Booker T. Washington Warriors’ head coach Antonio Harris knows the value of home court in playoff basketball.
That is one of the reasons he and his athletic director wanted to host the 15-A District tournament. That home court advantage came in handy for the championship game against the Memphis Academy of Health and Science Academy (MAHS).
The Warriors were able to hold back the charge of the Lions to win the District Championship (65-61). The Lions were down by as many as 10 points in the game, but the battled back to almost pull out the upset in the end.
This was the second meeting of the season for this team. Washington won the first meeting 78-66 at the Lions home court. The Warriors were led by the guards Charterrio Porter (32 points), JC Johnson (12 points) and Mikhall Garrett (6 points).
Porter connected on 9 of 10 free throws and he made four three pointers. The contest was a battle of the inside game of the Lions versus the outside game of the Warriors.
Junior center David Dixon was a force on the inside. He led the Lions with 25 points. Most of Dixon’s damage occurred around the rim and free throws. Dixon had nine made baskets and went seven of nine from the free throw line.
Senior guard Ronald Berkley added 15 points and connected on three three-pointers.
“We pulled out a close one. I’m glad our kids came out on the winning end,” said Harris.
Regarding the play of the guards, Harris said, “They are the glue of the team. They are the wheels to our cars. As long as they can keep on performing we are going to go as far as they take us.”
The head coach of the Lions Vernard Watkins said, “I think it was a great game to come in there with a great atmosphere. They have veteran team. For us to come in have a good showing is big for us. This just sets the tone for us moving forward.”
Regarding Dixon’s play, Watkins said, “He is a great player. He has a high motor and he plays both ends of the court. Most of the time he is double and triple teamed. He played an awesome game.”
BTW girls 47, MBA 38
The BTW women had their hands full with the Lady Executives from the Memphis Business Academy. The Warriors were able to stage a come back to defeat the current SCIAA Champions.
The Lady Warriors missed their first six free throws in the first period and fell behind (13-8).
The game was ugly in the first half; with each team being called for a lot of fouls and committing unforced turnovers. In the second half the offenses took off. The Warriors were able to pull back into a tie midway in the third period.
BTW was able to take a 31-30 lead into the final period. The Warriors went on an 18-8 run in the final period to secure the win.
MBA head coach Reshun Spears was in a worst situation last season when his team finished third in the district tournament, but they were able to win the regional last year
“It was a good game. Both teams played hard. They made shots and we didn’t,” said Spears. “I just want our team to play well. We had too many turnovers tonight. We didn’t finish when had to.”
“Some of the fouls did hurt and people may have disagreed, but you can’t blame the refs,” said Spears. “That is the game of life. You have to make sure you don’t put yourself in a situation or things not to go your way.”
This is the third straight District Championship for head coach Steven McKinney and the Lady Warriors. “I love coach Spears and they worked so hard. We have been battling for years,” said McKinney. “I thought my girls persevered. We were down at the half. We were down because we were missing our free throws.”
He added, “We were so ramped up to start the game. That is why we were missing free throws early. I told them to slow down and breathe and starting playing our game.”
The Warriors have five seniors. They all have been playing together since middle school. That experience has allowed them to stay focus when adversity hits.
The Warriors were led by Tramesha Rodgers (12 points), and Anteresa Dickson and Erica McNeil each had (10 points).
Ainyah Rucker was the only Lady Executive who scored in double digits (10 points).