Wednesday, January 21, 2009

T.C. Williams Outlasts Hayfield

T.C. Williams Outlasts Hayfield
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, January 22, 2009; E06

T.C. Williams's 71-66 overtime victory at Hayfield took so much energy out of Titans junior Billy Rowland that he hung his head as he strolled in a near limp to the bench while his teammates celebrated at the final buzzer.

But Rowland, a 6-foot-6 forward, mustered enough energy to throw his hands up in the shape of a diamond as the sweat poured over his smile.

"That's the first thing I learned when I got here," said Rowland, a transfer who followed his 19-point effort last night with the Titans' traditional diamond-shaped hand-signal. "It stands for dynasty."

Rowland, who played his freshman year of high school basketball at Surrattsville and last season at Alexandria private school Bishop Ireton, has been key in helping No. 8 T.C. Williams (12-2, 7-0 Virginia AAA Patriot District) continue its dominance after it went 29-3 en route to last season's Virginia AAA state championship.

Last night, Rowland scored eight points as part of a 23-9 third-quarter run that helped T.C. Williams overcome a three-point halftime deficit and take a 49-38 lead going into the fourth quarter.

"I thought we had it right there," Rowland said.

But Hayfield (12-3, 6-1) rallied back as 6-3 junior forward Chad Canady (28 points) hit one of his five three-pointers as part of a 22-11 fourth-quarter run that junior Rayshawn Rigans capped with a left-handed floating bank shot that forced overtime.

T.C. Williams senior guard Edward Jenkins (20 points) scored five of his team's 11 points in the overtime period to give the Titans' sole possession of first place in the district. Hayfield had its win streak stopped at five.

The victory also improved T.C. Williams's Patriot winning streak to 59 -- a four-year span in which the Titans have outscored district foes by an average of more than 20 points per game. No other area team has been as dominant in its league. The Titans are also 76-3 in the Northern Region during that span.

"That's my objective, to keep my streak alive," said Jenkins, one of the holdovers on a roster that has welcomed seven new players through transfers and junior varsity call-ups.

Following its run to last year's state title, T.C. Williams lost seven seniors -- four to college basketball -- and Ivan Thomas, last season's All-Met Coach of the Year.

"This isn't the same team we had last year, but we still have the same heart," Jenkins said.

No. 8 T.C. Williams 71, Hayfield 66

Flashback: In 1997, Julian King, now T.C. Williams's coach, scored three points in Coppin State's 78-65 first-round NCAA tournament victory over South Carolina. It was just the third time a No. 15 seed beat a No. 2 seed.

Take It, It's Free: T.C. Williams senior guard Gavin Peterson was 4 for 4 from the free throw line in the overtime period.

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