With ten seconds left in overtime, Antanayne Tucker did not expect to be under the basket with the ball in her hands. But there she was, and Bell’s freshman forward delivered under pressure.
Tucker scored the game-winning layup in overtime to lift the Griffins over the Wilson Tigers, 62-60, in the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) championship game on Feb. 25.
“It was intense. There were a lot of emotions going through my head,” said Tucker after the game, smiling widely. “I just wanted to make the shot.”
This marks Bell’s first appearance in the DCIAA title game in school history. For Bell head coach Reggie Taylor, this is only the beginning for the promising basketball program.
“We came a long way. We had two wins last year, and we had two losses in our division this year,” said Taylor, “With us winning this, it’s only going to bring more kids.”
With only one senior and three juniors, Bell has a relatively young team, but their poise and command on the court indicates that age is just a number. Tucker, along with freshmen guards Daija Gallion and Alexandra Hall, combined for 26 points, while junior guard—and game MVP—Rayonna Marshall added 20 points.
“We went after every rebound, every steal. We played with our hearts, tears, and left it all on the court,” said Marshall.
The last time the two teams met on Jan. 31, Bell defeated Wilson with an exciting, one-point victory. Wilson went on to win eight consecutive games, led by sophomore guard Tytilayo Green and DCIAA player of the year, senior forward Mercedes Suarez.
“They definitely have a good shooter in No. 15 (Green) and they have an inside presence with Mercedes (Suarez),” said Taylor. “My thing was to put pressure on those two, and limit their time touching the basketball.”
Green went 5-for-8 from behind the three-point line to score a game-high 21 points, while Suarez was held to only six points.