It’s been a learn-as-you-go kind of season for Woodrow Wilson’s young girls basketball team.
No seniors. Two juniors who contribute but do not start.
Mistakes were made. Leads were blown. The Lady Eagles at one point stood just 3-10.
“They were playing hard, but it’s a growing thing,” assistant coach John Quesenberry said. “They had to learn they could come back on teams and finish.”
And learn they have. They ended a four-game losing streak with victories over Oak Hill and Princeton, and Tuesday night they led the entire game in a 51-44 victory over Ripley at Woodrow Wilson High School.
It wasn’t a pretty win — the Lady Eagles took leads of eight, nine and 11 points, only to allow Ripley (4-14) to battle back to within a couple of field goals.
But Woodrow refused to crack.
“Sometimes you have to have a taste of success, going through the fire,” said Quesenberry, who coached the team with Chuck Diggs in the absence of head coach James Lewis. “We’re still up and down, but we’re more consistent at crucial times.”
Woodrow received fine efforts from its promising freshman guard duo of Aaliyah Williams and Kaliyah Creasey.
Williams, the team’s leading scorer this season, scored 19 points despite early foul trouble. She hit 10 of 12 free throws, including 7 of 8 in the fourth quarter, to seal the win.
Creasey, playing only her second game after coming back from a knee injury, scored eight points and had three steals.
“Aaliyah doesn’t know how good she can be,” Quesenberry said. “There’s a couple of things, offensively, that when she improves those, she can be really good.
“Kaliyah sees the floor so well. I saw her in the seventh grade at Park under coach Lewis and she was running the break better than high school girls. She makes others around her better.”
When it came to crunch time, however, it was sophomore guard Rebekah Cook who came up with the key shot, steal or rebound to stop Ripley’s comebacks.
She finished with 11 points, plus team highs of six steals and nine rebounds
“You can’t help but love watching Rebekah play,” Quesenberry said. “She goes all-out. She has that ‘warrior’ fighting mentality.
“She goes to the ball. She rebounds well. And she’s more willing now to take her shot.”
Woodrow led 22-18 at halftime and 38-30 going into the final period. Guard Chelsey Hager got a hot hand for the Lady Vikings in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points, and Ripley cut an 11-point lead down to four, at 41-37.
But Williams stepped up at the foul line, Paige Lewis scored off a steal and Cook had four of her steals as Woodrow nailed down the win.
Creasey tallied eight points and three steals. Lewis had six points and five boards while Ashlee Lane scored six points and Brooke Pudder grabbed eight rebounds.
Hager topped Ripley with 21 points. Sarah Williams had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Woodrow plays Thursday at Riverside.
— E-mail: email@example.com
Amy Ferrell 1 0-0 2, Chelsey Hager 5 9-11 21, Sarah Williams 3 4-8 10, Savanna Williams 1 0-0 2, Katilyn Thomas 2 3-4 7, Audra Thomas 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 16-23 44.
Woodrow Wilson (6-10)
Ashlee Lane 3 0-06, Rebekah Cook 5 0-0 11, Paige Lewis 3 0-0 6, Aaliyah Williams 3 10-12 19, Brooke Pudder 0 1-6 1, Bre Staunton 0 0-0 0, Kaliyah Creasey 2 3-10 8, Courtney Maxwell 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 14-28 51.
R 8 10 12 14 — 44
WW 16 6 16 13 — 51
3-point goals — R: 2 (Hager 2); WW: 2 (Cook, Creasey). Fouled out — None.