Stone girls out­last West­lake

De­liver first win over Wolver­ines since the 2006-07 sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Sev­eral times in the sec­ond half of Fri­day night’s South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Po­tomac Di­vi­sion con­test, the West­lake girls bas­ket­ball team was able to rally back to within a bas­ket, a point or even tie the score, but Thomas Stone just seemed to have an an­swer.

Then in the fi­nal three min- utes, the Cougars pulled away for a 62-51 home vic­tory over the Wolver­ines.

Stone (8-3, 3-0 SMAC Po­tomac), which has started the month of Jan­uary with two straight di­vi­sion wins, de­liv­ered its first win over West­lake since the 2006-07 sea­son.

“It was all about com­po­sure and we played with that in the fourth quar­ter,” Stone head coach Jer­mel Es­calera said. “We stuck to what we did do in prac­tice and trusted each other and our sys­tem. The girls picked each other up and we pre­vailed in the end. West­lake is al­ways a tough team and it felt good to get the win in front of our home crowd.”

West­lake took an early 6-2 lead, but Stone was ahead 19-13 at the end of the first quar­ter and went into the locker room with a 32-23 half­time lead. The

Wolver­ines outscored Stone 15-10 in the third to cut the lead to four, but Stone re­sponded in the fi­nal pe­riod to win, thanks in part to pres­sure full-court de­fense that led to tran­si­tion points.

Early in the fourth, West­lake cut Stone’s lead to 44-43 on a three-point- er from ju­nior guard Jas­mine Ghol­son (team-high 23 points), but that was the clos­est that it would get as Stone se­nior Oc­tavia Hawkins and Rya Nel­son com- bined for 13 of the team’s 20 fourth-quar- ter points to help seal the win.

“It was all about fight­ing and we want- ed this game tonight,” Hawkins said. “I was proud of my girls for com­ing out and show­ing what we can do. Last year we were young, but we have a lot more ex­pe­ri­ence this sea­son.”

Hawkins, who was hon­ored with the 1,000-point ball mid­way in the first quar- ter, fin­ished with a game-high 26 points, caus­ing havoc all night in the paint and on the perime­ter. Ju­nior for­ward Sasha Fran­cis sparked Stone with her ver­sa­til- ity, scor­ing 16 points.

“I just picked my spots and my team- mates put me in the right po­si­tion to score,” Fran­cis said. “Be­ing in at­tack mode and stay­ing ag­gres­sive every play on of­fense, and de­fense was the key for us in the win. In the fourth quar­ter we turned up the de­fense and were able to pull away.”

Af­ter West­lake (5-4, 1-1) went up 6-2 early in the first quar­ter, Stone went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-6 lead that they would never re­lin­quish.

The Wolver­ines also got scor­ing from ju­nior guard LaTavia Wash­ing­ton with 12 points.

“[Stone] out­played us and they al­ways play hard and you have to come ready to play,” West­lake head coach Marvin Bin­ion II said. “They ei­ther got the steal or an of­fen­sive re­bound, got de­flec­tions and they beat us to loose balls. They just wanted it more than us tonight. We need to cut down on our turnovers.”

The Wolver­ines are sched­uled to host Patux­ent at 6:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day. Stone is slated to be at St. Charles, also at 6:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

West­lake boys pre­vail

At West­lake High, the Wolver­ines were with­out start­ing se­nior guard and lead­ing scorer Jeff Sim­mons, but held on for a 78-70 vic­tory over the Cougars.

West­lake (8-2, 2-0) led 16-13 af­ter one quar­ter, 29-25 at half­time and was up 5045 af­ter three quar­ters. Stone (7-4, 0-2) took a one-point lead at one point in the fourth, but the Wolver­ines out­lasted the Cougars 28-25 in the quar­ter to se­cure the win.

The Wolver­ines had four play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures as se­nior for­ward Amir Lawrence fin­ished with 27 points, se­nior Chad Palmer fin­ished with 12 points, and ju­niors Wayne Young and Jai­mon Cheek scored 11 and 10 points, re­spec­tively.

Stone ju­nior Ka­mau Mitchell fin­ished with a team-high 20 points and se­niors Gary Grant and Dono­van McCrae added 14 and 11 points, re­spec­tively.

The Cougars are sched­uled to host St. Charles at 6:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day. West­lake is slated to be at Patux­ent, also at 6:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

Thomas Stone se­nior Oc­tavia Hawkins looks to drive base­line as LaTavia Wash­ing­ton of West­lake de­fends in Fri­day night’s 62-51 win over the vis­it­ing Wolver­ines. Hawkins fin­ished with a game-high 26 points in the vic­tory.

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