Westlake girls win season opener
Wolverines prevail despite poor foul shots
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.