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'March Madness' also strikes D.C. youth club champions

(Published April 8, 2002)

Special to The Common Denominator

"March Madness" took on a D.C. flavor at the Metropolitan Boys and Girls Basketball Championships.

In the most exciting of the games, the final for the 16-and-under title, Club No. 2 from New York Avenue rallied from 10 points down late in the second half to defeat Kingman Club, 56-53. Boys and Girls Club No. 10 on 14th Street NW went undefeated, with the 14-and-under team taking home championship gold. Club No. 11 from Southeast took home the 10-and-under title. The No. 4 boys from Southwest won the 12-and-under championship. All of the games were played March 6 at Club No. 14 on Benning Road NE.

No. 11 (Milwaukee Place SE), 48
No. 4 (M Street SW), 18

After leading by only 4 points at the half, No. 11 went on a 20-4 run to cruise to an easy victory and an undefeated season. No. 4 defeated No. 11 in last year's 10-and-under title game, a fact that wasn't lost on the returning players.

"We have a little something called 'turn it up,' and we turned it up," said Coach Laford Freeman. "We were the inexperienced team last season, so we had to come out and turn it up."

Christion Leach scored 16, while Donnell Thomas had 10 for the victors. Louis Bell Jr. scored 12 points in the losing effort for No. 4.

No. 10 (14th Street NW), 65
Kingman (14th and P Streets NW), 22

No. 10 opened the game with a 12-0 run and never looked back to cruise to victory over an out-manned Kingsman team. No. 10 led 28-2 early in the game before Coach Thomas Womack toned down his team's offense. Natasha Womack scored 21, while Cutrise Cannady and Daniel Richardson, who also plays football for No. 10, had 16 points apiece. The No. 10 girls will travel to Cincinnati to play in the National Police Athletic League tournament at the end of June.

No. 10 (14th Street NW), 58
No. 2 (New York Avenue), 22

No. 10 used a 12-0 and a devastating 23-0 run to beat No. 2 for the 14-and-under title to make it a clean sweep for the 14th Street Boys and Girls Club.

No. 2 (New York Avenue), 56
Kingman Boys and Girls Club, 53

With 25 points from Cedric Betton and some timely 3-point shooting, No. 2 rallied from a 10-point deficit with 3 minutes left in the game to take a 56-53 victory. Kingman was led by forward George Coe, who poured in 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the losing effort.

Kingman looked like it took control of the game with a 10-4 run to take a late 48-38 lead. Then Betton got hot and the guard found the range from outside, leading No. 2 on an 18-5 run to end the game and holding Kingman without a field goal in the final 3 minutes. No. 2 also went 5-for-12 from the free-throw line.

No. 4 (Southwest), 48
No. 2 (New York Avenue), 35

In the marquee match-up of the day it was No. 4 and its playmaker, Calvin Mainor, against No. 2's "Mr. Do-It-All," Marc Bolden. But it was No. 4's Rico Hines who made the difference. The bruising power forward had 21 points and pulled down 17 boards to lead all scorers and No. 4 to a 48-35 victory. Mainor ended with 17 points and dished out 11 assists for No. 4. He also broke No. 2's vaunted press all afternoon. Bolden tried to keep No. 2 in the ballgame with 14 points, but missed shots did them in. Anthony Sparks chipped in 12 points in the losing effort.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator