Revenge of the rivals

Last year, Frank­ford ended George Wash­ing­ton’s hopes of cham­pi­on­ship glory, elim­in­at­ing them from the play­offs. This time, the Eagles scored some re­demp­tion.

George Wash­ing­ton’s Kend­ale Tru­itt and Frank­ford’s Try­ee Tuck­er in the first round of the Pub­lic League Class AAAA play­offs at Frank­ford High school on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012.


It was a long road to the post­season, but now the George Wash­ing­ton High School bas­ket­ball team is ex­actly where they want to be.

The Eagles en­dured a heap of highs and lows this sea­son, strug­gling through a 5-8 re­cord in reg­u­lar sea­son play — good enough for a berth in the play­offs.

From there, things just got bet­ter and bet­ter.

Wash­ing­ton ous­ted Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln, 49-42, in the pre­lim­in­ary round of the Pub­lic League Class AAAA play­offs on Feb. 7, ad­van­cing the Eagles to the next round two days later. On Thursday, Wash­ing­ton battled long­time rival Frank­ford High School in an in­tense, and very per­son­al, con­test.

Last year, Frank­ford ended George Wash­ing­ton’s hopes of cham­pi­on­ship con­ten­tion, de­feat­ing them in the second round of the play­offs. This year’s bout had a dif­fer­ent end­ing.

The Eagles gained an early lead, thanks to ju­ni­or guard Kend­ale Tru­itt, who net­ted all of the Eagles points in the first quarter (ten points total, in­clud­ing two treys). In fact, Tru­itt was the only Eagle to score throughout the first ten and a half minutes of game ac­tion.

“We were all real nervous, and I think that def­in­itely played a big part in the first quarter,” said Tru­itt, who scored a team high 22 points against Frank­ford last week. “You don’t want to lose. I mean, it’s the second round of the play­offs. Every­body is here. They beat us last year.”

Both Frank­ford and Wash­ing­ton battled to gain mo­mentum early in the game, and they did it in style. The mag­nitude of their rivalry was evid­ent in every pass, every shot, every play.

The packed gym­nas­i­um at Frank­ford High School vi­brated with scream­ing fans from both schools. Crowds of stu­dents and teach­ers jumped out of their seats, waved ban­ners and rally tow­els. Some even moon walked across the bleach­ers.

ldquo;We were con­fid­ent com­ing out the gate, but this was a really dif­fer­ent game be­cause we’re at their gym. It’s play­offs. There’s more in­tens­ity,” said Wash­ing­ton ju­ni­or guard Na­fece Ed­wards, who net­ted nine points in last week’s post­season con­test. “We just had to do everything harder. We had to play harder. We had to run harder. We can’t get any fouls and have to make smart plays. We just had to go harder.”

Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

Des­pite Frank­ford briefly re­gain­ing the lead in the fi­nal two minutes of game ac­tion — cour­tesy of ju­ni­or guard Tyree Tuck­er’s lay-up — Wash­ing­ton was able to tie things up once again after ju­ni­or cen­ter Wil­li­am Dav­is suc­cess­fully sunk two foul shots.

With 16 seconds on the clock and Frank­ford in pos­ses­sion, Wash­ing­ton’s Tru­itt stole the ball, sprin­ted up court and dropped in a lay-up, provid­ing Wash­ing­ton with a two-point lead once again. The Eagles’ sol­id de­fense ran the clock down to the buzzer.

Fi­nal score: George Wash­ing­ton, 45; Frank­ford, 43.

“That was crazy! It felt real good,” said Tru­itt of his game-win­ning shot. “We were un­der­rated. I knew we had to step up.”

For Frank­ford — who fin­ished 20-6 in the Pub­lic League B Di­vi­sion, en route to a Class AAAA city cham­pi­on­ship title last year — the loss ends their sea­son with a 3-8 re­cord in the Pub­lic League A Di­vi­sion and 8-13 over­all.

Frank­ford’s Tuck­er led his team in scor­ing with 12 points against Wash­ing­ton. Seni­or cen­ter Sha­quil Rone con­trib­uted ten. The Pi­on­eers’ heavy hit­ter, Imire Taylor — a seni­or who has av­er­aged 19.7 points this sea­son — did not play in Thursday’s game due to an in­jury.

ldquo;His wrist has been hurt­ing him all week long. He wanted to play, but I just did not want him to play,” ex­plained Frank­ford coach Dave Huzzard. “It was ob­vi­ously a dif­fi­cult loss. It was a tough way to go.”

Both squads were plagued by missed foul shot at­tempts. Frank­ford came up empty on 13 shots, while Wash­ing­ton missed ten.

On Wash­ing­ton’s side, the tri­umph ex­tends their sea­son at least for one more game. They are slated to face Samuel Fels High School on Tues­day. That game was played after the Times went to press this week.

After de­feat­ing Frank­ford last week, the Eagles stand at 5-8 in the Pub­lic League B Di­vi­sion and 10-12 over­all.

“It was a tough sea­son. We were just los­ing. But we knew in the post­season we had to get it to­geth­er,” said Ed­wards, who av­er­aged more than 12 points per game for the Eagles this winter. “Now we want that third one (win). We go against Fels on Tues­day. We have to pass the ball more and get every­one in­volved. We have to play to­geth­er to get that win for our coach.” ••


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