Azzi Fudd poured in a game-high 32 points, including 17 in the first half, but it was the contribution from teammates Alex Cowen and Malu Tshitenge Mutombo that played a big part in earning St. John’s College High School girls a 66-49 win over Bishop McNamara in the the WCAC girls championship at Bender Arean on the campus of American University.
In the boys championship game, it was the scoring of Terrence Williams and Anwar Gill along with some solid contributions from others that helped Gonzaga College High School hold off St. John’s 60-56.
The game was played before an overflow crowd of more than 4,000 and they were treated to some of the best high school basketball competition in the country.
A 5-11 sophomore guard and WCAC Player of the Year, Fudd tallied 18 of her team’s 23 first-half points including six straight during a three-minute stretch that gave the Cadets (32-1) their biggest lead at 23-17 with a little under two minutes remaining.
But the talented Mustangs (29-3) went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 23 at intermission.
Cowan and Mutombo, both seniors, combined for 14 of their team’s 15 points during the third stanza but Aliyah Matharu, Liatu King and Jakai Brown-Turner teamed to give McNamara a 40-38 advantage at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, it was Cowan and Mutumbo who helped St. John’s get some breathing room and that set up Fudd, who sealed the deal by connecting on all six of her free throw attempts to give the Cadets their third straight title. Cowan finished with 19 and Mutombo 14.
“At halftime, I told the team that someone else had to step up and do something,” said St. John’s head coach Jonathan Scribner. “Azzi carried us early but Cowan and Mutombo played like seniors.”
Gonzaga established itself early as Williams scored his team’s last six points during a 9-2 run, giving the Eagles an 18-9 first quarter lead.
Gonzaga (27-6) threatened to put the game away in the second period on the scoring Gill who scored nine of his team’s 13 points to open a 13-point lead before the Cadets (23-10) reduced the deficit to 29-22, compliments of the trio of Darius Maddox, Ishmael Leggett and Casey Morsell.
The Eagles were able to keep the Cadets at bay until Morsell helped fuel a 14-4 run that got his team to within 55-53 with just under a minute remaining.
But Williams, whose stock continues to rise among recruiters, made sure that Gonzaga would not falter as he converted five of six free throws down the stretch. The 6-7 junior led all scorers with 20 despite sitting out for an extended period with foul trouble while Gill chipped in with 19.
“We have battled injuries all season so we have had players who had to step up,” Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner said of Williams’ foul trouble. “I am especially happy for Gill because he was focused on winning a championship all season.”
The St. John’s girls team and the both Gonzaga and St. John’s boys will play in the DCSAA tournament beginning Wednesday with the championship scheduled for Sunday at the new St. Elizabeths Sports and Entertainment Arena in southeast Washington.