Westlake girls break open close game
Wolverines force 32 St. Charles turnovers in win
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.”