Boys Basketball: Washington edges Mission to win first AAA title in 29 years

Washington senior Brenden Glapion pushes the ball up court against Mission on Friday at Kezar Pavilion. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Bonta Hill

In one of the most thrilling Academic Athletic Association boys basketball championships in recent memory, Washington High School broke its 29-year title drought in dramatic fashion.

With 1,300 raucous spectators at Kezar Pavilion, Washington won their first league championship since 1982, winning a thrilling 75-72 contest over the defending champion Mission.

Washington senior forward LeVander Moore rises up for a rebound against Mission on Friday at Kezar Pavilion. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

“It’s a great feeling to win one [for] Washington. There have been a lot of teams to wear a Washington uniform and never get as far as we did,” said Washington head Jolinko Lassiter. “This is not only for the school, but for the alumni as well. This championship is for them, as well as all our supporters.”

Unfortunately, moments after the final horn, an altercation in the bleachers broke out and spilled out on the court, temporarily souring a great night of basketball by the two public schools..

After splitting two meetings during the regular season, the rubber match provided plenty of highlights throughout the night.

Blocked shots, clutch shooting, and Mission’s Gione Edwards improbable basket while he was sitting, all made up one of the most scintillating games this season.

But the Eagles will be enjoying the following weeks just a little bit more, as they got 27 points, seven rebounds, and a 14-for-16 performance at the free throw line from standout senior guard Brenden Glapion.

He wasn’t alone in the party, as the Eagles got a double-double from senior forward LeVander Moore, who finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds, and four steals, while Johnny Fu chipped in 15 points off the bench for the Eagles.

“It was a great team win tonight. Johnny, LeVander, everyone contributed,” Glapion said. “All the hard work, the sprints, waking up at 7 a.m. for practice…This feels great, just great.”

Things heated up in the second frame after the game stood at 10-10 after the first eight minutes of action.

Mission went on a 10-2 run sparked by sophomore guard Antoine Porter, who scored eight of his team-high 27 points during the spurt that put the Bears up 28-26 with two minutes left in the half.

But Washington closed the half on a 10-3 run capped by Moore’s layup off a Glapion assist with two seconds left that sent the Eagles soaring into the half up 36-31.

The Eagles rode that momentum into the third frame and took their biggest lead of the game on a Glapion three-pointer that gave Washington a 45-35 lead early in the quarter.

Just when it seemed Washington was getting into a comfort zone, Mission finished the third period on a furious run.

A 12-2 run in the last three minutes of the quarter knotted the contest up at 53-53, as Porter scored five straight, including an NBA-range three-pointer that set the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter.

“In that run, we were just trying to stay composed and run our offense,” Porter said. “We knew they had foul trouble, so we just attacked them hard.”

Mission would take their first lead of the second half off an Porter jumper, giving the Bears a 62-60 lead with 3:50 left.

Washington stayed composed though, and went on a 6-0 run to recapture the lead. Then, up 75-68 with 40 seconds left, it seemed the championship was in the bag for the Eagles, but the defending champs didn’t quit.

A Porter three-pointer cut the lead to 75-72 with 30 seconds left and fouled Glapion, who hadn’t missed a free throw all night.

But Glapion missed both free throws, and Mission had a chance to send the game into overtime.

In a wild sequence, the Bears would miss a three and steal the ball back, to only turn it over by stepping out of bounds. But the Eagles again gave the Bears life, turning the ball over on the inbounds play with nine seconds left.

Mission’s last shot, a Porter three-pointer at the buzzer, fell short, and the celebrating began on the Washington side, as their students rushed the court, ready to embrace the newly-crowned champions.

“It was a fun game and it was meant to showcase the AAA, which happened for 32 minutes,” said Mission head coach Arnold Zelaya. “I’m proud of my guys. They went hard [and] didn’t quit. But, we were sloppy, and Washington out-hustled us and outplayed us, and they deserve the championship.”

For Washington, the game will be remembered fondly in the Richmond for years to come.

“I’m speechless,” Moore said shaking his head. “It’s just a blur. It’s just amazing. It’s what sports is all about.”

Scoring Leaders

Washington
Brenden Glapion – 27
LeVander Moore – 17
Johnny Fu – 15
Jeremy Jetton – 12
Two players tied with 2 points

Mission
Antoine Porter – 27
Gione Edwards – 13
Jaleel Stancil – 11
Alec Tatum – 9
Travis Price-Moku – 5

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14 Comments

  1. airball says:

    Too bad this wasn’t a seven game series! Both teams were more then “game” last night. Virtually every player that hit the floor last night contributed one way or another. Washington proved just a little bit better in the end (It always helps to have the best player in the game on your team). And has it really been 29 years since their last title? Congratulations to Washington! Good luck to both teams in Norcals next week. And not to look to far ahead, but watchout for Mission next season. They will be the preseason favorites.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good win Washington.

  3. Simon Ma says:

    I think both teams played really well, Cept Washington’s way better than Mission. GO EAGLES!!!

  4. timmy and max says:

    i think simon is the next brenden glapion of washington!

  5. basketball fan says:

    not enough defense for my money, neither team will go far with that kind of defensive effort in nor cals.

  6. An Old Eagle says:

    somewhere Coach A, Coach McGrath and Phil Smith are smiling down on the Eagles, good job by both teams and too bad about the post game fight

  7. Wash Fan says:

    Great game by Johnny Fu who has been dogged by injuries all season, I believe that he was the difference in the game.

  8. Aaafan says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of this game on comcast or watch again

  9. Anonymous says:

    @Aaafan – You can purchase the game on CalHiSports

  10. anonymus says:

    Im sure the comissioner will have a copy

  11. bballfan says:

    You can watch the game on Comcast ON Demand if you have it. It should be in the sports section. Brenden Glapion’s name is misspelled in the article. Johnny Fu and Nick Lam did a great job tonight in addition to the usual Glapion, Jetton and Moore.

  12. BB FAN says:

    misssion was not even suppose to be there. no talent.

  13. Ricky Johnson says:

    Man this was the best game of the year. Both teams was dogging and they should have enough talent to make it all the way to the state title. yeeh. SHIEEEMP.

  14. AAA says:

    Outside of the last 1:30 of the third quarter when mission went on a run to tie the game going into the fourth, and the last :30 of the game when Washington couldn’t put it away from the ft line those were the only two minutes in the entire game Mission played well. The other 30 minutes Washington controlled the game and outplayed/out-coached Mission.

    Mission came in too loose and looked like during warmups the attitude of “we got this one” and it showed on the court with Washington outplaying them.

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