Wilson basketball opens their season with close win

Noam Jacobovitz

Wilson opened up their season with a marquee matchup against Rock Creek Christian (ranked #12 in preseason Washington Post rankings), led by Rhode Island commit Jermaine Harris (ranked as the #85 player in the nation according to ESPN), at the More Than Basketball: Jump Ball season tip-off at Archbishop Carroll High School.

Wilson came out firing, with Jay Heath hitting two three-pointers and Ayinde Hikim scoring in and around the paint. Wilson led 20-7 at one point during the first quarter. Rock Creek Christian chipped off the lead and eventually went on a big run in the second quarter with Jermaine Harris dominating. Harris got Josiah Marble in early foul trouble and continued to be a blistering force in the paint, getting rebound after rebound. Wilson led 30-29 at halftime after 16 first half points by Harris. Tensions arose in the second half after Coach Angelo Hernandez and the Wilson Tigers felt that the referee was not being fair, with the foul disparity between Wilson and RCCA very telling. With Wilson up 56-68 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ayinde Hikim was assessed a technical foul and RCCA scored6 points in that one possession, putting them right back in the game. Then RCCA finally tied it up at 59 all after a Harris drive with 3:28 left in the game.

Heath then hit a crucial isolation step back two, putting Wilson back in the lead. Harris came right back down, tying the game right back up. After a few empty possessions, Ayinde Hikim grabbed the rebound and throw a full-court dime to Ricky Lindo Jr., who banged the ball home. Wilson was now up 63-61 with 1:12 left in the game. This is where things got interesting; Ayinde Hikim rebounded a Jermaine Harris miss, who then proceeded to foul Hikim, his fifth and final foul, so he was done. Hikim, after a high energy game, waved him goodbye.

Hikim was assessed his second technical foul and thrown out of the game. Now with 54 seconds left, Wilson would have to hold on to their lead, but RCCA would get two free throws and the ball back. RCCA hit one free throw, but then, with all of Wilson still on the bench during a timeout, the refs put the ball down, allowing RCCA to put the ball into play. They did, and Jay Heath sprinted back, throwing his body in the way of the RCCA player and getting the foul, saving two points. Both free throws were hit, and Wilson was now down 64-63 with 48 seconds left. Domingus Stevens stepped up and hit a three-pointer with 38 seconds left. This sealed the game, as after RCCA missed their shot, Heath was fouled and hit two clutch free throws with four seconds left, putting Wilson up 68-64. After an RCCA player hit a half-court shot, time expired leaving the Tigers victorious 68-67. Ayinde Hikim (26 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds), Jay Heath (12 points and 6 rebounds), and sixth-man Domingus Stevens (13 points) led the way.