West­lake girls break open close game

Wolver­ines force 32 St. Charles turnovers in win

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

Af­ter head­ing to the locker room with a 19-16 half­time ad­van­tage over vis­it­ing St. Charles High School on Fri­day night, West­lake High School head girls bas­ket­ball coach Marvin Bin­ion II im­plored his play­ers to pick up the in­ten­sity on both ends of the floor.

West­lake play­ers quick- ly heeded the wishes of their coach as the Wolver­ines opened the third quar­ter with a de­ci­sive 10-0 run and even­tu­ally took a 41-27 lead into the fourth quar­ter en route to a 58-36 vic­tory. St. Charles never got any closer in the fi­nal frame as the visi­tors were doomed by 20 sec­ond-half turnovers and 32 on the night.

“At half­time, I told the girls we had to stop be­ing so lazy,” said Bin­ion, whose team is sched­uled to be at North Point at 6:30 tonight. “We had to pick up the de­fen­sive in­ten­sity. I thought Gigi Brown had a good game on de­fense. She made

some steals and turned them into easy bas­kets.”

St. Charles (6-8, 2-3 SMAC Po­tomac) had stayed close through­out the first half by pro­tect­ing the ball on of­fense and get­ting its fair share of de­fen­sive re­bounds off West- lake misses. But that recipe for suc­cess got up­ended in the sec­ond half. The Spar­tans com­mit­ted 12 turnovers in the third quar­ter when they were outscored 22-11 and they fin- ished the game with only four more points than turnovers.

“In the first half, I thought we did a good job of run­ning our of­fense, re­bound­ing and get­ting back on de­fense,” St. Charles head coach Der­relle Smith said. The Spar­tans are sched­uled to be at La Plata at 6:30 tonight. “But in the sec- ond half we turned the ball over way too many times and we didn’t get back on de­fense. I don’t think the girls ever quit, but we just made way too mis­takes against a good team.”

West­lake (10-4, 4-1) led 8-5 af­ter the first quar­ter, but St. Charles drew even for the fi­nal time on a three-point field goal by ju­nior De­sirae Shep­ard to start the sec­ond quar­ter. The Wolver­ines pushed the ad­van­tage to five points on two dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions thanks to bas­kets from Latavia Wash­ing- ton, but the Spar­tans’ Ranaza Daniels scored in­side off an of­fen­sive re­bound to trim the deficit to 19-16 as nei­ther team scored again over the last two min­utes of the first half.

Once the third quar­ter start- ed, on­look­ers soon re­al­ized the first half had been a mi- rage. West­lake opened the sec­ond half with a 10-0 run as Brown recorded steals on three con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions and turned two of them into easy layups. Reyven Mayes and Janelle Fields also scored easy buck­ets dur­ing the run and the Wolver­ines were never threat­ened there­after.

“I prob­a­bly waited too long to call that first time­out [of the third quar­ter],” Smith said. “They came out with eight straight points and we kept turn­ing the ball over and then no one would hus­tle back. Our de­fen­sive ef­fort in the sec­ond half was not very good. We’ll have to fix that in prac­tice.”

St. Charles turned the ball over eight times in the first four min­utes of the third quar- ter, with Brown ac­count­ing for three of them on steals at mid­court. The Spar­tans failed to take one shot dur­ing that fate­ful span, with Shaniquwa John- son fi­nally end­ing the Wol- ver­ines’ run with a layup that trimmed the deficit to 29-18 mid­way through the quar­ter.

West­lake then promptly opened the fourth quar­ter with an 8-1 run thanks largely to Wash­ing­ton as St. Charles again was ham­pered by turnovers, com­mit­ting five on their first seven pos­ses­sions of the fi­nal frame. Aysia Jones and Shep­ard ac­counted for nearly all of the scor­ing for the visi­tors in the fourth quar­ter, although the visi­tors could never get any closer than 20 points the rest of the way.

“Watch­ing Gigi make those plays in­spired me,” said West­lake fresh­man Leah John­son. “Be­ing a fresh­man, it was great to see a se­nior play like that. We want to win the cham­pi­onship this year. We play North Point [tonight] and that will be a big game for us. A win against them would mean a lot.”

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