RICHMONDIt was one for the record books. The T.C. Williams Titans were crowned the 2007-2008 AAA State Basketball Champions in impressive style, and in so doing won their first state title in 27 years and became the first Northern Region team to claim two State AAA titles.
The Red, White and Blue, coached by veteran Ivan Thomas, convincingly defeated Bethel Hampton 70-57 to win their first State Title since the 1976-77 season. An amazing 31 seasons had transpired since their initial title, under former head coach Mike Hynson.
With their victory, the Titans improved to 29-3 overall on the season, and 10-0 in the post-season.
In this seasons finale, played March 14 at Virginia Commonwealth Universitys Siegel Center in Richmond, the Titans bolted to a 3-0 lead and never looked back.
We were very focused mentally for this game, said coach Thomas, whos celebrating his third season at TC.
Do-everything senior guard/ forward Anthony Winbush knocked down the games opening three and TC was on their way to victory. We wanted to really play team ball tonight, Winbush said.
When senior guard Travis Berry connected from behind the arc moments after, TC extended their lead to 6-1.
With 4:10 remaining in the first quarter, Titan junior guard Edward Jenkins jumper gave TC a 10-5 advantage. We were focused and we came to play, Jernkins said.
Before the first quarter was in the proverbial books, Berry would connect on another three.
Coupled with six other points from three other Titan players, TC would take the 19-11 lead as the first quarter concluded.
In the second quarter, TC would lead by double digits on no less than 10 occasions.
Heading into intermission, the Titans were firmly in control 32-18. Senior guard/forward Javonta Campbells baseline jumper to commence the third quarter staked the Titans to a 34-18 lead.
For the duration of the third quarter, TC would knock down three additional three-pointers (Berry, Jenkins and Winbush with one apiece), and the Titans were in control 48-30 as the quarter expired. Winbushs amazing 40 foot three-point shot occurred only one second before the third quarter concluded.
The Titans led by 19 points on two fourth quarter occasions, their largest margin of the entire contest, following a baseline jumper by Berry with 4:15 remaining, and followed up by a bucket by Winbush with 3:17 remaining.
The Bethel Bruins, Allen Iversons former high school, narrowed their deficit to 64-55 with 1:07 remaining, but it was too little too late as coach Thomas cleared his bench late in the game to allow virtually every Titan player to see some time on the court.
We really played together tonight. We played hard and we played team ball. I want to thank God for this win, Thomas said. It is a real big deal to be the first Northern Region team to have won this title since March of 81.
TC, which led in the 32-minute contest from start to finish, was paced offensively by: Berry (23 five threes), Jenkins (22 – two threes, Winbush (14 – two threes), senior post/forward Joshua Jordan (six), Campbell (three) and senior post/forward Tomas Camara (two). In other words, seniors Berry and Winbush as well as junior Jenkins combined for 59 of the Titans 70 points.