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Ballou's big debut

Considering how the boys’ teams from the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association have struggled so much in recent years against those from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, as well as other private school leagues, it was natural to be skeptical about Ballou touting itself as one of the top teams in the area.

The Knights, however, opened their season Saturday night with a pretty resounding retort.

Ballou went up to Baltimore and handily beat defending Maryland 3A champion Lake Clifton, 68-54.

While they led for much of the game, the Knights held a six-point edge going into the fourth quarter, when Lake Clifton went to full-court pressure to try to speed the tempo and force Ballou into some mistakes.

“That’s when we said we’re gonna show them what pressure really is,” Ballou Coach Jenkins Dormu said.

The Knights’ pressure and traps spurred them to 10 straight points to put the game out of reach.

As has been the case the past two seasons, Ballou’s success has hinged upon whether standout senior guard Donte Thomas gets some help and doesn’t feel the burden of carrying the team.

That dynamic might change this season with the addition of senior point guard Zalmico Harmon, who transferred from O’Connell. That allowed Thomas to move off the ball and roam the court without the ball to create his own shot.

Against Lake Clifton, Thomas scored a game-high 29 points, but it was Harmon's 17 points that were the difference, according to Dormu.

Harmon “is one of the best-kept secrets, as far as point guards go,” Dormu said. “He’s strong, he’s tough, and he can play.”

And if you missed this one, you still have another shot to see them play. They will meet as part of the Basketball Academy invitational Jan. 14-16 at Morgan State. It’s an 18-game event spread out over two days featuring boys’ and girls’ teams from the District and Baltimore. Ballou and Lake Clifton will play right in the middle of the event – 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. The rest of the schedule is here, and there are some pretty good matchups, including, KIMA boys against defending Maryland 1A champion Digital Harbor. Riverdale Baptist’s girls’, meantime, will play Digital Harbor, which won last year’s girls’ 1A title and Western, a state semifinalist.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  December 7, 2009; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  Ballou , Boys' basketball  
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If Donte Thomas does not make the Washington Post, 1st Team All-Met this year, you all should be ashamed of yourselves. This kid has been playing lights out, ever since he was in the 9th grade. Look at his body of work and watch Ballou this season.

Posted by: drew_gaston | December 7, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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