West­lake girls win sea­son opener

Wolver­ines pre­vail de­spite poor foul shots

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

On a night when each team could per­haps claim a vic- tory of sorts, the West­lake High School girls bas­ket­ball team used a strong se­cond half to pull away from host Great Mills, 56-43, on Mon- day evening in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer- ence sea­son opener for both squads.

West­lake (1-0 over­all) owned a 25-16 half­time ad­van­tage that Great Mills im- me­di­ately trimmed to four points when fresh­man Kyla Daniels nailed a three-point field goal and then made a pair of free throws. But the Wolver­ines re­sponded with a piv­otal 10-0 run to forge a 3521 lead and the vis­i­tors were never se­ri­ously threat­ened there­after.

“They came out and got five quick points on us to start the se­cond half,” West­lake head coach Marvin Bin­ion II said. “But we were able to set­tle down right away and get the ball in­side. Then we did a bet­ter job chal­leng­ing their out­side shoot­ers. We got a lot of easy buck­ets in tran­si­tion, but we still need to work on free throws.”

West­lake per­haps could have dou­bled their fi­nal mar­gin of vic­tory with a pro­duc­tive night at the freethrow line. The Wolver­ines com­bined to make only 10 of 25 foul shots (40 per­cent), which en­abled Great Mills to

stay within strik­ing dis- tance. The Hor­nets shot well from the line in the first half but were not as ef­fec­tive as the stripe in the se­cond half.

“I still think it was a promis­ing ef­fort,” Great Mills head coach Matt Wood said. “We started two fresh­men [Daniels and Toyin Allen] and they

both played re­ally well. West­lake is a good team. They played harder than we did in the se­cond half and they de­served to win. But I liked what I saw from my girls, es­pe­cially for their first game.”

Daniels had the quick start to the se­cond half for the Hor­nets (0-1), but it was Allen who kept the hosts in con­tention in the se­cond half. The pre­co­cious fresh­man scored 13 points in the first half, in-

clud­ing all nine points the Hor­nets tal­lied in the sec- ond quar­ter. She en­joyed a stel­lar de­but in de­feat, fin­ish­ing the game with 16 points, 13 re­bounds and five blocked shots.

“It was a good first game,” Allen said. “We wanted to work on de­fense and re­bound­ing. That was my focus tonight. We played hard the whole game. They were just a lit­tle bet­ter in the se­cond half.”

Daniels early spurt to start the se­cond half brought the Hor­nets within 25-21, but Wes­take ju­nior LaTavia Wash­ing- ton re­sponded by scor- ing the Wolver­ines’ next seven points, in­clud­ing a three-pointer of her own. Ju­nior Jas­mine Ghol­son con­cluded the run with an­other three-pointer to ex­tend the West­lake lead to 35-21 with five minutes left in the quar­ter.

Great Mills got to with-

in 10 points minutes later on a bucket from Rachel Polk and one free throw each from Mya Jenk­ins and Allen but did not score again over the last 150 sec­onds of the third quar­ter and West­lake scored the last three points of the quar­ter in the fi­nal 30 sec­onds on a bucket from Gwen­dolyn Brown and a free throw from Washington.

Great Mills’ Vinnie Rankin opened the fourth quar­ter with a three-pointer from the right cor­ner to trim the deficit to 10 points. The Hor­nets got to within three points on three other oc­ca­sions, but the Wolver­ines never en­abled the hosts to get any closer de­spite a woe­ful per­for­mance at the line. West­lake made only 6 of 14 free throws in the fourth, al­though it spent much of the frame in the dou­ble bonus.

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