Weary Cru­saders keep it go­ing

Riverdale Bap­tist tops War­riors de­spite hec­tic sched­ule, ill­ness

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports - BY JAMES WAG­NER wag­n­er­james@wash­post.com

As a pri­vate school that plays an in­de­pen­dent sched­ule, the third-ranked Riverdale Bap­tist girls’ bas­ket­ball team is in a sit­u­a­tion as unique as any in the re­gion. The Up­per Marl­boro school will play more than 30 games this sea­son and travel as far as Ari­zona and Florida to com­pete in top-flight tour­na­ments.

But that gru­el­ing sched­ule can have con­se­quences. Head­ing into Satur­day’s game against No. 12 H.D. Wood­son in the Up­town Hoopfest, a show­case at Trin­ity Uni­ver­sity in the District, three Cru­saders were a lit­tle sick, likely from all the travel and changes in weather, ac­cord­ing to Riverdale se­nior guard Lau­ren Chase, one of the play­ers bat­tling flu-like symp­toms.

Still, the Cru­saders de­feated the five-time de­fend­ing DCIAA cham­pion War­riors, 62-46, with one of those sick play­ers lead­ing the way.

Se­nior cen­ter Deja Hawkins, who usu­ally starts but came off the bench Satur­day be­cause she missed school twice this week with an ill­ness and couldn’t prac­tice, was too dif­fi­cult for H.D. Wood­son (6-5) to stop un­der the bas­ket, to­tal­ing a team-high 16 points.

The 6-foot-3 Hawkins has “ been a matchup prob­lem with ev­ery­one we’ve played, not only with her height but her width,” Riverdale Coach Diane Richardson said. “She’s got a nice touch and nice hands. We went in­side to her and it worked, so we went with it.”

The Cru­saders (15-4) held only a six-point lead af­ter a first quar­ter that was, at times, slow and sloppy. Two min­utes into the game, af­ter a prob­lem re­set­ting the shot clock, tour­na­ment or­ga­niz­ers re­al­ized their mis­take and took the shot clock away, some­thing that didn’t sit well with Richardson, whose team is ac­cus­tomed to play­ing with one.

R. BAP­TIST 62

But it mat­tered lit­tle, as both teams quickly be­gan push­ing the tempo of the game. Hawkins and ju­nior Diana Lo­gan, a Ge­orge­town re­cruit, scored all but three of the team’s 14 sec­ond-quar­ter points, push­ing the lead to 30-18 at half­time.

H.D. Wood­son ju­nior guard Rahni Bell led her team with 16 points, many off three-point­ers or long jump shots that broke down the de­fense. But the Cru­saders held H.D. Wood­son’s lead­ing scorer, ju­nior for­ward Jephany Brown, to four points.

“I would pre­fer the shot clock be­cause we trap and our de­fense is very tight up on them, so the shot clock would have been a pos­i­tive for us,” Hawkins said. “But we still came out and did what we had to do de­fen­sively.”

H.D. WOOD­SON 46

JONATHAN NEWTON/THE WASHINGTON POST

Riverdale Bap­tist cen­ter De­jaHawkins (30) bat­tles H.D. Wood­son’s Rahni Bell for con­trol of the ball.

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