Dec 1, 2016

Capital All-Stars 87, U.S. All-Stars 79

THE STREAK IS BROKEN Johnson, Morley Shine As Locals Pull Out Classic Victory

Sooner or later, you knew it had to happen. The Capital All-Stars had lost their first four games of this annual event by an average of 21 points, and most knowledgeable observers didn’t expect much to change in the 1978 game. The US team, as always, was loaded with talent: 6-7 Mark Aguirre, 6-9 Carlton “Scooter” McRay, 6-9 Guy Morgan and 6-11 Rudy Woods. The tallest player for the underdog locals was 6-7 Bryant Johnson of Spingarn High. But somebody forgot to deliver the script to the locker room of the Capital All-Stars. Johnson, Dutch Morley (DeMatha), and Eric Smith (Churchill) would emerge as the stars of the show as the Capital All-Stars defeated the US team 87-79. Smith scored 10 points early, triggering an 18-4 Capital All-Star spurt that gave the locals a 25-14 lead after one quarter. The US team didn’t waste any time mounting a comeback, scoring the first ten points of the second quarter. The locals bent, but refused to break, and clung to a 47-41 half-time advantage. It was the ability to bend, but not break, that earned the Capital All-Stars their first victory in five games. Mark Aguirre (Detroit Pistons) and Rudy Woods rallied their team in the final quarter as the US erased an eight point deficit to tie the score at 69 with just 6:48 to play. But again, the locals held their ground. Playing a harassing zone defense, the Capital All-Stars help their US counterparts scoreless for three minutes, built another six-point lead, and held on to win. Bryant Johnson finished with 15 points and a Capital Classic record 20 rebounds (Ralph Sampson would eventually break Johnson’s mark in 1979.) He and Dutch Morley shared MVP accolades for the Capital All-Stars, while Dwight Anderson collected the MVP award for the US team.

Mark Aguirre leading the break

Bryant Johnson #23 with the mid-range jumper

1978 “Mr. Basketball” and Capital All-Star Eric Smith

Mark Aguirre visiting Children’s Hospital