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Cardozo wins DCIAA, drops City Title bid
(Published March 7, 2005)

Special to The Common Denominator

The Cardozo Clerks won their second consecutive DCIAA boys varsity basketball championship Feb. 27 with a 53-42 victory over Northwest Washington rival Roosevelt, but dropped their bid for a second consecutive City Title to the DeMatha Stags.

At the buzzer on March 6, Cardozo came up on the short end of an 84-58 victory for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion Stags in a game played just before press time at Coolidge Senior High School.

The Clerks didn't have an easy time becoming the victors in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship before a nearly packed gym at Coolidge. Head Coach Henry Lindsey saw his team finish the season with a record of 21-5 overall, while the Roosevelt Rough Riders. cOached by Jenkins Dormu, finished at 16-10 overall.

Roosevelt, second-seeded from the West, led Cardozo, top-seeded from the West, 21-17 at halftime.

"We had Cardozo pretty well contained in the first half. We executed like we were supposed to," said Roosevelt Coach Dormu.

"We just weren't playing our best in the first half," said Cardozo standout junior guard Lester Williams.

The Clerks tied the contest, 21-21, on a bucket off the glass by junior guard Antonio Cooper (6:29 remaining third quarter).

"Antonio did a good job of taking control of the offense in the second half," said Coach Lindsey.

Two minutes later, Rough Riders junior post Jeffrey Owens drew a foul and converted two free throws to give Roosevelt their final lead of the contest, 25-24 (4:20 remaining third quarter). Seconds later, Cardozo junior forward Jared Wells' "trey" gave the Clerks a 27-25 lead and Coach Lindsey's team never looked back.

Stated Wells: "Coach told us at halftime that we needed to go out there and play our hearts out."

"Jared did a very good job giving us a spark off of the bench tonight," said Lindsey. "Our kids became more aggressive defensively and more patient offensively after halftime."

At the conclusion of the third quarter, Cardozo led 35-28, having outscored Roosevelt 18-7 in the decisive third stanza.

"We kind of fell apart late in the third quarter," said Coach Dormu.

The Clerks increased their fourth quarter margin to as much as 39-28 following another bucket by Wells; 41-30, following a long jumper by senior forward Yusef Kendall; 43-30, following a layup by junior post
Makei Slaughter-Thomas; 45-32, following another layup by Slaughter-Thomas; 47-32, following a short jumper by junior guard Antonio Cooper; 49-38, following two free throws by junior guard Lester Williams; 51-38, following a layup by Cooper; and finally 53-42, following two free throws by Cooper to cap the game's scoring.

"Makei (Slaughter-Thomas) had a very good game. He got real aggressive and he also rebounded well for us tonight. Lester (Williams) has been playing well for us all season. I didn't know that we were going to get back to the championship game this season, but I knew that we had the potential to get back here this season," said a pleased Coach Lindsey, assisted by: Hanif Hill and Henry Plater.

Roosevelt's coach expressed disappointment, as did his team, after the loss.

"It was very disappointing to lose this championship game. Their 'guard play' was a little bit stronger than our guard play was," said Coach Dormu, assisted by: Nathaniel Pondexter and Rutheven Williams.

SPEARHEADING CARDOZO OFFENSIVELY: Slaughter-Thomas (16 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks); Wells (11, eight rebounds - in only 16 minutes of action); Williams (11, four assists, two steals); Cooper (eight, four assists, four steals); senior forward Darius Day (five points); Kendall (two points); seniors Maurice Carey and DeAngelo Smith as well as sophomore Abouy Nougth - played, but did not score.

"This win is the best thing that has ever happened to me," said Wells.

Stated Kendall: "This win is big not just for the players and coaches, but for the entire Cardozo community."

PACING ROOSEVELT OFFENSIVELY: Owens (19 points, 12 rebounds); junior guard Charles Wallace (12, five rebounds, three steals, two assists); junior forward Todd Green (five, seven rebounds, two steals); junior
forward Keenan Smith (four, four rebounds); freshman guard Roderick Harris (two, three rebounds); sophomore guard Gerald Marshall (two points); senior Tony Watson as well as juniors Carl West and Farrell
Chatwell - played, but did not score.

"This runner-up trophy doesn't mean anything. We had the chance to win this championship two years in a row and we didn't get it done. This hurts," said standout Jeffrey Owens.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator