Cleveland High basketball fans have this little question-and-answer cheer they trot out each game. Some times, it seems, it's a bit more appropriate than others.
Q: "Who rocks the house?"
A: "Cleveland rocks the house."
Tuesday night at Kennedy, the house did, in fact, rock. Or something like that.
"I hate playing here," Cleveland Coach Bob Braswell said. "The rims are rock hard and the floor is like cement. We never do well offensively in this place."
Cleveland did not exactly sparkle on offense, but the Cavaliers did well enough to squeeze out a 63-59 Valley League win. It was the 13th consecutive win for the Cavaliers (17-2, 9-1 in league play), who remained in a first-place tie in league with Fairfax.
It took a pair of free throws by Cleveland point guard Adonis Jordan with six seconds left, giving the Cavaliers a four-point lead, before the issue was settled.
Jordan, who finished with a team-high 13 points, was nearly the fall guy after missing the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left. Kennedy's Uba Satterfield hit two free-throws with nine seconds left to cut the Cavalier lead to two, but Jordan was fouled on an inbounds pass by Randy Brown.
"I missed the first one," said Jordan, a junior, "so I knew I had to be real careful and take my time on the second one. The first one wasn't as important, but the second was real important."
Jordan made both attempts as the Kennedy crowd tried to harass him in their own rocking fashion.
"They get loud here, and they're really close," he said. "Sometimes you can't really hear what plays are being called."
Cleveland called dozens of plays in the first half--few of which worked. The Cavaliers trailed, 29-28, at halftime after making only 10 of 36 field-goal attempts.
"It seemed like the rims were hard," Jordan said. "They don't have those break-away kind that snap back like ours do. We didn't get any bounces."
In the second half, however, Cleveland used a 9-1 run to finish the third quarter with a 41-37 lead. Only the shooting of Satterfield (19 points), who made a three-point shot with 2:02 left to make it 54-51, kept the Cougars (15-3, 7-3) alive.
Poor shot selection eventually helped end Kennedy's chances. Center Clarence Williams (17 points) tossed up an air ball on his team's next possession and he clanked a three-point shot off the backboard with 43 seconds left and Cleveland leading, 60-54. By then, Kennedy had started fouling intentionally to stop the clock. Jordan made 4 of 5 free throws in the final period.
"You have no choice in who to foul," Kennedy Coach Yutaka Shimizu said. "There are only two ways to stop the clock--foul or call time out. It was desperation time."
Satterfield made a three-point shot to cut the Cleveland lead to 60-57 with 30 seconds left, setting the stage for Jordan.
"Any win right now is a good win," Jordan said. "It's money time, and they're all real important."