ALEXANDRIA SPORTS/David Steinbacher – Titans making long-term mark in hoops

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The T.C. Williams Boys Basketball Team have convincingly won the ’07/’08 Regional Title.

The Titans, of national/international football fame [“Remember The Titans”], are also making a name for themselves in Basketball – as they turned away Langley 66-54 in the current Northern Region Title Game.

The annual affair was played March 1 – at George Mason University.

With the win, TCW improved to 26-3 overall. (They also completed the Patriot District regular season/tournament with an overall District mark of 17-0).

“I have been very pleased with our mental focus all season long. We have kind of had a “bulls-eye” on our back all season long” said veteran Titans head coach Ivan Thomas. (Thomas also led TCW to the ’06/’07 Northern Region Title).

Langley, of the Liberty District, took early leads of: 2-0, 5-4, 8-6.

(The Saxons only three leads of the entire contest !).

The game was deadlocked soon thereafter at 16 apiece (2:10 remaining first quarter).

The final tie (16-16) of the entire contest was subsequently broken shortly thereafter when TCW senior guard Travis Berry knocked down two consecutive free throws to give the “Red, White and Blue” an 18-16 advantage (1:33 remaining first).

Stated Berry – “I had to concentrate on making the free throws.” From that point in time forward, TCW would continually be in the lead for the duration of the contest.

“Offensively tonight, we wanted to get the ball down into the post.

Defensively tonight, we wanted to play “straight up” man defense” said Titan senior post/forward Joshua Jordan.

The Titans led 20-16 after the first quarter was in the books and also led 37-24 at intermission.

Titan senior guard/forward Anthony Winbush had already tallied 18 points as the second quarter concluded.

“We were a little bit shaky to start the contest, but we really got things together in the second quarter” said Jordan.

In the third eight-minute frame, TCW led by “double digits” on 15 seperate occasions, and led by 52-35 as the quarter concluded.

Langley made a charge in the final quarter, but it was too little too late.

The Saxons closed to within 59-50, 59-52, 61-52, 61-53, 61-54 and 62-54 – as the clock was winding down.

Two consecutive free throws by TCW junior guard Edward Jenkins propelled the Titans to a 64-54 lead (:25 remaining fourth).

The Titans closed the contest out with a convincing “slam” by Winbush for the final margin of 66-54.

“Give the kids a lot of credit. They were very focused tonight” said coach Thomas.

The City of Alexandria Titans were paced by: Winbush (24 points – including one trey), Edward Jenkins (13), Travis Berry (11 – including one trey), senior post/forward Joshua Jordan (eight), senior forward Tomas Camara (eight) and sophomore forward Ryan Yates (two).

“It is really, really big to have won this Region Title. Some people had picked us something like fifth in the Patriot District before the season began. Our coaching staff is excellent and they are very dedicated” said Jordan.

From behind the arc, Langley knocked down three treys – whereas the Titans only knocked down two treys – in a rather meaningless stat.

Nine other Titans played/didn’t play to various degrees, even though they did not score (Dominique Copeland, Earl Via, Marcus Via  – the three are football/basketball players; as well as “basketball only” players:

Javonta Campbell, Ricky Colbert, Benjamin Dickinson, Joe Moses, Gavin Peterson and Jordin Taylor).

Three Titans made the All-Tournament team: Travis Berry, Edward Jenkins and Tournament “MVP” Anthony Winbush.

The March 1 Title is the Titans second consecutive Northern Region Title.
One year earlier, the Titans under Ivan Thomas’s leadership, defeated Wakefield of the National District 75-65, for the title.

“Both last years title game and this years title game were very intense.

We had to play very hard in both” said a pleased Jordan.

Almost every bit as noteworthy as the Title itself, was the fact that the Titan student body received the “Sportsmanship Award” as the most “well-behaved” student body attending the semi-finals/finals. (TCW edged out Langley, Madison and Lake Braddock).

TCW second-year principal Dr. Mel Riddile commented regarding the “Sportsmanship Award” – “Give athletic director Kerry Donley a lot of credit for this award. He has really worked hard with all of the kids.”

(The Titans also won the “Sportsmanship Award” one season earlier as well).

In the Northern Region semi-finals (February 29 – also at GMU), Langley outscored Madison 46-38 and T.C. Williams outscored Lake Braddock 50-37.

(Both Langley and TCW were “number one seeds” out of the Liberty and the Patriot Districts respectively; whereas Madison and Lake Braddock were “number four seeds” out of the Liberty and the Patriot Districts respectively).

(Both the National District and the Concorde District were denied appearances in the “final four” due to respective losses in the “round of 16” and/or the quarter-finals).

In the Titans semi-final contest, the “Red, White and Blue” bolted to leads of 12-6, 20-11 and 31-24 after the first three quarters respectively, enroute to the convincing 13-point win.

Lake Braddock, coached by Brain Metress, merely led on one occasion in the entire contest (1-0 very early on).

Versus the Bruins, the Titans were paced by: Jenkins (18), Winbush (12),Berry (10) and Jordan (10).

Three other “Alexandria Area” Boys teams qualified for the 16-team tournament this season. Edison (National District) was defeated in the “round of 16”. Both West Potomac (Patriot District) and Mount Vernon (National District) were defeated in the quarter-finals.

In the upcoming Virginia AAA State Playoffs, TCW will host either Bethel or Kings Fork (of the Tidewater area/Eastern District “Runner-up”) – March 8 – 4 p.m. – at Robinson Secondary H.S. (Fairfax).

TITAN TRIVIA: The TCW Titans won their lone AAA Boys State Basketball Championship during the ’76/’77 season – 31 seasons ago.

*Can I name the “starting five” on that State Championship Team ??

(answer will be provided next week).

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