St. John’s College High School’s Darian Bryant made a half-court shot at the regulation horn during Saturday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference quarterfinal playoff game against DeMatha Catholic to lift the Cadets to a 57-55 victory and a berth in the semifinals. It was the Stags’ fourth loss on a last-second shot in 27 games this winter.
“It’s amazing that it did happen,” DeMatha coach Mike Jones said. “Kids are kids. You wish you could have a do-over sometimes, but it happens.”
On Dec. 8, West Charlotte’s Trey Foster made a 3-pointer from the corner in the National High School Hoops Festival to defeat the Stags, 62-59.
Bishop McNamara and Stephan Jiggetts, a first-team All-WCAC selection and Siena College recruit, continued the trend. Jiggetts hit a 3-pointer with just a few seconds remaining to give the Mustangs a one-point edge they would hang onto, snapping McNamara’s 20-game losing streak to the Stags that dated back to 2003.
Then, on Feb. 1, Darian Anderson made a pull-up jump shot in the lane to give St. John’s a two-point win.
“A lot of times — and I’ve been trying not to do it this year — I’m sitting here and next year, I think we’re going to be pretty good,” Jones said. “I love the pieces we have.”
Amazingly, this wasn’t the worst luck Jones has had as far as last-second shots are concerned. In the 1998-99 season, his teams were defeated by Gonzaga on three occasions in the same year.
“Even the best of the best go through it,” he said. “And I’m not saying we’re the best of the best, but sometimes you have seasons like that.”
Following his sublime performance in the Capital Beltway Athletic Association’s championship game, where Riverdale Baptist beat Princeton Day, 95-89, Nigel Johnson earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player honors
“He’s been awesome. He’s just a terrific ball handler. He’s learned, during the season, as the season progressed, on how to control a game,” Riverdale Baptist coach Lou Wilson said. “The drives to the basket and drawing the fouls, going to the free throw line. He’s such an awesome free throw shooter so when he drives in there he’s double-deadly.”
Johnson, who averaged 17.9 points per game this season, including 36 in the championship game, has committed to play for George Washington University.
His 6-foot-10 teammate, Chinanu Onuaku, was named the Defensive Player of the Year and received first-team honors.
“Those blocked shots and the rebounding that he anchors for us in the defense is so, so valuable,” Wilson said. “He is so, so valuable. I know Nigel is great offensively, but Chinanu is the anchor on defense. He is spectacular.”
Princeton Day’s Aquille Carr was named the Player of the Year. National Christian’s Isaac Fleming and Friendship Collegiate’s Byron Ashe also earned first-team honors.
High Point High School girls basketball coach Janai Jackson’s first foray into postseason basket began with a 33-30 victory against Oxon Hill during Class 4A South Region play last week. It was her team’s second victory of the season. The Eagles also defeated Oxon Hill, 40-39, on Jan. 15. That playoff run ended, however, on Monday with an 85-26 loss to top-seeded Eleanor Roosevelt during quarterfinal play.
Friendly’s defense proved quite stingy during it’s 61-24 win against Thomas Stone on Monday, holding its opponent to five first-half points and 13 through three quarters of play during Class 3A South Region quarterfinal action. Chayla Lewis paced the Patriots (18-4) with 20 points and seven rebounds.
The Laurel-Suitland Class 4A South quarterfinal contest on Monday was marked with a back-and-forth action. The Spartans jumped out to a 16-5 lead after one quarter of play, only to fall behind 30-25 at halftime. Laurel then pulled away for a 71-62 win by outscoring Suitland, 27-12, in the fourth quarter behind 24 points by Autumn Beynum.
Taleah Williams paced the Rams with a game-high 27 points and 16 rebounds.
Eleanor Roosevelt and Bowie, the top two seeds in the 4A South, crept ever closer to a potential third meeting — this time in the region final — with convincing wins during quarterfinal action Monday. The Raiders cruised past High Point by 59 points and the Bulldogs defeated Parkdale, 71-30.