Woodlawn hangs on, stays perfect

Up 50-28, No. 12 Warriors pull out a 55-51 victory over Dunbar to go to 9-0

Girls basketball

January 12, 2003|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Woodlawn girls were hoping that their 55-51 win over Dunbar at yesterday's Basketball Academy Tournament at Coppin State would make a statement.

Unfortunately for the 12th-ranked Warriors, it almost sent the wrong message.

Woodlawn (9-0) held a 50-28 lead with 1:28 left in the third quarter. From that point, the Warriors were outscored 23-5 and barely hung on.

"They weren't gonna give up," said Woodlawn coach DeWayne Burroughs. "We got a little satisfied toward the middle of the fourth quarter and didn't take care of the basketball. They're a well-coached team and they made the most of our mistakes."

The Woodlawn players said that they had this game circled on the schedule for a while. They were tired of hearing from others that they hadn't beaten a team of note while going unbeaten entering the game. They hoped yesterday would put those comments to rest. In the first half, the Warriors sent that message loud and clear.

Leading 17-11 after the first quarter, Woodlawn used six points by Brittany Taylor and a stifling zone defense to build the lead to 37-22 at the half.

The Warriors continued their dominance into the third quarter, using five points by Tiara Wildy (game-high 17 points) to run the score to 50-28 - their biggest lead of the game.

Slowly, Dunbar (8-3) chipped away. The Poets increased their defensive pressure, and the Warriors kept fouling at inopportune times to stop the clock. After Nikima Hill made one of two free throws for the Poets to cut the deficit to 53-48 with 45 seconds left, the Warriors had a golden opportunity to put the game away. Taylor was fouled with 38 seconds left, but she missed both free throws.

Hill was fouled with 25 seconds left, and she hit both of her free throws to cut the margin to 53-50.

The Warriors withstood heavy man-to-man pressure, and got the ball to guard Milan Heard. She was fouled with 14 seconds left and made both of her free throws.

Burroughs said that inexperience in situations like these hurt his team, which is composed of all underclassmen.

"We're young, and I think you saw that today," Burroughs said. "Let's not lose sight of the fact that the kids stepped up in the end, and did what they need to do to win the basketball game."

For Dunbar, the loss was a missed opportunity.

"They have a good team, but we gave them a lot of chances," said Dunbar's Shalane Price, who finished with six points. The Poets "brought in some size on defense in the second half, and we got back into the game after we stopped turning the ball over. We just ran out of time."

Taylor said that the Warriors will learn from a win like this one.

"We made quick decisions late in the game, maybe some that we shouldn't have made," she said. "At the end, we won the game though, and that's what matters. It feels great to beat a quality team like Dunbar."

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