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Boys battle for DCIAA title
(Published February 25, 2002)
By BRIAN BRADFORD
This year’s DCIAA boys’ varsity basketball title is in the air just as much as a jump ball. There is no clear-cut favorite. There is little dropoff in talent from one seed to the next.
The boys’ season has been full of close games and overtime finishes up to the end of the regular season, and the playoffs are expected to be no different.
The last two weeks of the season did little to separate contenders from pretenders as division leaders finished weak, and teams that were on the bubble of making the post-season stormed in convincingly.
The top seed in the East Division, two-time defending champion Spingarn lost its first DCIAA contest in three years to H.D. Woodson last week, closing out Spingarn’s year 11-1 against division teams. The loss sent Spingarn’s squad away more cautious that it is not invincible.
As for the victor, the win was too much to bear. The Warriors fell hard last Thursday to a struggling M.M. Washington squad.
"I think the Spingarn win went to their head," said Woodson coach Keno Wilson. "They got overconfident."
Wilson hopes that being blown away by M.M. Washing-ton, a team that will not make this year’s tournament, will put his team back on track. M.M. Washington had nothing to play for but pride, and a win or loss wouldn’t affect Woodson’s post-season seed position. The game should have been meaningless for both teams, but Woodson would lose more than the game.
Not only did the Warriors lose their season finale and enter the post-season on a sour note, they also lost one of their best players to a suspension. Senior guard Antoine Mayhand re-ceived two technical fouls against M.M. Washington and was ejected from the game. DCIAA rules mandate that any player who gets ejected from a contest cannot participate in his or her team’s next game. That sends Woodson into the first round of the playoffs minus their leader, on the road at Wilson.
"I think Spingarn will win it now," said M.M. Washington coach Mitch Credle. "We ex-posed Woodson. We stopped Mayhand and forced the rest of their team to score, and they couldn’t. Wilson is a good team and they should be able to beat Woodson without Mayhand."
Another team on the radar screen is Anacostia. A scrappy team that lacks height fought hard toward the end of the season, desperately trying to secure a post-season bid. After two close losses to Spingarn and Woodson, the Indians got their act together just in time. Eastern dropped its last two games of the season to fall two spots from third place to fifth in the East, while Anacostia ended its regular season by picking up two wins that pushed the Indians over the hump and into the post-season tournament.
2002 DCIAA Boys’ Varsity Basketball Tournament
First-round contests tip off at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26.
Cardozo at Spingarn
Anacostia at Dunbar
Ballou at Coolidge
Wilson vs. Woodson
Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator