The J.E.B. Stuart Raiders headed to the National District semifinals tournament on Thursday to take on the Mount Vernon Majors for the third time this season; however, their tournament run would end there, losing 64-59.
Mount Vernon ended the first quarter up one point and stretched their lead to a whopping two points by halftime, leading 31-29.
The Majors then began playing lockdown defense in the third quarter against the Raiders, and that proved to be the difference maker. By the end of the third quarter, their lead had ballooned up to nine points, and despite a three-pointer from Raider sophomore Antonio Harris to cut the lead to 61-56 with 20 seconds left in the game, the Raiders were never in a position to challenge the Majors in the second half. The Raiders were led by junior forward Mahamed Ibrahim’s 21 points, Harris’ 17 and junior center Raymond Watson’s 15; however, the rest of the team only contributed six points overall, which was not enough to overtake the Majors. Mount Vernon advanced to play Yorktown in the finals, where the Majors ultimately lost 60-56.
Stuart’s season would not end on Wednesday night however, as strong season earned them a berth into the Regional Conference Tournament with a first-round matchup against Langley. The Saxons, fresh off beating McLean by 21 points in Liberty District finals, came in with an air of invincibility and it showed, as the Saxons crushed the Raiders, 72-33.
Much like in the Saxons' Liberty District finals game against McLean, seniors Ahmed Malik and Ryan Davenport were once again the stars for Langley, scoring 17 points apiece. Their contributions alone outscored the entire Raider team. Harris led the way for the Raiders with a team-high 12 points; he was the only Raider to score in double digits, with Watson being held to seven points and Ibrahim held to six.
Langley jumped out to a 36-16 lead by halftime, and the game was more or less over by then. Six three-point field goals for Langley did not help the Raiders’ upset bid.
Despite a disappointing end to the season, the Raider boys did have a season to remember, and their advancement to the National District semifinals should have teams on alert for the Raiders next year. With Ibrahim, Watson and Harris all returning, J.E.B. Stuart will not be an easy out for anyone next year, and should make some serious noise in the National District.