Coolidge Basketball is either hot or cold, and lately they've been sizzling. It started on MLK day when they beat a Phoebus team who features one of the best players in the country, Troy Williams. They are clearly a force to be reckoned with. Coolidge has now won 9 straight.
No one gave them a shot to win on Thursday night. They were playing one of the nation's best teams, Montrose Christian, who has lost 2 games in the past 2 seasons. On paper it looked like Montrose had too much size, too much experience, and too much talent for the DCIAA school. But that's why they lace em up. Montrose's Justin Anderson and Coolidge's De'Shaun Morman were magnificent on Thursday. The two lefties scored 23 and 28 (a season high for Morman) respectively. But the hero in what Capitol Hoops is calling the upset of the year, to date was Coolidge senior Khalen Cumberlander.
After Morman hit a 3-pointer to give Coolidge a two point lead with just under a minute remaining Anderson drove to the bucket and drew a foul. He calmly swished both free throws and the stage was set for host Coolidge to hold for the final shot. Montrose had 1 foul to give at this point and waited until the clock got all the way down to 5 seconds to give it. On the ensuing inbounds pass Cumberlander received the ball on the baseline and as Coolidge coach Vaughn Jones put it, "forced the action" and drew a foul with just three seconds remaining. Coolidge was now in the bonus which gave Cumberlander a 1 and 1. After a Montrose timeout Cumberlander stepped up to the line as the gym went silent and rattled in the first free throw. He swished the second and Coolidge was 3 seconds away from pulling off the monumental upset.
After another timeout Montrose forward Ishmail Wainwright inbounded the ball to mid court where Kevin Larsen caught and quickly kicked the ball to Justin Anderson on the left wing. Anderson had a clean look at a potential game winning 3-ball but his shot just rimmed out and Coolidge fans and players stormed the court. It was an incredible game from start to finish. No team ever led by more then 6 and the whole second half was a back and forth affair. De'Shaun Morman, a junior for Coolidge who Vaughn Jones calls "one of the best players in the country" showed why his coach has those feelings. He scored at will and had an arsenal of moves. His quickness advantage on the Montrose guards was obvious, and the transfer who played last year at Meadowbrook still has another full year to show off what he can do.
It would be interesting to see Coolidge play in the City Title Game. They are reminiscent of the 09 and 2010 Ballou team that featured Donte Thomas, and had multiple bigs. Mormon is a solidified superstar and Cumberlander is a superstar in his own right. 6'9'' Maurice Jeffers is polished as well. Coolidge is a very good team but getting through the DCIAA is no easy feat. It will be a fun story line to follow because a lot of hoops fans in the DMV would love to see Coolidge matchup with a DeMatha, Gonzaga, or Paul VI, especially after they've proved that they can hang with the big boys.