By ANDREW FEATHER
WALDORF, MD - St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes had no answer for H.D. Woodson star Antwan Walker, who lit up the scoreboard as he led the Warriors to a 56-52 win in the DMV Tip-Off Classic on Saturday afternoon.
Walker led all scorers with 26 points, including a dunk on a slightly off-target alley-oop pass where the 6-foot-7 wing caught the ball one-handed, arm outstretched behind his body, and slammed it home in emphatic fashion.
“It’s not about individual performances,” Walker said. “But I know I’m a big part of this team and I’m glad I could help us get the win.”
It was symbolic of a night where even as his teammates struggled, Walker could seemingly do no wrong. He was a bastion of efficiency, scoring nearly half of his team’s points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field, and made a significant impact on the defensive end with seven blocks.
Outside of Walker, the Warriors shot just 10-of-30 (33.3 percent) from the field.
“We were struggling and he just kept picking us up,” Woodson’s Kiyon Boyd said about Walker.
Woodson, led by Walker, came out on fire, jumping out to an early 12-2 lead and giving the impression that it would be in the driver’s seat for the entire game. But SSSA came storming back, scoring eight of the final 10 points of the first quarter to pull Woodson’s lead to 14-10.
Woodson opened up the second quarter on another tear, scoring nine of the first 11 points, but once again SSSA bounced back. The Saints went on an 8-2 run to cut the Warriors lead to 25-22 with 30 seconds to go in the first half. Clent McCoy drained two free throws for Woodson with 18.5 seconds to go in the half and Kavon Montgomery blocked Donovann Toatley’s layup at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 27-22 lead at the half.
SSSA came out of the half firing on all cylinders, going on a 10-0 run to start the second half and grab a 32-27 lead, but Woodson bounced back to pull the Saints’ lead to one with just under four minutes to go in the third quarter.
The contest stayed even the rest of the way with neither team pulling ahead by more six points at any time, and following a layup by the Saints’ Chauncey Pittman, the game was knotted up at 51 apiece with 1:57 remaining.
Coming out of a timeout, Boyd drained a 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead for good and helped them to improve to 11-0 on the season.
“We wouldn’t win these kind of games,” Woodson Coach Trey Mines said. “But we’re finding our way and this team keeps finding a way to keep winning.”
Junior guard Denmark Slay led the Saints with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and added four steals on the defensive end. Toatley added 11 points and four steals in the loss.