn’t throw it in the ocean there at one point,” Craig said. “I just tried to keep them as calm as possible and once Damian (Bell) hit that three to start the fourth quarter, it got us going. After we got on a roll, I was just trying not to screw it up.”
“We still believed we could win and it took a lot of energy for us to get back in it, but we stayed confident,” said senior Alex Boock, who finished with 19 points.
Afterward, with the comeback still surreal and celebration over its first outright region title still raging, longtime former Woodson Coach Red Jenkins told the Cavaliers that they had just pulled off “the greatest win in school history,” sending chills of pride through the players and coaches.
“With 19 district title banners up at our school, there’s been something missing with that region banner not being up there, so this is special,” Craig said. “We’ll enjoy this for a bit and then get back to work for state, where we can hopefully make some more history.”
The last time Woodson qualified for the state tournament was 1966, when there was no region tournament and Jenkins’s team joined Edison and Washington-Lee as region co-champs in representing the area. This year’s Cavaliers begin their state tournament journey in a Friday quarterfinal when they face Northwest Region runner-up Battlefield at 8:30 p.m. at Robinson.