While his teammates celebrated another win 12 nights ago, Williamsport guard Isaiah Washington headed for the hospital. Ravaged by the flu, Washington had sparingly played against Hollidaysburg and could barely breathe afterward.
Saturday night, Washington threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk in the third quarter, leaving no doubt that he was back to full strength. Actually, the dunk was just the icing and his overall performance made the biggest point.
Washington scored a team-high 19 points, dealt six assists and made three steals as Williamsport defeated White Plains, N.Y., 67-58 in the final game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Williamsport Showcase.
Jahad Thomas of Williamsport shoots as Marshan Morris of White Plains (NY)?defends Saturday at Williamsport.
"I really couldn't breathe well so that was tough. I did go to the hospital and they gave me some medicine and an inhaler to help me breathe and vitamins to keep me upbeat because I was feeling weak from it," Washington said. "I'm used to playing through things so whether I'm at 80 or 90 percent or whatever I'm at, I feel like I'm at full speed now."
The Penn State recruit had a hand in 31 of Williamsport's 67 points and helped the Millionaires overcome a sluggish performance that had both players and coach Allen Taylor feeling more like they lost than won afterward. Washington consistently found Jahad Thomas and Chris Kinley underneath in the second half, hit 8 of 9 foul shots and scored six fourth-quarter points as Williamsport (14-2) finally pulled away and won its fifth straight.
"A game like this you just have to be happy that you won and got through it," Washington said. "You just have to learn from what you did wrong and improve the next time you get out there, but a win is a win."
The Millionaires struggled in most facets for much of the game and led by just five entering the fourth quarter. They had trailed late in the first half but ended it on a 6-0 run and took a 30-26 lead they never relinquished.
Had White Plains not been in foul trouble, Williamsport might have been in trouble. The Millionaires made 26 of 34 foul shots and feasted inside when two of the Tigers post players picked up their fourth fouls. Williamsport scored eight straight points at the foul line early in the fourth quarter and opened on a 14-2 run that stretched the lead to 62-45.
"The only thing good about the performance was we won. We lacked a little passion, a little fire and a little enthusiasm," Taylor said. "We didn't share the ball or move the ball the way we did the last game and we gave a lackluster effort on the defensive end. You can't develop those bad habits. You don't come out and play the scoreboard. You don't play the opponent, you just do what you do and we didn't go out there and play Millionaire basketball tonight."
Thomas complemented Washington, recording a double-double. The all-state forward scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dealt four assists and had a hand in nine of the team's 14 first-quarter points. He and Washington did most of the damage for the first three quarters, but Kinley took charge in the fourth.
The Navy-bound center scored 10 of his 15 points in the final eight minutes and also grabbed eight rebounds. Kinley scored 10 straight fourth-quarter points at one point and made all seven of his shots from the floor and the line.
"When you have three guys coming at you like that, it's pretty tough to guard," Washington said. "When all three of us are clicking it makes it pretty easy to play because you can't just focus on trying to stop one person because there are two others to guard."
The Millionaires raced out to a 7-0 lead but struggled for the rest of the half and trailed 26-24 with a minute remaining. Guard Mike Dimello shredded Williamsport's defense and scored 16 of his game-high 21 points during that span. White Plains also was winning the battle of the boards and getting repeated second and third-chance scoring opportunities.
Williamsport opened a quick nine-point lead in the third quarter but could not deliver a knockout blow as White Plains pulled within 46-41. The Millionaires hurt themselves with 22 turnovers, many unforced.
"We have played poor like this before and lost so this feels better than losing but we definitely need to address some things because we have six games left and then the preseason will be over and than the season really begins," Taylor said. "If we want to be able to make some noise and make a run we can't develop these bad habits."
Williamsport will try and play better Monday when it hosts Jersey Shore before playing Bartram next Saturday.
White Plains (58)
Chris Jordan 1 0-0 2, Devon Thomas 1 0-0 2, Marshon Morris 4 4-4 12, Rexler Loel 0 0-0 0, Aaron Daugherty 3 1-2 7, Justin Tapper 2 0-0 5, Quincy Bells 1 1-2 3, Mike DeMello 9 0-0 21, Nathaniel Hutson 1 0-0 2, Kevin Trapp 0 0-0 0, Ben Moss 0 0-0 0, Robert Morden 2 0-2 4. Totals 24 6-10 58
Nyric Gosley 0 0-0 0, Jahad Thomas 6 5-7 17, Herb Stelly 1 0-0 3, Tyler Gardner 0 0-2 0, Thomas Ross 1 0-0 3, Isaiah Washington 5 8-10 19, Achilles Watson 1 3-4 5, Brandon Fedoriw 0 3-4 3, Chris kinley 4 7-8 15, Nadir Boone 1 0-0 2, Greg Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 26-35 67
White Plains 14 12 15 17 - 58
Williamsport 17 13 16 21 - 67
3 point goals: White Plains 4 (DeMello 3, Tapper); Williamsport 3 (Stelly, Ross, Washington)
Record: Williamsport 14-2, White Plains 2-11
Next Game: Jersey Shore at Williamsport on Monday