Dubbed “The Kindergarten Cops” by coach Jamie LaMaster after entering the week at 5-3 and without a signature victory, George Washington’s girls basketball team will enter next week looking more like The Terminator.
At least for visiting Class AAA top-10 opponents.
Using a 19-8 fourth quarter, No. 8 GW earned its second win in three days over ranked competition with a 63-53 conquest of No. 7 Woodrow Wilson on Thursday. That followed a 66-54 win over No. 6 Huntington on Tuesday with GW shaking off slow starts in both games and surging down the stretch.
“I definitely think this gave us a lot of momentum,” junior guard Kalissa Lacy said. “We started kind of rough — we were 3-3 at one point — and I think that kind of got to us. The whole state was kind of underestimating us, so now we’re on a roll and I think we’re going to get back to where we were.”
Lacy had a massive part in getting GW over the hump on Thursday, shaking off a 1-for-6 first quarter and pouring in 27 of her game-high 34 points across the second and third periods to help keep the Patriots (7-3) afloat.
She entered the week leading the Mountain State Athletic Conference in scoring with 25.1 points per game, more than seven full points better than anyone else. By the end of three quarters on Thursday, Lacy had scored 30 of GW’s 44 points.
But despite her scoring exploits, and the fact that GW built a nine-point lead on two occasions in the third quarter, Woodrow (5-2) roared back behind a full-court press and a hot-shooting night from guard Liz Cadle, who had 19 points through the first three quarters. An 8-2 flurry to close the third gave the Flying Eagles a 45-44 advantage heading to the final period.
That’s when GW senior captain Lauren Harmison stepped in. Harmison didn’t attempt a shot in the first half and was scoreless entering the final stanza but scored 11 points in the fourth, including hitting 5 of 5 foul shots that helped hold Woodrow at bay.
To get there, GW clamped down defensively and cleaned up some deficiencies on the defensive glass where Woodrow had thrived in doing its own damage. That charge was led by Aamyah Washington, who scored nine points and grabbed 13 pivotal rebounds off the bench in relief of starter Mary Lyle Smith, who picked up four fouls in the first half and was forced to the bench.
“They got hot,” LaMaster said of Woodrow in the third. “We were fortunate. I thought early we could’ve found better shots, I didn’t think we were in our offense. Once we settled down and started running some sets we got some open looks.
“I thought we showed basketball IQ in the fourth and once we got in the bonus, we hit our free throws and that was big.”
The Patriots went 9 for 11 at the line in the final quarter and outscored the Flying Eagles 19-4 until a late bucket by Victoria Staunton and two free throws from Cloey Frantz accounted for the final score.
“A few missed assignments, free throws down the stretch and we didn’t block out,” Woodrow coach Brian Nabors said. “We had too many mishaps on defense. We missed a lot of assignments, [Lacy] got too many open looks, we didn’t guard the flare screens well enough — there’s just a lot of things we didn’t do defensively.”
With losses to Paul Blazer (Ky.) and Fort Frye (Ohio) as well as a narrow loss at No. 3 Greenbrier East, LaMaster and the Patriots knew that this week was a big week in terms of not only perception but also within the MSAC, where GW is now 4-0.
“That’s a huge week,” LaMaster said. “Regardless of the outcome at this time of the year, if you feel like you’re competitive you’re in a good spot, and to beat these two teams? That’s big. That’s huge for us.”
Cadle was held scoreless in the fourth quarter to finish with 19 points while Jamara Walton scored 13 off the bench for the Flying Eagles.
Vivian Ho notched seven points and six rebounds for GW.