Basketball team falls in 55-49 state final

Alex Cirino and Sarah Morgan

Senior Jay Young II ended his Wilson basketball career on a high note, despite the loss the team ultimately faced. Young scored 11 points throughout the night, nine of them coming off of three-point attempts. It was a night where the shots just weren’t falling through in their third consecutive appearance in the state final game. Wilson’s DCSAA championship run consequently ended with a narrow 55-49 loss to Gonzaga College High School. 

The house was packed at George Washington University’s Charles E. Smith Center as the Wilson student section was marked by a roaring sea of green. The arena’s electric atmosphere contributed to the game’s back and forth nature, with the score just 25-24 favoring Wilson at halftime. 

However, an unproductive third quarter that saw the Tigers scoring only four points opened up the game for Gonzaga as they entered the fourth quarter with complete momentum and a nine point lead.

The Eagles were led by Michigan commit Terrence Williams, who stole the show with 19 points and 12 defensive rebounds. Williams bolstered Gonzaga’s offensive game, which proved to be too much for Wilson’s roster, made up of majority sophomores and juniors. The Tigers scored a game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, which saw Darren Buchanan Jr. and Miasiah Brown end the game with 11 points along with Young. However, the strong finish was not enough to overcome Gonzaga’s lead, as the Eagles claimed their second ever DCSAA state title. 

Gonzaga received much-needed revenge over the Tigers this time around, after a 66-63 defeat in the 2018 state semi-finals, a tournament that Wilson eventually went on to win.

“Nobody believed in us this year,” said Head Coach Angelo Hernandez regarding the teams’ run in states. After losing their entire starting lineup, which featured numerous Division 1 commits, and having a roster that features only two seniors, Wilson was not projected to match the success from the team’s past two seasons.

After beating the odds, the team was seeded third going into the tournament. Their run to the finals was a tumultuous and harrowing journey, with the defeat of Sidwell Friends 42-39 in the quarterfinals, the team that handed Wilson the heartbreaking overtime loss in last year’s state final. In the semifinal, the Tigers edged out the tenth-seeded team Archbishop Carroll 47-36. 

Although the loss was upsetting, it proved that the basketball program can consistently produce rosters that can compete for the state title, regardless of age. That being said, Hernandez expects to build off the 13 returning players for next season.