When it was finally over, when the buzzer sounded and the scoreboard showed a two-point Wilson lead now carved into school history, Ayinde Hikim rose toward the rim and, with a big smile, threw in a dunk that triggered the celebration.
It was that time. Up 29 with one minute left in the D.C. State Athletic Association final, No. 1 St. John’s made two substitutions. What would be a 65-40 victory over Georgetown Visitation, its fourth title in five years, was the last game of a dominant 32-2 season, and it was time for some sideline hugs.
Wilson won the tip and got the ball to point guard Ayinde Hikim. He took two or three dribbles to his left and turned to the basket. He lofted the ball toward the hoop.
“Backdoor!” yelled a voice from the Gonzaga bench.
St. John’s junior guard Carly Rivera stood on the left wing with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter at Bender Arena, palms outstretched as teammate Azzi Fudd started her drive to the paint before turning her body and dishing the ball in Rivera’s direction.
In an effortless catch-and-shoot motion, Rivera swung the ball back to her body and lifted up, knocking down her fourth three-pointer of Monday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls’ title game and giving No. 1 St. John’s a 10-point lead en route to a 54-49 victory over No. 2 Paul VI.
DeMatha Coach Mike Jones was sobbing into a white towel on the sideline. Junior guard Jahmir Young was breaking out the dance moves in the middle of a mob of DeMatha players toward the far end of the court. Junior guard Justin Moore was standing with his family and holding back tears as he FaceTimed with DeMatha alum and No. 1 pick of the 2017 NBA draft, Markelle Fultz, who told him congratulations.