Monday, March 31, 2008

Renner Commitment

Metheny Picks U-Va.; Renner to Attend UNC
Tuesday, April 1, 2008; E02

Two of the Washington area's most highly regarded high school quarterbacks have made oral commitments to rival ACC schools.

Sherando junior Ross Metheny orally committed to the University of Virginia on Sunday afternoon during an unofficial visit to the school, and West Springfield junior Bryn Renner orally committed to the University of North Carolina during an unofficial visit last week.

Metheny passed for 2,207 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, leading the Stephens City school to the Virginia AA Division 4 championship game. He has started every game at quarterback for Sherando since his freshman season, compiling a 33-5 record.

Metheny also took unofficial visits to Connecticut, Boston College, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia Tech.

"U-Va. recruited him since he was a freshman," Sherando Coach Bill Hall said. "It just felt like a perfect fit."

Hall said Metheny, 6 feet 3 and 200 pounds, has made a full recovery after breaking his left ankle during the Division 4 championship game in December.

Renner, a 6-4 converted wide receiver, had a remarkable first season at quarterback. He threw for 2,749 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 594 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"He liked Carolina the best for a variety of reasons," said Renner's father, Bill, who also is West Springfield's football coach. "The opportunity was good, and he was the number one guy on their board for quarterback and he was the guy they wanted for that class."

Bryn Renner also had offers from Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Ohio and Delaware. Renner, a shortstop who hit .333 with three home runs and 23 RBI last spring, plans to revisit Chapel Hill this weekend to meet with the baseball coaching staff.

"He's going to get a chance to do both [baseball and football] and then we'll just see where that leads us," Bill Renner said. "It will be a one-year-at-a-time type thing, but they have had football players that have done it successfully, so they are open to that."

-- B.J. Koubaroulis and Matthew Stanmyre

Saturday, March 29, 2008

College Basketball/Augusta State

College Basketball
A Pipeline From Northern Virginia
Augusta State of Georgia Reaches Division II Title Game Loaded With Area Talent

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 29, 2008; E12

Daniel Dixon is the kind of player around whom Augusta State Coach Darren "Dip" Metress has built his program.

In high school, Dixon, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound, speedy point guard, led Marshall to the 2006 Virginia AAA state semifinals. Yet he struggled to catch the eye of college recruiters.

"The little guy [Dixon] could play, but because of his size, nobody offered him a D-I scholarship," said Red Jenkins, who coached both Metress and Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker at Fairfax's W.T. Woodson High School in the mid-1980s. "I even talked to Tommy Amaker about [Dixon], when Tommy was at Michigan."

"Dip's got a great eye for talent," said Dixon's high school coach, Kevin Weeren. "He was really the only one who was interested in Daniel."

Dixon and four other talented Northern Virginia products similarly overlooked by Division I recruiters will lead Augusta State (27-6) into the NCAA Division II championship today against Winona State (37-1) in Springfield, Mass.

Augusta State of Georgia, ranked 10th in the Division II coaches' poll, will look to end No. 3 Winona State's 31-game winning streak; the Minnesota power has set the NCAA Division II single-season record for wins. Winona State won the 2006 Division II title and lost in last year's championship game.

Augusta State is led by Georgia product Tyrekus Bowman (19.6 points per game), but "four of our top eight players are kids from Northern Virginia," Metress said.

Dixon (Marshall), Steve Smith (Edison), Demetrius Howard (Gar-Field) and Caleb Brown (Forest Park) account for 30 percent of the Jaguars' offense. Tye Beal (Wakefield) is redshirting this season.

"We are really far away from home, but we are a really tight family," said Smith, who has started 31 games this season. "Even the Georgia boys have started talking like us."

Howard is averaging 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds while Brown is the team's most accurate three-point shooter (41.9 percent) and Dixon leads the Jaguars in assists (115).

Metress "is from Northern Virginia, so I guess he kind of sees himself in us a little bit because he's played in the leagues that we've played in," Dixon said. "There's kids up there [in Northern Virginia] that work hard and he's willing to give those kids a chance."

Metress was keenly aware of the talent in the area.

"I've been a head coach for 12 years and my first year getting a head coaching job, I knew I was going to recruit the D.C. area," said Metress, 41, who used a similar Northern Virginia-centric recruiting strategy to post a 134-93 record in eight seasons at his alma mater, Division II Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.

Metress has taken Augusta State from an 11-win season in 2004 to an 85-37 record over the past four years and back-to-back NCAA Division II tournament berths.

He relies on his extensive contacts in the Northern Virginia area, such as T.C. Williams Coach Ivan Thomas, who coached Smith at Edison. He finds the "Division I kids that are being overlooked in our Northern Virginia area or people are scared to pull the trigger on them," Thomas said.

Another contact is his brother, Lake Braddock Coach Brian Metress, who lifted Hayfield High to Virginia AAA Northern Region titles in 1997 and 2000 and has more than 300 career victories.

"He has an eye in Northern Virginia because of his brother . . . giving him a few words," said Dixon, who caught Brian Metress's eye during a preseason camp at American University in 2005. "I think that's the reason I'm at Augusta State."

Howard, a 6-5 senior, "had a real high basketball I.Q.," Gar-Field Coach Andy Gray said. "He was a great system guy, not a high-flyer or a great scorer; he was just a really good system guy on a good team."

Dip Metress takes well-coached Northern Virginia products and "molds them together and gets them to play hard," Thomas said. "They may not have the raw athleticism. All you have to do is teach them your system."

Metress has also capitalized on Virginia's lack of Division II programs, plucking those players that have missed the Division I cut but still are searching for a higher level than what the Washington area's Division III programs can offer.

"If you are a pretty good player and people say, 'He's not really a Division I kid, he can't go to Maryland,' where else are you going to go?" Brian Metress said.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jelani Jenkins Recruiting Video

Jelani Jenkins, Good Counsel Fullback/Linebacker

I have begun a new venture with The Washington Post, profiling the top returning football recruits in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

All videos produced by Atkinson and Co.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

T.C. Williams Follow Up/Championship

Titans Dominate Bethel to Take Title
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, March 20, 2008; VA20

T.C. Williams boys' basketball coach Ivan Thomas stood outside his team's locker room earlier this month after the Titans' second consecutive Northern Region championship and spoke reverently of Charlie Thompson.

Thompson took four Northern Region schools to the Virginia state tournament, and his 1981 Lee team was the last school from the area to capture the title.

Until Friday, when Thomas's Titans accomplished the feat with a 70-57 win over Bethel, a team stacked with Division I recruits.

Thomas, a former assistant under Thompson, received a call from Thompson before the win.

"He called me today and wished me good luck," said Thomas, who is in his third year at T.C. Williams after six as coach at Edison. "We're very close."

In ending Bethel's 29-game winning streak, these Titans (29-3) accomplished what seven previous Northern Region teams -- T.C. Williams (1983), Robinson (1987), Lee (1988), Hayfield (2000), Herndon (2005) and South Lakes in 1999 and 2003 -- couldn't.

T.C. Williams, which also won a state title in 1977, became the Northern Region's only two-time state champion. The Titans are the first AAA team from Northern Virginia to win a state championship since Northwest Region power Potomac beat Kecoughtan 62-53 in the 1995 final.

"I didn't do this by myself. I had a lot of help from the coaches in Northern Virginia," Thomas said. "They allowed us to play the Montrose Christians and the Benedictines, and that is solely the reason we played those teams, because that's a different brand of basketball, and you don't face that type of basketball in Northern Virginia, that type of athleticism and that type of play, so we had to go out and prepare ourselves."

T.C. Williams played the most difficult schedule in program history, facing off with No. 2 Montrose Christian (20-4), two-time Virginia Independent School Division I state champion Benedictine (28-7) and southern Virginia power Norfolk Collegiate (19-11).

The rest of the state "thinks we're soft, but we're not," said 6-foot-7 senior Anthony Winbush, who scored 14 points in the final and averaged 13 points throughout the state tournament.

The schedule toughened T.C., and the Titans won their 10 postseason games by an average of 19.2 points and held their opponents to an average of 42.6.

"We came out here with no big-name players like last year," said junior guard Edward Jenkins, who scored 22 points in the final, helping to erase memories of last season's squad, which fell in the state tournament's first round despite having two Division I recruits in Mike Davis (Illinois) and Glenn Andrews (Tulsa).

The Titans' defense held Eastern Region runner-up King's Fork (24-6) and Central Region runner-up Petersburg (27-4) to season-low point totals.

"I'm so proud of the way they rotated to the ball, the way they expressed themselves and communicated off the ball," Thomas said. "We pressed all year, and I told my guys, 'If we're going out, we're going out swinging, doing the things we do.' "

T.C. Williams's pressure forced Bethel (30-2) into 20 turnovers and 37 percent shooting (20 for 53) from the field, keeping the Bruins to less than 20 points by halftime and taking a dominant 32-18 lead.

"It was a long time before the clock expired," Jenkins said. "It felt like forever."

"In pregame, I had my confidence going," said Titans senior Travis Berry, who came off the bench and hit five three-pointers en route to his 22 points Friday. "If I have my confidence going, it's going to be a long night [for the other team]."

Berry hit 13 shots from behind the arc in the three-game tournament and finished the season as the area's second-best three-point shooter with 85 made, one behind Oakton's Bart Reese.

Over the past three years under Thomas, T.C. Williams is 52-0 in the Patriot District, 65-3 against the Northern Region and 78-11 overall, numbers that prompted the team to begin a tradition of holding up a diamond-shaped hand signal after each victory.

"A diamond is forever, and that's what that means," Thomas said. "We created a dynasty, and we will keep doing this. The dynasty will continue."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ed Thomas Recruiting Video

Ed Thomas Recruiting Video

I have begun a new venture with The Washington Post, profiling the top returning football recruits in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

All videos produced by Atkinson and Co.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

T.C. Williams Win Championship

T.C. Williams Has Championship Mix
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 15, 2008; E07

RICHMOND, March 14 -- T.C. Williams Coach Ivan Thomas has often referred to his best three players -- Travis Berry, Anthony Winbush and Edward Jenkins -- with praised-packed pet names that highlight their personalities and abilities.

Winbush is the team's brains.

"He knows everything that I want done," Thomas said.

Jenkins is the team's heart.

"No matter what's going on, you are going to see him play hard," Thomas said.

And Berry, the Titans' top three-point shooter, "is the confidence," Thomas said. "If [his shot] is off, it's the ball's fault or the rim moved."

The Titans used a combination of brains, heart and confidence as Winbush, Jenkins and Berry combined for 59 points in a 70-57 Virginia AAA boys' basketball championship victory over Bethel of Hampton at Siegel Center -- a victory that brought the Virginia AAA Northern Region its first state boys' title in 27 years.

Since Lee last won it all in 1981, seven Northern Region teams had fallen in the final. During that span, the Eastern Region compiled 14 titles and the Central and Northwest each captured six.

"It means a lot to bring [the title] back to Northern Virginia," said Thomas, who fell to his knees in celebration at the final buzzer while members of the team held up their customary diamond-shaped hand-signal to the crowd of about 7,000. "A diamond is forever, and that's what that means. We created a dynasty and we will keep doing this. The dynasty will continue."

Before the Titans' victory, Potomac -- which beat Kecoughtan, 62-53, in the 1995 final -- was the last true Northern Virginia school to win a AAA boys' title.

"There were no ifs, no buts," said Jenkins, who scored seven of his 22 points during a first-quarter run that put the Titans up 19-11. "We told [coach] we were going to win states, and we did."

Berry (game-high 23 points) hit two of his five three-pointers during the momentum-grabbing first-quarter stretch, and Winbush (14 points) ran wild early, scoring a deep game-opening three-pointer and a half-court buzzer-beater that gave the Titans a 48-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

T.C. Williams (29-3) led the entire game and was up by 19 points in the final 21 minutes.

Many other unheralded Titans players contributed to end Bethel's 29-game winning streak and make T.C. Williams -- which won its last state title in 1977 -- the Northern Region's only two-time state boys' champion.

Titans senior Tomas Camara (two points, five rebounds) battled Bethel's 6-foot-7, Clemson-bound forward Mbai Goto Olivier (19 points), and Titans senior Joshua Jordan scored four of his six points during a 13-7 second-quarter run that put T.C. Williams up 32-18 at halftime.

Six Titans players scored, and T.C. Williams's smothering defense forced 20 turnovers and held the Bruins to 37 percent (20 for 53) shooting.

Olivier, Jontel Evans (11 points) and Brown University-bound forward Bill Weaver (14 points) all scored in double figures for the Bruins (30-2), who won the rebounding battle 40-28.

But the Titans sustained their postseason dominance, finishing their tournament run with an average margin of victory of 19.2 points per game. They also held four postseason opponents below their previous season-low point total.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

David Wang Video

WEB VIDEO: David Wang

I have begun a new venture with The Washington Post, profiling the top returning football recruits in the Washington D.C. Metro area. All videos produced by
Atkinson and Co.

David Wang, Stone Bridge High School, Offensive Lineman

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

T.C. Williams/Petersburg

Titans Are One Win Away From Some History
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 12, 2008; E05

RICHMOND, March 11 -- The body-checks backfired. After T.C. Williams senior Anthony Winbush had his left-handed layup rejected with less than five seconds left in the first half of Tuesday night's 63-46 Virginia AAA semifinal victory over Petersburg, he smiled as he strutted through a gauntlet of opposing bodies.

Three Petersburg players delivered checks to Winbush's chest with their shoulders -- including 6-foot-8 junior Cadarian Raines, who added a few extra words to go along with his vicious block that brought many of the 6,000 at Virginia Commonwealth's Siegel Center to their feet.

"I was calm," said Winbush, who absorbed each blow, and then pointed over Raines's left shoulder, mouthing the words "scoreboard."

The digits didn't lie -- T.C. Williams led 27-23 at the time, and things only got worse for Petersburg in the second half. Winbush scored eight of his 19 points during a 21-10 second-quarter run that helped No. 3 T.C. Williams (28-3) overcome a seven-point first-quarter deficit.

"It might be the last game we play," said Winbush, who added eight points in the third quarter as T.C. Williams outscored Petersburg 41-21 in the second and third quarters to earn a berth in Friday's 8:45 p.m. final against Bethel (30-1).

T.C. Williams will be looking to end the Virginia AAA Northern Region's 27-year title drought since Lee won it all in 1981. The Titans are the eighth Northern Region team to make the final since 1981.

"Winbush, he's the brains of our team.Travis Berry is the confidence," said Titans Coach Ivan Thomas, who watched as the 6-7 Winbush combined with Berry for 18 of the Titans' 20 third-quarter points.

Berry hit four three-pointers en route to his game-high 20 points to help the Titans back after a first quarter in which they committed six turnovers, shot 3 for 14 from the field, were 0 for 4 from behind the three-point line, missed both free throw attempts and lost Winbush to two early fouls less than three minutes into the game.

Winbush came off the bench with 3 minutes 38 seconds left in the second quarter and scored eight points, hauled in three rebounds, and added an assist, continuing a decisive second-quarter run that started with two deep three-pointers from Berry.

The Titans, which held Petersburg (27-4) 12 points under its previous season low (58), were never again threatened, nursing at least a 10-point lead for the rest of the game.

"In this tournament, we are going to rest our hat on defense," said Thomas, whose Titans have allowed an average of 40.6 points through nine playoff games.

No. 3 T.C. Williams 63 Petersburg 46

Up Next: T.C. Williams will face Eastern Region champion Bethel at 8:45 p.m. Friday in the championship game at Siegel Center. The Bruins, which downed Central Region champion John Marshall, 65-55, in yesterday's other semifinal, have won 29 straight games.

Titan Defense: T.C. Williams has held four of its nine playoff opponents to their season - low.

Monday, March 10, 2008

AAA State Preview

Virginia AAA Basketball Semifinals
Boys: Petersburg vs. No. 3 T.C. Williams
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Siegel Center, Richmond
Records: T.C. Williams 27-3; Petersburg 27-3

T.C. Williams's balanced offense and solid defense make it a legitimate candidate to end the Virginia AAA Northern Region's 27-year title drought. The Titans have allowed 45.7 points per game in the playoffs and held Eastern Region runner-up King's Fork (24-6) to a season-low 39. The Titans will look to lock up Petersburg's leading scorer, 6-foot-5 senior forward Terneil Rhodes (15.3 points per game), and 6-8 junior center Cadarian Raines, who is averaging a double-double (14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds). The Crimson Waves, the Central Region runner-up, defeated Northwest Region champion GW-Danville 65-59 Friday, ending the Eagles' undefeated season. However, Petersburg's most impressive win of the season came in the March 1 Central Region semifinals, when it upset reigning AAA champion Highland Springs 65-55 at Siegel Center. Today's other AAA boys' semifinal pits John Marshall of Richmond against Bethel of Hampton at 3:45 p.m.

-- B.J. Koubaroulis

Sunday, March 09, 2008

T.C. Williams/State Quarters

T.C. Williams Moves On
Berry's 22 Points Help No. 3 Titans Dispatch King's Fork
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 9, 2008; D09

It was fitting that Travis Berry led No. 3 T.C. Williams with 22 points in its 59-39 victory over King's Fork in last night's Virginia AAA boys' quarterfinal at Robinson.

Berry, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, epitomizes why this Titans team advanced past the first round of the state tournament, when last season's group -- led by two Division I-bound college recruits -- couldn't.

"A team goes farther than talent," said Berry, who watched as Mike Davis (Illinois) and Glenn Andrews (Tulsa) combined for 46 points in an 80-70 loss to Freedom-Woodbridge in last year's first-round heartbreaker. "When you have a team that plays as a team, there isn't much you can do to stop them."

Berry began the season as a starter, but accepted his role as a reserve following a 79-74 loss to Edison in the Titans' third game of the season. Titans Coach Ivan Thomas said Berry would best help the squad as an off-the-bench spark.

Last night, Berry was one of eight Titans who scored and part of a defensive effort that held Eastern Region runner-up King's Fork (24-6) to two field goals in the second half and five points short of its previous season low.

"These guys like each other, and there is more cohesion" than last year, Thomas said. "This group buys into more of the blue-collar attitude and the team mentality."

Berry scored 14 points in the first half as T.C. Williams (27-3) took a 26-24 lead into halftime.

He then connected on two of his four deep three-pointers, fueling a 17-6 third-quarter run that put the Titans up 43-30 entering the final period.

T.C. Williams had at least a 13-point lead throughout the final 10 minutes and held the Bulldogs' leading scorers, Jaquon Parker and Jamar Wertz, to nine points each.

T.C. Williams's unselfish balance was on display in the first quarter as four different Titans scored and Joshua Jordan -- normally the team's fourth-leading scorer -- led the Titans with six points.

Seven of the Titans' nine shots in the quarter were assisted.

"We watched game tape of last year's loss all week," Berry said. "We came in determined."

No. 3 T.C. Williams 59 King's Fork 39

Up Next: T.C. Williams will meet Petersburg (27-3) in Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center. Petersburg, the Central Region runner-up, defeated Northwest Region champion GW-Danville (27-1), 65-59, on Friday, ending the Eagles' undefeated season.

Riding the Wave: Known as the Crimson Waves, Petersburg has won 14 of its last 15 games behind 6-foot-5 senior forward Terneil Rhodes (15.3 points per game) -- one of four players who averages in double figures.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Metheny Offer from UCONN

From Josh Barr's Recruiting Blog:

Virginia QB Gets Big East Offer

Budding TV superstar B.J. Koubaroulis passing along this tidbit as he prepares an upcoming video: Sherando quarterback Ross Metheny was offered by Connecticut this morning, according to Sherando Coach Bill Hall.

Despite breaking his right ankle in the Virginia AA Division 4 championship game, Metheny still has caught the eye of recruiters and Hall believes the Huskies' offer will be the first of many for the 6-foot-3 junior who threw for 2,196 yards and 24 touchdowns, leading Sherando to a 13-1 record.

Metheny has engaged in an intense rehab regimen, which will be detailed in one of The Washington Post's upcoming Recruiting Videos -- a project that highlights the area's top returning juniors.

T.C. Williams/State Preview

Confidence For Titans In Spite of Title Drought
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, March 6, 2008; VA16

Perhaps T.C. Williams junior Edward Jenkins's attitude toward what has become known as "the drought" could help the Titans become the first Northern Region team to win a state title in 27 years.

After a 69-61 loss Feb. 1 to two-time Virginia Independent School Division I state champion Benedictine, Jenkins, a speedy 6-foot guard, stood just feet from Benedictine's Ed Davis, a 6-foot-9 forward bound for North Carolina, and brushed off Davis's 30 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocks.

"Yeah, he's a good player. So? We play against good players all the time," Jenkins said.
The Northern Region is 0-7 in the state final since Lee won it all in 1981. "So what? It's a drought. You can't do anything about it. You just have to play your game," Jenkins said.

That us-against-the-world mentality, widely spread throughout the Titans' locker room, could prove key for No. 3 T.C. Williams (26-3). That quest will start with a game against Eastern Region runner-up King's Fork (24-5) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Robinson.

It's an attitude shared and preached by Coach Ivan Thomas.

"We have our own goals that we set. Those goals are for the state crown," Thomas said.
The Titans have played against the area's best, including Benedictine (26-6), No. 2 Montrose Christian (21-4) and Southern Virginia private school power Norfolk Collegiate (19-11). This has made the team not just physically tough, but mentally prepared, Thomas said.

"To be honest, for three years, we've been playing under a lot of pressure," said Thomas, whose team is 65-3 against Northern Region teams and 52-0 in the Patriot District in three seasons. "Every team wants to be the team to knock us off. We get use to playing championship games on a daily basis, and I'm hoping that can serve as a catalyst for us as we pursue through this tournament."

In the past 27 years, the Eastern Region has compiled 14 titles, and the Central and Northwest regions have each claimed six, leaving many critics believing that the Northern Region's "brand of basketball isn't as good as others," Thomas said. "Our coaches and players around here are pretty good. In order to change that mind-set, one of us has to break the cycle or the drought."

Since the AAA classification was established in 1971, Northern Region teams have made it to the state final 14 times, claiming only three titles: T.C. Williams (1977), Mount Vernon (1979) and Lee (1981).

T.C. Williams showed equal promise in ending the drought last season, behind two Division I-bound players in Mike Davis (Illinois) and Glenn Andrews (Tulsa), but the Titans fell in the first round to Freedom-Woodbridge.

This team relies on a more balanced and unselfish approach; its leading scorer, 6-foot-2 senior sharp-shooter Travis Berry (14.4 points per game), comes off the bench.

Thomas said the Titans (26-3) are mimicking 2006 state runner-up Herndon's path to the final. The Hornets (26-5) rode McDonald's All-American Scottie Reynolds (Villanova) through tough nonconference matchups with Oak Hill Academy, Montrose Christian, DeMatha and California power Mater Dei before falling 55-51 to Booker T. Washington in the state final.

"I think Scottie did a good job of going down there that year. I felt like he was going to be the one to do it," Thomas said. "It's just a matter of finishing it off, and it's tough to do. It's a tough run."

State Tournament Preview

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bryn Renner Video

WEB VIDEO: Bryn Renner

I have begun a new venture with The Washington Post, profiling the top returning football recruits in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

All videos produced by Atkinson and Co.

Bryn Renner, West Springfield High School, Quarterback

Sunday, March 02, 2008

T.C. Williams/Northern Region Championship

Winbush Does It All in Helping T.C. Williams Repeat

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 2, 2008; D14

Following his three-point buzzer-beater at halftime of T.C. Williams's 66-54 Virginia AAA Northern Region championship victory over No. 11 Langley last night, Titans senior Anthony Winbush ran off the floor with his open palms facing skyward.

He also sported a sly smirk, as if he was asking his celebrating teammates why they would expect anything less from him.

What was especially incredible about the right-handed line-drive that put the Titans up 37-24 was that Winbush, a 6-foot-7 senior guard-forward, is left-handed.

"I couldn't miss," said Winbush, who scored a game-high 24 points on a variety of shots, the likes of which have helped him garner Division I scholarship offers from Loyola and Niagara. "I felt like I was going to knock down every shot."

A crowd of 5,000 at George Mason University's Patriot Center saw No. 3 T.C. Williams (26-3) become the Northern Region's first repeat champion since South Lakes won three straight titles from 1992 to 1994.

"Winbush comes to play when we need him in the big games," said Titans Coach Ivan Thomas, who is 65-3 against Northern Region teams and 52-0 in the Patriot District in three seasons. "I'm proud of these guys' mental focus. . . . Every night these guys have a bull's eye on their back."

Winbush showed off his versatility in the first half, connecting on medium-range jumpers, inside post moves, putbacks, a breakaway dunk and a high-flying alley-oop. He scored 22 points in the first three quarters as the Titans took a 52-35 lead into the fourth.

"It feels great because everyone doubted us at the beginning of the season," Winbush said.

Junior Edward Jenkins (13 points), senior Tomas Camara (10) and senior Travis Berry (11) combined for 22 second-half points to hold off Langley (24-5), which cut an 18-point lead to seven with 1 minute 4 seconds left.

No. 3 T.C. Williams 66 No. 11 Langley 54

Up Next for T.C. Williams: The Titans will host the runner-up from Monday's Eastern Region championship game between Bethel (27-1) and King's Fork (24-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Robinson High School.

Up Next for Langley: The Saxons will travel to face the winner of the Eastern Region championship Saturday. King's Fork is a fourth-year school that has won has won 15 of its last 16 games behind Jaquon Parker, a 6-foot-4 junior who is averaging 17.1 points. Bethel is ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press poll and last won a state championship behind Allen Iverson in 1993.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Northern Region Semifinals

Langley's Support System Delivers
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 1, 2008; E07

Following one of the worst shooting performances of his career, Langley senior guard Ryan Davenport sat in the Saxons' locker room at George Mason University's Patriot Center, pulling his sweat-soaked jersey over the bridge of his nose.

As the jersey fell from his chin, an uncontrollable smile was revealed.

Davenport was 3-for-13 shooting with a team-low seven points in Langley's 46-38 Virginia AAA Northern Region semifinal victory over Madison last night. But he was happy to take a secondary role if it meant his team could continue making school history.

"We all knew these guys could do it and had the potential to do it, but to see it on the court was wonderful," Davenport said after No. 11 Langley had earned its first Northern Region tournament championship game berth.

The victory also ensured Langley a berth in the Virginia AAA boys' basketball tournament for the first time.

In tonight's regional tournament final, Langley (24-4) will face No. 3 T.C. Williams (25-3) -- a 50-37 winner over No. 12 Lake Braddock (17-9) in last night's other semifinal.

Langley senior forward Ahmed Malik (11 points), junior guard Derek Baker (10 points), sophomore guard Thomas Kody (10 points) and senior guard Barrett Hunter (eight points) kept Langley afloat as Davenport went scoreless in the first half. The foursome then combined for 23 points as the Saxons went on a game-clinching 30-19 second-half run.

"I practice against these guys every day, and Derek will drain shots in my face and Malik, you can't really stop him," said Davenport, who became Langley's career scoring leader earlier this season. "It was always there. It was just a matter of confidence and making it happen on the court."

Baker had three blocks and scored four of his 10 points during a 16-5 third-quarter run that helped Langley battle back from a 19-16 halftime deficit.

"When we play those tough teams, we know we have to step up because we know [Davenport] can't beat them by himself," said Baker, a 6-foot-4 O'Connell transfer.

Madison (20-7) was led by Collin Flaherty's 10 points.

"If you told me before the game that [Davenport] would score seven points and we'd win, I'd say 'No,' " Langley Coach Travis Hess said.

In the third quarter, Madison went scoreless for 4 minutes 43 seconds, had five turnovers and hit just two shots.

The Warhawks were 2 of 14 from the three-point line as they fell to Langley for the third time in four meetings this season.

"They knew us and they were prepared for us," Madison Coach Chris Kuhblank said.
In last night's other semifinal, four Titans scored in double figures as T.C. Williams advanced to its second consecutive Northern Region championship game.

"We wore them down," said Titans Coach Ivan Thomas. "That was the plan."

Edward Jenkins (18 points), Travis Berry (10), Joshua Jordan (10) and Anthony Winbush (12 points) each reached double figures as the Titans overcame Lake Braddock's slow-down approach.

No. 11 Langley 46 Madison 38 No. 3 T.C. Williams 50 No. 12 Lake Braddock 37

Tournament Titans: T.C. Williams is seeking its eighth region championship. The Titans have won titles in 2007, 2001, 1983, 1982, 1980, 1977 and 1975.

14 Years Later: The last time Langley defeated T.C. Williams in the Northern Region tournament was in 1994, when the Saxons handed the 14th-ranked Titans a 63-58 loss in the quarterfinals. Langley was the fourth-seed out of what was then called the Great Falls District.