Titans unseat Lancers in district tournament game


A year ago the once mighty T.C. Williams Titans were headed into the locker room, heads low after losing to rival Annandale in the opening round of the Patriot District tournament. 
Flash forward to a season where T.C. looked to restore some of the luster of years past and return to their winning ways. They got one step closer by unseating the last place Lee Lancers in a 64-20 rout in the Garden Tuesday night to open the postseason. 
Just don’t mention the blowout around coach Julian King. Despite an unwavering lead from the first whistle to the final buzzer, he was less than impressed with the Titans prowess on the court. 
I just want to see the kids put together four full quarters, he said. That wasn’t their full potential.
At times, the Titans did struggle. They missed shots, gave up easy turnovers and were quick to see fouls called against them. A noticeable smaller, lankier Lancer squad stayed competitive despite the lopsided score, particularly in the first half. 
The patient tempo of Lee’s offense temporarily confused their T.C. opponents, said senior forward Jamal Pullen. 
We weren’t used to them playing like that so it was tough, Pullen, who earned the Titans’ first eight points of the matchup by himself. We’re used to them going on fast breaks. We just had to adjust.
The last time the two teams met, less than a week before their postseason matchup, the Titans walked away with a 93-35 win. 
[King] just told us to play harder, Pullen said, recalling the coach’s halftime pep talk.
The Titans’ skipper had some tough words for the team during the break despite a 24-6 halftime lead, said senior guard Tyrell Sitton.
I guess in the second half the coach got us motivated and got us to play harder, Sitton said. 
With an 18-point lead heading back onto the court with 16 minutes to play, the Titans shrugged off the lackluster start. Sporting a more rugged defense and a quicker paced offense, T.C. had a 33-6 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter. 
A couple ticks of the minute hand later, the score was 42-8. 
We were focused, King said. Instead of trying to invent new ways to score, we were focused.
By the fourth quarter King was letting his starters rest up and spreading minutes out to the rest of the bench as fans trickled from the Earl Lloyd Court. The move was less about saving the go-to guys for another game and more about giving the less experienced Titans some time on the court during the playoffs. 
They’ll need it as T.C. looks forward to another run at a regional title, King said. 
In Sitton’s estimation, the bench came through and wrapped the game up for T.C. He wasn’t surprised they’d been playing well in practice leading up to the matchup. 
Now they’ve got to get geared up for the next round of the Patriot District tournament and keep their eyes on another title. 
We just got to keep moving on, step by step, Sitton said. I told them to keep playing and we’ll get to it. We just got to be ready to play every game.
Everybody is motivated and ready for Thursday’s matchup, Pullen said. 
But King remains concerned. 
It’s up and down. You have a great game against Montrose Christian and then you come in [Tuesday night] and you have a lull in the game, he said. They need to put together four full quarters and just come ready to play.