Dunbar guard Zy'aire Hairston looks to shoot over Banneker forward Naki Cobb during Dunbar's 63-35 win in the 2020 DCIAA championship game at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C. on Feb. 16. (John E. De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
Dunbar guard Zy'aire Hairston looks to shoot over Banneker forward Naki Cobb during Dunbar's 63-35 win in the 2020 DCIAA championship game at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C. on Feb. 16. (John E. De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

Zyaire Hairston showed why she is the most dominant player in the league, recording a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists to lead Dunbar to a 63-35 win over Banneker, while Theodore Roosevelt got a game-high 19 from James Pitts off the bench to come from behind in a thrilling 66-63 victory over Woodrow Wilson in the girls and boys DCIAA championships Sunday at Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast.

Using the same formula that they had used all season in dominating their opponents, defending champion Dunbar bolted out to a 43-11 halftime lead and never looked back in capturing their second straight title.

“We played a game like we have all season,” said Dunbar head coach Shayla Williams, who is building the Crimson Tide into a local power. “The key to it is that they stay hungry and never take anyone lightly.”

Brown, a sophomore guard who is quickly becoming regarded as one of the top young guards in the country, did all her damage despite playing only 19 minutes (the high school has a 30-point rule where the clock has to run continuously until the lead gets down to 20 points; the team with the advantage also has to take out its starting five during that period).

Hairston plays with a style and flair beyond her years. Her biggest asset is the ability to find her teammates with her laser-like passes.

“I don’t care a lot about scoring,” said the soft-spoken Hairston, who was the tournament MVP last season. “The main thing is that I care about is winning — I like to win.”

In the boys game, it was a matchup of the eighth-ranked Tigers, the two-time defending champions, and the seventh-ranked Rough Riders (29-1), which defeated Wilson (23-4) in their only encounter early in the season.

The game was intense from the tipoff with the two teams playing to a 14-14 tie at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers, using their decided length advantage combined with the play of Nasir Best, Darren Buchanan Jr. and Jay Young, got a bit of breathing room with a 33-28 halftime lead.

The Tigers led by as many as nine on three different occasions in the third quarter, but Buchanan and two other starters were shackled with foul trouble, which changed the complexion of the game.

The Rough Riders rode the scoring of Pitts, a junior guard, who tallied 14 of his 19 in the final quarter. Pitts converted on 10 of 11 free throws to take advantage of the Tigers’ foul trouble.

“I expect to hit them,” Pitts said confidently of his efficiency at the charity stripe. “I shoot 100 free throws every day just for moments like this.”

For Roosevelt coach Rob Nickens, it was especially sweet. He has not won a title in three years and suffered a blowout loss to Wilson in the championship game last season.

“This is very emotional for me,” said Nickens, the dean of the coaches in the DCIAA. “Give Wilson credit. They have had one hell of a run. But these kids have worked hard for this and it is gratifying to see them rewarded for their hard work along with the dedication of the coaching staff.”

Both teams await the pairings in the DCSAA tournament in a couple of weeks.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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