West Potomac players and coaches celebrate their second consecutive Patriot Conference title.
West Potomac won its second consecutive Patriot Conference championship Friday night in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over W.T. Woodson.
The Wolverines (22-3) trailed much of the contest, but managed to keep the game close before a late surge that saw them outscore the Cavaliers 25-11 in the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Da’Jon Bellfield, who made the all-tournament team, said the Wolverines’ physical style of play allowed them to wear down Woodson as the contest wore on.
“Even though we were down, we stayed with it,” said Bellfield. “No doubt in our mind we were gonna have this one.”
The Wolverines were a little too physical in the first half, as they dealt with foul trouble early. Four West Potomac starters had at least two fouls by halftime as Woodson maintained their lead. Bellfield, who set the defensive tone early for the Wolverines with a monster block on a Cody Mains dunk attempt, quickly picked up two fouls and was forced to sit for much of the second quarter.
Coach David Houston III said afterward that he just wanted to make it to halftime without anyone getting three fouls. He rotated substitutes and adjusted his defenses in an effort to keep his team from getting in any more foul trouble, and while Woodson led the entire second quarter, they were never able to go up by double digits.
Senior point guard Khalil Williams, the tournament MVP, led the Wolverines with 13 points in the first half. Williams’ jumper just before the halftime buzzer made it 31-28 game at the break.
Williams finished with 22 points, tied for the game-high with fellow guard Daryl Mackey Jr. After being bottled up throughout the first half, Mackey exploded for 10 third quarter points, helping to briefly tie the game at 42.
“The combination of the two when they’re playing well together, they’re tough to stop,” said Houston.
Williams earned tournament MVP honors. Beyond having an outstanding performance in the championship game, he hit a game-winning 3-pointer in a first-round victory over Annandale.
Houston said he was “blessed to coach him,” and said Williams’ performance showed that on some nights there are few players in the region better than him.
“I guess he thought he should have been player of the year in the conference,” Houston said. “He played like it tonight.”
The fourth quarter belonged to West Potomac, as seniors Brandan Lisenby and Da’Juan Bellfield chipped in with clutch baskets. After taking the lead for good with just over three minutes left, Mackey, Da’Jon and Idaresit Ekpuk all hit crucial free throws in the final minutes to seal the victory.
The Edison girls won their fourth consecutive National District title, topping Wakefield, 59-52.