RIVERDALE — In the marquee matchup of the DMV Classic between the top two teams in the area, Rock Creek Christian Academy and Wise, all Brent Pegram and his teammates could think about are the losses RCCA handed them in summer league.
“We took this game personal,” Pegram said. “They beat us two times in summer league, and beat us for the championship in our gym. Ever since then, we knew we was going to get our chance at them again and beat them when it counts.”
The highly anticipated game did not disappoint as Wise not only talked the talk but walked the walk in their 64-58 triumph on Saturday night at Parkdale High School in front of a standing-room only crowd.
Pegram set the tone early with his physical play and energetic words, helping the Pumas to a 12-6 lead in the first quarter. RCCA’s Jermaine Harris scored eight quick points to cut into the Pumas’ advantage, but Wise still led at the end of the first quarter, 23-21 first quarter.
Pegram’s 11 points all came in the first quarter.
The second quarter proved to be a huge confidence booster for the Pumas as they built on the lead they mounted. Fireworks ensued midway in the second quarter as Kenyante Williams from RCCA and Wise’s Darron Barnes traded frenzied dunks. Wise held a 33-26 lead at the time and then increased it to 41-32 at halftime when Barnes (10 points) and Michael Speight (10 points) scored eight and five points respectively during the frame.
RCCA flipped the script in the third quarter, running off a 14-6 push that gave them a 46-44 lead after Jermaine Harris hit a hook shot in the post. Not much went right for Wise in the third period, and the rim appeared smaller and smaller for them as the quarter went on.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Pegram said. “We knew RCCA was going to make their run. Coach just told us be poised and play defense.”
Wise responded when Speight hit a floater to tie the game at 46-all heading into the final quarter.
The lead changed hands for majority of the fourth quarter and it was tied four times before Brent Pegram provided the play that helped hold a 60-58 lead with under a minute left.
“(Pegram) is one of the only kids I know who on the defensive end can win a basketball game by himself,” Wise Coach Rob Gardner said. “That’s his core and his strength. That’s what makes him really good and our leader.”
Mike Speight sealed the win with four free throws making the score 62-58 and 64-58 in the final minute.
Wise (14-0) will hope to stay undefeated when they play Bladensburg next week. RCCA, meanwhile, lost their first game of the season and will look to bounce back against Middleburg Academy.