Jonathan Williams put up some big numbers, but the big sophomore and his Southwind mates were more than happy to get out of packed, noisy Germantown High with a 70-63 win in Friday night’s District 15-AAA opener for both teams.
“That’s a good, scrappy team that we never could put away,” Jaguars coach Paul Edwards said of a rebuilding Germantown bunch that almost erased a 13-point deficit in the third quarter. “It’s a good learning experience for us, but we’re still learning.”
Williams struggled early but came on to finish with 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead Southwind (8-1), ranked fifth in the Dandy Dozen.
“I was fighting being tired more than anything else,” said Williams, who missed several close shots, a dunk and was 8-of-15 from the foul line.
“We had a couple of hard days of practice before this,” Edwards said. “You might say these kids have been in lab.”
“It’s not the coach’s fault,” Williams said. “He’s just trying to get us better.”
Some strong early spurts by senior Jujuan Johnson, who had 12 of his 16 points by halftime, and sophomore forward Kedorian Sullivan, who had eight of his 10, kept Southwind steady early. Two late baskets by Dre’Sean Looney and a last-second three-point play by Williams opened a 42-31 Southwind lead. Williams scored the first basket of the second half.
“We had them by the throat and let them go,” said Edwards, whose squad hit only 20 of 34 free throws. “Miss that many free throws and you won’t put teams away.”
But Germantown went on a 3-pointer run, the last of which by sophomore Deckie Johnson closed the gap to 51-49 with 21/2 minutes left in the third quarter — and this game was a nervous proposition until Southwind’s twin towers, and its trap defense, started to break down the pesky, persistent Red Devils in the final five minutes.
“We’re so young, and we didn’t have any height to play with them, but our kids worked hard and made some good things happen,” said first-year Germantown coach Darryle Rogers, an assistant on Melrose’s state championship squad last season. “We’ll learn and build on this.”
Junior point guard Martavious Perkins led Germantown with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and added a half-dozen assists. Johnson had 15 points — 14 after the break — and senior Terik Hill added 11 for the Red Devils.