Tigers advance to DCSAA boys basketball finals

Marco Squitieri

Wilson’s varsity boys basketball team defeated the Gonzaga Eagles in the DCSAA semi-finals 51-47 on Friday. The Tigers will take on Sidwell in the championship game Sunday. 

The intensity in the McDonough Gym could be felt before the game had even tipped off. Hundreds of Wilson students flooded the stands, bringing the energy until the final horn. Wilson got off to a commanding start in the first quarter, leading by as much as ten at one point. They were able to penetrate the Eagles’ interior defense and get easy buckets in the paint. The Eagles found their rhythm in the second quarter however, slicing the Tigers’ lead down to two points at the half. 

As the second half began, there wasn’t a student from either side not on their feet. The Tigers struggled to find their footing in the third quarter, particularly on offense. Many contested misses early in the shot clock left the Tigers and their fans frustrated, and as the Eagles began to find their footing on offense, the game was in danger of slipping from Wilson’s grasp.

Entering the fourth, the Tigers faced a seven point deficit and needed to swing momentum to achieve the comeback and punch their ticket to the finals. The suffocating defense that has been a trademark of this year’s team all year brought that swing. The Tigers tightened up, forced misses, and 

capitalized in transition to evaporate the lead Gonzaga had built. The fans began getting more and more rowdy, fueling the Tigers. DCIAA player of the year Darren Buchanan Jr. took over, delivering aggressive blocks on the defensive end and fueling the team’s offensive push forward. The Tigers entered the bonus and converted on numerous free throws as the Gonzaga offense became stagnant. 

The Tigers turned the ball in key situations late in the fourth, giving Gonzaga a chance to spoil Wilson’s  victory. Key misses at the free-throw line doomed the Eagles, however, meaning the Tigers’ magical season still has its chance for a storybook ending. As the clock hit triple zeros, DCSAA officials were unable to keep the Tiger fans off the floor despite their best efforts. The players embraced their fans in a fitting moment of euphoria after months of spectators being barred from games. 

The Tigers will look to capture the DCSAA title this Sunday against the Sidwell Quakers. The Quakers proved too much for the Tigers when they met earlier this year, defeating them 48-32. With that being said, they play the games for a reason and Wilson will enter determined and prepared.