The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Boys’ varsity basketball’s great comeback falls short against St. John’s in DCSAA Semifinal

The Tigers road back to GW fell short on Friday, putting an end to a special season.

The boys’ varsity basketball team entered their locker room stunned. As they entered through the double-doored hallways of Georgetown University, the reality of being down a postseason high of 12 points at halftime struck. 

Head coach David “Tee” Johnson asked his players how much they wanted to win at halftime. The players’ responses were plain and simple: the 1 seeded Tigers weren’t going down in the remaining 16 minutes without a fight. After trading buckets in the first half Friday night, 4 seeded and eventual runner-up St. John’s jumped all over the Tigers, to the point where a buzzer-beating first half ending three-pointer, to bring the score to 31-19, seemed to put a dagger into JR’s hopes of appearing in the state final on Sunday.  

The Tigers came out of their locker room rejuvenated though, playing like the second half team they have preached about being all season. The chase was on, the 12-point Cadet lead vanished to eight, led by a steal by senior point guard Joe McRae and a layup on the other end by Scottie Hubbard. 

In what was a see-saw exchange of momentum, the Cadets (25-7) then jumped back out to a game-high 15 point lead. However, that didn’t stop another surge led by senior point guard Justin Gilmore’s 17 point night on seven of 11 shooting, the deficit was cut to seven.

Playing against the odds, the water well of hope began to drain by the minute, the Tigers (33-3) were still destined to make a comeback, their season came down to a crucial fourth quarter: eight minutes to shock a packed house in McDonough Arena. 

Senior point guard Lucas Sekasi went to the free throw line and knocked down two free throws with seven minutes remaining, shrinking the Cadets’s lead to 39-44. The shots that weren’t falling, now began to fall, as Scottie Hubbard drained a three, his first of the game. However, St. John’s responded with a three of their own, going up 47-42. 

The Tigers began to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and so did the faithful Tiger nation that erupted, forcing the Cadets to then call a timeout. After a pair of free throws from Joe McRae, who had eight points, junior small forward Jayden Fort cut the deficit back to only one, after a strong layup at 46-47, with 1:51 left in the game. St. John’s called timeout once again, and drew up a play, causing busted coverage in the Tigers’ defense, hitting another three, 50-46. 

The monumental Tiger comeback was almost complete, as Lucas Sekasi was fouled and knocked down one free throw, 49-50 with 47 seconds left in the game. After a Tiger timeout however, the Cadets drained a three, putting a dagger in the Tigers. 

A late three from Hubbard shrunk the lead to 52-53, with 17 seconds left in the game. The Tigers were forced to foul, and after two free throws the St. John’s lead was up to three. A three point heave hit back iron from Joe McRae, followed by an empty Cadets possession and a half court last chance attempt from Hubbard that was deflected, ending the Tigers season in the second round of the state tournament, 55-52. 

In the most important game of the season, there are no nights off from being efficient and mistake free. The Tigers weren’t overmatched by the Cadets, they instead simply shot themselves in the foot. When you miss nine free throws, and shoot a team total of 65% from the line, only make three total three pointers at 18% and have to play come from behind basketball most of the night: those things don’t go hand and hand. 

Friday night for the Tigers, unfortunately, was the night of ‘what could’ve been.’ It was well-known by the team that no matter who they played, every team was going to give them their best shot, almost as if it were the opposing team’s Super Bowl. But when you cannot capitalize on the controllables in a heated game, it’s hard to compete with a well-disciplined program, who competes in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, the best conference in the DMV. 

Despite the loss, that shouldn’t take away from the program-defining season the Tigers had this winter. However, the missing piece to the puzzle of a state championship, will have to wait another season.

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About the Contributor
Justin Glenn
Justin Glenn, Sports Editor
Justin is a sports fanatic.. you’ll most likely see him with a baseball cap of some sort throughout the hallways. If he isn’t writing about high school sports, he’s likely watching a D.C. sports team, NASCAR or some other professional league in his free time. Outside of sports, he enjoys the outdoors and watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, besides that, he’s an average out-going person.
  • 2023-24: Assistant Sports Editor
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