When the Roosevelt Rough Riders stepped onto the Verizon Center court, they weren’t intimidated by the bright lights or the packed crowd. They wanted to win, and they wanted to do it on their terms. The Maret Frogs are known for their very structured style of play, but Roosevelt thrives on fast breaks, and they weren’t about to be slowed down.

Roosevelt senior point guard Johnnie Shuler had 11 points and five assists as Roosevelt beat Maret, 57-53, in the District of Columbia State Athletic Association Tournament (DCSAA) Championship on March 6.

Shuler had the play of the game in the first quarter, stunning the crowd with a ferocious dunk over a Maret player.

“That was my first dunk in a real game,” said Shuler. “I was shocked.”

Troy Stancil, Roosevelt’s senior sharpshooter, also had a big night and earned the game’s most valuable player award with 15 points—12 of which came on three-pointers. Stancil was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in the second half.

“My coach always told me if I’m open and I’ve made that shot before, shoot it,” Stancil said after the game. “Don’t matter where I am…even from the parking lot.”

Maret blew out Roosevelt on Dec. 13 and was a tough opponent the second time around despite Roosevelt’s fast-paced game. The Frogs went on a 10-2 run in the second quarter, and senior forward Jalen Barnes scored 14 points in the second half. But ultimately, Stancil’s heat from the three-point line sealed the deal for Roosevelt.

“We were hungry to get back,” said Roosevelt head coach Rob Nickens. “We lost the championship last year, and to come up short on that stage, the whole mindset was to work a little harder.”

Roosevelt lost to Coolidge High School in last year’s DCIAA championship game. This year, Roosevelt won 10 straight games and defeated rivals Coolidge and H.D. Woodson to take home both the DCIAA and DCSAA titles.

Their strategy was simple, Shuler said.

“We just tried to be us,” he said. “Every single night.” 


Breana Pitts

Special to the AFRO