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Spingarn wins nail-biter
Ballou still heads to playoffs on top
(Published February 21, 2005)

Special to The Common Denominator

Spingarn's boys varsity basketball squad defeated Ballou 69-65 in a fiercely played DCIAA East showdown on Feb. 15 on the Green Wave's court. Spingarn improved to 8-13 overall (7-3 DCIAA East). The Knights dropped to 13-8 overall (8-2 DCIAA East).

Both teams head into the DCIAA first-round playoffs on Feb. 23, with Ballou hosting Wilson at 7:30 p.m. and Spingarn traveling to Anacostia to play Dunbar at 7:30 p.m. Other contests on the boys' varsity schedule at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23: Eastern will try to shut down the defending DCIAA and City Title champion Cardozo Clerks on Dunbar's court and Roosevelt will host Woodson. Semifinals are scheduled for Feb. 24 at Coolidge, with the championship game to be played at 9 p.m. Feb. 25 at Coolidge.

Ballou Coach Anthony Tucker blamed "too many turnovers" for the DCIAA East leading Knights' loss in their last regular-season game.

Spingarn made the plays and we didn't. We need to work on our rebounding and our limiting our turnovers," he said.

Ballou led Spingarn 14-9 after the first quarter was in the books. Late in the second quarter, with the score knotted 28-28, Spingarn senior shooting guard Joel Bryant knocked down a trey to put the Green Wave in the driver's seat with 1:58 remaining. Bryant's three-pointer gave Spingarn a 31-28 advantage, and from that point forward the Green Wave would never surrender their lead.

We were able to make some plays tonight. Joel Bryant had a very good game," Spingarn Head Coach Damon Roberts said after the game.

The Green Wave outscored the visiting Knights 31-18 in the high-octane second quarter to take a 40-32 lead at halftime.

The guys have been working hard. There is no quit in this Spingarn team," Roberts said.

Ballou Coach Tucker said he "didn't think we were playing tough enough or smart enough in the first half."

A 5-0 run by the Knights early in the third quarter trimmed the Green Wave lead to 40-37. Ballou junior point guard William Gaynor and sophomore shooting guard Tyron Parker converted a deuce and a trey, respectively. Minutes later, however, Spingarn led 46-37, following a lay-up by junior point guard Dion BoBo. Shortly thereafter, Spingarn increased its lead to 50-39, following a put-back bucket by BoBo.

In the waning moments of the third quarter, Parker converted three treys in a span of 75 seconds to pull Ballou to within 56-51 with just 41 seconds remaining in the quarter.

As the third quarter expired, Spingarn led 58-51. Parker was not finished. The sophomore converted yet another trey - his fifth of the game - in the early stages of the fourth quarter. The two teams traded buckets for the next several minutes. Following a Spingarn turnover, Ballou junior forward Jamal Williams converted a bucket to trim the Knights' deficit to two points, 62-60, with 2:26 remaining in the game.

Bryant, via an assist from BoBo, scored to give Spingarn a 64-60 advantage with 1:57 remaining. BoBo, seconds later, drove the length of the court and scored to give the Green Wave a 66-60 lead. Ballou converted a bucket and Spingarn converted one of two free throws, which gave the Green Wave a 67-62 advantage. Ballou junior guard Dante Durant knocked down a trey to trim the Spingarn margin to 67-65 with 40 seconds remaining.

The Knights would get no closer. Ballou's ensuing shot was a trey attempt that missed everything. BoBo converted two of two free throws with about 2 seconds remaining to give Spingarn its final margin of 69-65.

Dion BoBo had a very good game. … Those were some big free throws that BoBo hit right there," Coach Roberts said.

Another trey attempt by Ballou as the horn sounded was also no good, as the Green Wave upended the DCIAA East leading Knights.

We needed to make better decisions tonight and we needed to rebound better," said a disappointed Durant.

BoBo said that he "told the guys that we were not going to lose this game tonight. We kept our composure and we stayed focused. We've been practicing hard - we've been coming together like a family."

After the game, Coach Roberts offered his congratulations to Ballou for winning the DCIAA East. "They've got a good team," he said.

SPEARHEADING SPINGARN OFFENSIVELY: junior forward Julius Crumlin (15 points), Bryant (14), BoBo (13), sophomore forward Kyrie Coleman (nine), sophomore post William Conner (four, eight rebounds), senior James Davis (four), senior Marcus Barr (two), senior Ed Chase (two), senior Tom Hughes (two), junior Robert Reeder (two) and sophomore Ervin Woodard (two).

SPEARHEADING BALLOU OFFENSIVELY: Parker (19 - game high five treys), Durant (15), Williams (13), junior Anthony Bradley (nine), senior post DeWayne Childs (four, eight rebounds), sophomore Kalais Hunt (three) and Gaynor (two).

NOTES: Spingarn has defeated Anacostia three times this season (including a Christmas tournament). In addition, the Green Wave has defeated DCIAA East foe School Without Walls twice and has also defeated DCIAA East foes Ballou, Woodson and Eastern. Ballou has defeated DCIAA East foes Woodson, Eastern and School Without Walls twice each, and Spingarn and Anacostia once each.

The Knights have recorded DCIAA West wins versus Coolidge and Cardozo, among their 13 wins. "I'm very proud of this team. Nobody [but us] has believed in our kids. We've been learning from our mistakes. We want to finish this year strong and play well in the playoffs," Coach Roberts said.

Copyright © 2005 The Common Denominator