Taft Gantt ‘20
After a slow 0-3 start, the Tigers have bounced back well to finish the first half of the season 5-5. Woodberry has won three of its last four games and averaged nearly 56 points per game.
The Tigers biggest game of the season came when they went to Alexandria, Virginia, to play against arch-rival Episcopal High School. Woodberry broke its 12-game losing streak to the Goons by winning 52-42 to capture Coach Craig Dawson’s first ever win against EHS.
“It was such a satisfying win,” said starting point guard Jameel Wilson. “Especially after losing to them this past football season. We were all pumped.”
The Tigers finished the first half of its season strong with wins over Fork Union Military Academy, 48-38, and Christ Church 46-40.
Coach Dawson, who is in his fifth year at Woodberry, is pleased with his team’s performance so far this season. The strength of Woodberry has come on the defense side of the ball.
“The team has really competed on the defensive side of the ball at a high level,” Coach Dawson said. “Each night,we’ve given ourselves a chance in games by defending. We’ve made it tough on our opponents to get quality looks and have done a good job of rebounding the ball.”
Woodberry started its season with loses to Flint Hill, St. Albans, and Highland. Next, the Tigers traveled to Fredericksburg Academy to capture its first win of the season, 101-68, in an impressive offensive performance. The Tigers then traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on St. David’s School. The Tigers defeated the Warriors, 58-54, led by Max Johns’ 23 points in front of a favorable crowd of Woodberry alum. Woodberry lost their next two games on the road to Trinity Episcopal, 83-49, and St. Chris, 55-68.
Coach Dawson does see room for improvement on his primarily veteran roster, which has seven seniors, three of whom are starters.
“I think there are three main areas where we need to improve,” Dawson said. “The first would be consistent execution on the offensive end. We get stagnant and too one dimensional at times. Secondly, we need to cut out the unforced turnovers, the turnovers that we can control. Lastly, we must shoot free-throws with more confidence. Right now, we get fouled and it’s an adventure to go to the free-throw line. Once again, all things that we can control, so I feel good about the strides we can make.”
Senior captain Max Johns is leading the Tigers with 20.5 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. On January 10, he committed to Princeton University to continue his basketball dominance at the collegiate level.
Throughout the season, Johns has been phenomenal for the Tigers. After tearing his ACL during soccer season and missing all of last year’s basketball schedule, Johns is finally back balling out in the historic Dick Gym. With incredible dunks and blockbuster rejections, Johns has been the talk around campus throughout the winter season.
“It was a little shaky at first,” Johns said about the team’s performance so far this season. “But we’ve really picked it up in the last few games, and hopefully we can continue that going forward.”
The Tigers will look to continue its momentum as they take on St. Anne’s-Belfield January 23rd and try to have a winning record for the first time all season.