Atoms take down Titans, advance to district semi-finals

Additional Photography by A.J. McCafferty

As the crowd stormed the court, the AHS varsity basketball team knew they had done something great. For four years, T.C. Williams HS has been atop the Patriot District. On Friday, Feb. 19, that reign came to an end with the Atoms beating the Titans 51-48 in the first round of the district tournament.

“It feels great!” said junior forward Karl Ziegler. “It was a relief to finally beat them after four years.”

The second seeded Atoms were in control for most of the first half, carrying an 11-point lead into halftime, 32-21. The seventh seeded Titans steadily cut into the lead in the third and fourth quarters, however, making the game a close one. With about two minutes left in the game, AHS clung to a four-point lead. The teams traded baskets and free throws until TC was down just three with about a minute remaining and a player at the line for three shots. The AHS fans did their part, and, amid ear-piercing screams, the player missed the first of the three shots all but sealing a victory for the Atoms. The Titans continued to foul AHS players to stop the clock, but the Atoms made just enough of their free throws to come away with the 3-point win.

Ziegler led the Atoms with 15 points and junior Melvin Robinson had 11 points. Senior guard Yousef Samey added 8 points, while juniors D’Angelo Boyce and Ronnie McCoy each had 6.

With the win, the Atoms advanced to the Patriot District semi-finals and secured a berth in the Northern Region Tournament. They face West Potomac HS today, Feb. 20, at 7 pm at TC Williams HS. The Wolverines advanced by defeating Lake Braddock, 56-43. AHS and West Potomac split their regular season games, each team winning on its home floor. The Atoms won the last game (Feb. 16) on a buzzer beater by senior Chris Sheehy.

“We just need to get some rest, come out [against West Potomac] like we did against T.C., and work together as a team,” said Boyce, who is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13 points per game.

In the two games with TC Williams earlier this year, the Titans won the games handily. These victories, along with 10 other ones, ended up having to be forfeited, however, due to two ineligible fifth year seniors on the TC roster. These forfeits are what cost the Titans the first seed in the district and was the reason that the 2 vs. 7 matchup in the district tournament turned out to be so close.

“If we had lost that game, it would’ve been total crap,” said junior fan Andy Craig. “We were the second seeded team and had to play one of the best teams in the district. It’s not really fair but thank god we won.”