Theodore Roosevelt: Now D.C. Champions Across The Board

Nine days ago Theodore Roosevelt hoisted the DCIAA trophy, an accomplishment for sure; but in the second year of the DCSAA format they knew they needed to win one more trophy to be able to claim that they were the true champions of the District of Columbia.

The second tournament didn’t discriminate;  public schools would play private schools,   WCAC’s would play DCIAA’s and MAC’s and every other conference that had a team that warranted a spot in the field would have their shot.  And this tournament would have a deep pool of talent.  In fact the DCIAA champions would get a 5 seed, and have to play a first round game, unlike the top 4 seeds who received bye’s.

So after the Rough Riders defeated St. Albans, and H.D. Woodson again (as they did in the DCIAA championship), and then upended the #1 seed St. John’s, a team who was nationally ranked for much of the season, Roosevelt had earned it’s trip to play for all the marbles.  And while they weren’t playing a conference opponent, they were playing a team they had faced before.  Back on December 13th, Maret handed Roosevelt their most lopsided loss of the season, a 17 point beat down.

But that was months ago, and Roosevelt entered the second annual DCSAA championship game red hot.  They had won nine in a row and hadn’t lost a non conference game since a Martin Luther King day tournament game.

As the game unfolded Roosevelt point guard Johnnie Shuler didn’t take long to give the crowd something they would remember for a long, long time.  In the senior’s last game for Theodore Roosevelt he got his first career high school  dunk.  A monster jam, mid way through the first quarter that sent the entire Verizon Center into half shock, half frenzy.  The 5’11” point guard pounded the ball through as a Maret defender was closing in, and that set the tone for the Rough Riders.  One possession later Shuler drilled a three and the DCIAA school was on there way.

Shuler wasn’t the only star of the night.  Roosevelt sharp shooter Troy Stancil drilled four second half three pointers en route to taking home MVP honors.  Every time Maret would make a run, Stancil would respond.  Stancil would finish with a team high 15 points on 4-5 field goals, all three pointers.  Roosevelt big man Jibreel Faulkner also played a pivotal role.  Faulkner finished with seven points, five boards, and four blocks.  Anthony Whitney scored eight points and grabbed seven boards.

Jalen Barnes led all scorers with 17 points in the game.  Barnes played a superb game for Maret in a losing effort.  The multi-faceted lefty has been doing it all year, inside and out, and kept Maret in the game when it appeared Roosevelt was going to run away with it.  Drake Goddard added 11, and Steff Davis scored eight to go along with seven boards.

Perhaps the two most telling stats of the game were 3-point shooting and the turnover disparity.  Roosevelt shot 7-12 from beyond the arc while Maret shot 1-12.  And Roosevelt only committed six turnovers to Maret’s 13.

With many of Roosevelt’s key pieces graduating it won’t be easy for coach Rob Nickens to repeat, but he’s been winning on the big stage for a while now.  Until next year, high school basketball in DC is officially on hiatus.

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