BY: BEN GUTMAN, STAFF WRITER
Photo by Joey Keegan
The Tigers came into their most challenging home game of the season thus far with the enthusiasm of a team that is in desperate need of a big win. On January 17, Wilson (9-7 overall, 5-3 in conference play) came head to head with league rival and heavily favored Theodore Roosevelt (12-4, 6-0). Roosevelt started the game with an early lead, but Wilson slowly cut down the Rough Riders’ momentum thanks to the physical offensive put-backs and post play from center Aaron Slaughter and forward William Thompson.
Trailing 29-24 at half-time, Wilson entered the 3rd quarter with intense defense and lights out three-point shooting from senior and leading scorer Dimone Long II. Unfortunately, midway through the 3rd quarter, there was a commotion under the bleachers in the far corner of the gym, and a fight broke out between a few fans. Administrators and security guards attempted to keep the crowd calm, but curious fans were anxious to know what had happened and rushed over to scene. No players were involved and eventually the bedlam was extinguished after a 15-20 minute break to sort out the chaos.
When play finally resumed, Wilson proved to have benefited from the rest. With the help and encouragement of the energetic Wilson student section, the Tigers managed to gain a two-point advantage entering the final quarter of play.
The 12th-ranked Rough Riders succeeded in converting Wilson turnovers into easy buckets early in the 4th quarter and soon built a small single-digit lead with time running out. However, the Tigers proceeded to steal the ball on multiple Roosevelt inbound passes with a suffocating full-court press. Just at the point when it seemed like the tide could be turning in Wilson’s favor, Roosevelt closed out the game with timely free throws and a big three-pointer from senior Jarell Allen.
Wilson’s 68-60 loss is one of several recent losses to local powerhouse teams, which included Dematha and Anacostia. However, Wilson has shown perseverance and determination with key wins over Eastern, National Collegiate, Washington Metro, and Bell.