Aigner defense
Woodson's Jason Aigner defends T.C. Williams' Matthew LaGanza in the second half of Tuesday's Patriot District quarterfinal. Aigner had 16 points.

Patriot Boys First Round: #2 Woodson 70, #7 T.C. Williams 50

W.T. Woodson has one of the strongest boys teams in the region. The Cavaliers had a fantastic regular season, going 18-4 overall and 12-2 in conference play to finish second behind West Potomac.

But it isn’t like anything comes easy for anyone in the Patriot District. Woodson came into Tuesday’s playoff game against T.C. Williams having won five straight games in the Patriot–by a combined total of 12 points. Just last Friday the Cavs had escaped with an overtime win against the Titans, and so coach Doug Craig and his squad were expecting a battle in the rematch.

They got that Tuesday night but after T.C. Williams got to within 47-43 early in the fourth quarter the Cavaliers pulled away for the victory, 70-50. The Titans hung tough, but in the end their younger team simply could not keep up with the home team. The Cavaliers were just too efficient, spreading the court and attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line, and controlling the defensive boards.

T.C. Williams’ Cameron Campbell tries to slow down Woodson’s Brian Peirce on a drive to the hoop.

“In the first half we did a lot of good things but we were 8-16 from the free throw line, we missed some layups,” Craig said. “They’re [T.C.] a good team, kind of younger group. They got some confidence making some shots but I thought we did a good job in the second half settling down and executing. And when we do that and when we share the ball with each other we’re difficult to guard.”

The game was tied at 15 after a quarter, but Woodson claimed a lead it would not relinquish in the second quarter. Just before the end of the half Jason Aigner buried a three to make it 33-27 going into the locker room and early in the third quarter consecutive baskets by forward Nate Spurlock soon put the Cavs up double digits. T.C. then rallied, going on a 15-8 run to close the gap to four. Sophomore guard Jaden Thrash made a nice steal falling to the ground on defense and soon after buried a three to bring it to 47-43.

That’s when the Cavaliers pulled away. They buckled down on defense and didn’t allow the Titans second chances on offense, winning the rebounding battle 36-16. Aigner, Simon Mulaa and Matt Urbach, who start at the one through three, pulled down 29 rebounds total–an impressive total from three guards. Plus the Cavs didn’t miss shots, which contributed to the rebounding disparity. They didn’t settle for jumpers and got to the hoop almost at will in the second half.

Woodson's Nate Spurlock tries to thread a pass through the T.C. defense. Spurlock had a game-high 19 points.
Woodson’s Nate Spurlock tries to thread a pass through the T.C. defense. Spurlock had a game-high 19 points.

“We made our free throws, we made our lay-ups,” Craig said about his team’s second half performance. “We got a lot of offense out of Nate tonight and got Urbach going in the second half. When we get Urbach, Spurlock and Jason all going at the same time, we have guys scoring on all sides of the floor and we’re tough to stop.”

Spurlock (19 points), Aigner (16 points) and Urbach (15 points) combined to equal the Titans’ offensive output for the night, and so the Cavaliers clinched a berth in regionals and a date with third-seeded Lake Braddock in the Patriot semis. T.C. meanwhile, got 11 points from sophomore forward Jaquan Johnson-Terry and 11 more from senior forward Tyrese Randall off the bench. The Titans conclude their season under first-year coach Walter Coleman.

–Chris Jollay

all stats are unofficial

MAINS 0-1 2-2 2 0 0
SPURLOCK 6-9 7-12 19 3 3
URBACH 5-9 4-6 15 12 0
AIGNER 5-9 4-4 16 9 1
MULAA 3-4 3-5 9 8 1
Promisel 3-4 0-0 6 1 0
Peirce 0-1 2-2 2 0 1
Nickel 0-1 0-1 0 0 0
Hennessey 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Tchalekian 0-0 1-2 1 1 0
TOTALS 22-38 23-34 70 36 6
Threes: Aigner 2-5, Urbach 1-5, Spurlock 0-1, Nickel 0-1
THRASH 1-2 2-2 5 1 3
MORALES 2-5 0-0 5 2 0
JOHNSON-TERRY 5-13 0-0 11 2 2
LAGANZA 2-5 0-0 5 1 0
WILLIAMS 2-5 0-1 4 1 0
Randall 3-12 5-7 11 3 1
Duncan 2-3 0-0 4 5 0
Campbell 2-10 0-0 5 1 1
Harold 0-1 0-0 0 0 0
#23 0-1 0-0 0 0 1
TOTALS 19-57 7-10 50 16 8
Threes: Thrash 1-1, Laganza 1-1, Morales 1-2, Johnson-Terry 1-4, Campbell 1-7, #23 0-1, Randall 0-2