SportsDramatic finale to 51st Capital Classic boys' basketball games

Dramatic finale to 51st Capital Classic boys’ basketball games

Dramatic and exciting might be the best ways to describe this year’s Capital Classic boys’ basketball games on Saturday, April 13.  Played at the Entertainment Sports Arena in Southeast Washington, the conclusions to both the preliminary and the main competition were decided with game-winning shots to determine the outcomes.

“The fans were treated to some high-level basketball,” said Ricky Goings, chief operating officer of the Capital Classic. “They got a chance to see some of the top players in the DMV area and the country perform.  It was exciting and competitive.  You can’t ask for more.  We just have to keep the momentum going.”

These games, featuring some of the top local seniors against their counterparts, are traditionally a showcase for a lot of scoring, often including blowouts and one-on-one individual performances. However, the 51st edition of the annual classic hoop fest was uniquely and excitingly different.

The preliminary game returned after a hiatus and featured the District All-Star seniors against the Suburban All-star seniors, who set the tone early in a back-and-forth affair that took two extra periods to decide. 

Then the District All-Stars’ Tony Pope of Gwynn Park, who is headed to Frostburg State, factored in his team’s last five points in the second overtime. Pope, with the assist to Tey Barbour of Patriot High School, who is headed to Harvard, scored the game-winner with two ticks on the clock.  The District Stars prevailed, 72-69.

“These players have played against each other at various times during their careers,” noted Dwayne Shackelford, the head coach at Friendship Tech Prep and designated coach of the District team.  “I am not surprised at the competitive spirit of the game.  We expected this. It is an all-star game, but the players have a lot of pride, and they still want to win and that is what you saw.”

Pope led all scorers with 18 and Barbour, who was named Game MVP, finished with 17 and 7 rebounds.

In the main attraction, the Capital All-Stars took the early lead and threatened to run away after building a 16-point lead. But the United States All-Stars found some offense and timely defense to go on a late run and erase the deficit to tie the game at 102 with 12 seconds remaining.  The Capitals had possession with the opportunity to win but missed out to set up the game-winner.

Following a timeout called by Dennis Scott, the United States All-Stars Coach and former NBA standout, the talented group looked to Paul McNeil Jr., who delivered the dagger from straight on and ended the exciting game.

The United States All-Stars, who defeated the Capital All-Stars 105-102, had five players score in double figures with MVP Thomas Sorber tallying 18 points and eight rebounds.

“It was a lot of fun out there today,” said Sorber of Archbishop Ryan in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who is headed for Georgetown.  “We have played a lot of basketball over the years and to be invited to play in the Capital Classic is like the icing on top for us.”

Despite the outcome on the scoreboard, there were no losers.  Five players on each team reached double figures. All the players in both games got the opportunity to play and scored.

Spingarn High School graduate Nate Henry, who now lives in Richmond, Virginia, was in town for another engagement and decided to take in the first game.

“I had planned to just watch the preliminary game, but it was so exciting that I canceled my previous engagement to take in the main game,” said Henry, a former juvenile probation officer and avid sports fan. 

 “I have not seen a high school game in a few years.  Not only were they exciting, but they were also competitive,” Henry continued. “Basketball has always been special in this DMV area and if you think that it is not, all you had to do was watch these two games.  It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Source: Washington Informer

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