WASHINGTON – Almost a month ago, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders walked onto Coolidge’s home floor and handed the Colts their first league loss.
On Friday, Coolidge returned the favor, as junior guard Khalen Cumberlander scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Colts to a 60-56 overtime road victory over the Rough Riders in a D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association clash.
With the win, the Colts (14-8 overall and 10-1 in the DCIAA) ruined the Rough Riders’ unblemished league mark and kept them from clinching the outright DCIAA West title. Roosevelt (21-3, 9-1) also saw its 15-game winning streak come to an end.
“This is a big, big win,” Cumberlander said, “because it puts us on top of the West, and right now nobody’s in our way and no one can stop us.”
Cumberlander, a 6-foot-3, 165-pounder who plays his AAU ball for Virginia Assault, scored 17 of his points in the second half.
“They box-and-oned him for probably about two quarters,” Coolidge coach Vaughn Jones said, “and I just told him don’t get frustrated. The way you beat a box-and one is you offensive rebound, and he had a couple of put-backs to get himself going, and then he kind of caught fire. He cooled off a little bit and caught some cramps at the end of the game, but this kid is, in my opinion, probably if not the best player in our league then one of the best players in our league, for sure.”
Senior forward Juwann Watkins added 13 points for the Colts, while junior guard Charles McDaniel added 10.
Roosevelt senior guard Ezell Starks led the Rough Riders with 21 points, while freshman guard Jarrell Allen scored 10.
“We’re in sole possession of second place in the West,” Roosevelt coach Rob Nickens said. “We’ll probably end up being on the same side [of the bracket] as Springarn, who’s the No. 1 seed in the East. We played them earlier this year and beat them. I mean, like I told my players, it gets us ready for the tournament. … We’ll be back and we’ll be fine, trust me.”
The two teams played a tight one in their first meeting as well, with Roosevelt picking up a 59-57 victory at Coolidge on Jan. 18. The Colts surrendered a lead in the loss.
“I think tonight we rebounded a lot better,” Jones said. “[DeVaughn] Jones really hurt us last time, and we kind of kept him off the boards to a degree, but that was the difference. They killed us on the offensive rebounds the last time we played them.”
On Friday, Coolidge jumped out to a 12-7 lead after the first quarter, and went ahead 19-14 in the second before Roosevelt closed the half on an 11-0 run to take a 25-19 lead at the break.
The Colts stormed back behind Cumberlander to regain the lead in the third quarter, but Roosevelt rallied to take a 39-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
With just over five and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Cumberlander hit a turnaround jumper to give Coolidge a one-point lead, and the Colts stayed in front until Starks drained a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go to put the Rough Riders up, 49-48. After Cumberlander was fouled with 20.4 seconds to go, he missed the first foul shot but made the second to tie the game.
Roosevelt had an opportunity to take the lead with the game still tied at 49-49 with 16.7 seconds remaining, but Antone James missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Coolidge’s Charles McDaniel opened the overtime with a 3-pointer from in front of his team’s bench, but Roosevelt scored the next four point to take a one-point lead with three minutes to go. Watkins hit a pair of free throws with 2:32 remaining to put the Colts back ahead by one, and they never relinquished the lead. Roosevelt had several good looks at the basket, but scored just five points in the final three minutes and suffered through a two-minute scoreless drought.
“Coolidge did an outstanding job on the defensive end of the floor tonight with collapsing the wing and keeping us from driving the basketball,” Nickens said. “It’s something we’ve been able to do all year, and my thing is, we shot it bad – normally we make the shots that we took tonight, but we just didn’t make them. That’s a part of the game of basketball, and when you’re on a 15-game winning streak, one of those nights it’s just not going to go in. We’ve been able to win games with defense, but tonight, it just didn’t happen.”
Cumberlander 23, Watkins 13, McDaniel 10, Smith 7, Roberts 5, Gantt 1, Warner 1.
Starks 21, Allen 10, Gallman 6, James 6, Tanner 6, Jones 2.
Coolidge 12 7 17 13 11 – 60
Roosevelt 7 18 14 1 7 – 56
3-Point Goals— C 3 (Roberts 2, McDaniel 1), R 2 (Allen 2). Totals Fouls – C 18, R 20. Fouled Out— C (McDaniel), R (Gallman).