• Milwaukee Washington Survived Close Game Against Milwaukee South

    Determined to find a way and a will to win, Milwaukee Washington fought back from a huge deficit to survive a close game at home, Feb. 8, against Milwaukee South. The Cardinals made the Purgolders sweat in the 74-71 final.

    The win by Washington plus wins by Vincent, King and Hamilton didn't change the position of the City Conference leaderboard. All four teams have a 9-1 conference record, which still makes it a four-way tie for the top spot.

    South (7-4) was looking for the upset and had the momentum in the first half. They had the crowd stunned on parent and alumni night and got star player Jamaar McKay in early foul trouble with two fouls at the 2 minute mark of the first quarter. McKay stayed in the game. The Purgolders trailed 24-18 after one quarter.

    Watching Washington for the first time this season left the impression that they had no business beating Vincent or winning eight in a row before the South game or giving Hamilton their only loss of the season. Something changed after their 3-7 start.

    The Cardinals had a 10-point lead in the second quarter and kept the Purgolders guessing with their quickness and fast break points, but they also had only eight available players and played seven. Give credit to Washington coach Freddie Riley for motivating his team in the locker room after trailing at the half 42-35.

    It didn't look as if Washington would dig themselves from that hole when McKay and Marvin Wynn picked up their third and fourth fouls, respectively in the third quarter. The Purgolders used an aggressive half-court trap to force defensive turnovers and chipped away at South's lead.

    After a three-point shot in the left corner by Washington's Nate Hubbard-Cole at the buzzer to end the third quarter, the Purgolders had a 57-55 advantage and their fans behind them chanting "Wash House!"

    After Deonta Williams' three cut the Washington lead to 69-67 for South, the Cardinals got the ball back but lost it out of bounds. McKay came to the rescue with a layup from an out of bounds baseball pass from the sideline opposite the South bench to make it 71-69 and got a key rebound off a missed shot by the Cardinals. McKay didn't disappoint with his 24 points in the game to get the threee-point win.

    With a week of action to go, things will get interesting for the City title. Washington plays at Bay View and at home against Milwaukee North. King plays at Hamilton before closing out the regular season at home against Milwaukee Pulaski. Vincent will play Career Tech and Ed (formally Milwaukee Custer) at home and against Hamilton on the road. Hamilton's last two home games will be the toughest as they play King and Vincent.

    The City title could go down to the wire. If all four teams win the rest of their conference games, then Washington should win the City for the first time in four years. A loss in the final two league games by the Purgolders and that could be all she wrote. That would open the door for Vincent, Hamilton or King to win the league title.