Woodrow Wilson versus Winfield could have been the classic inside-outside battle, going down to the last shot.
Kavita François saw that didn’t happen.
The senior guard played her best game of the season, giving the Lady Eagles a strong outside presence to match its inside game for a 48-40 win Wednesday night at Woodrow Wilson High School.
François knocked down three 3-pointers to help offset eight by Winfield. She also made some key plays down the stretch to enable the Lady Eagles to maintain their lead.
“We’ve been waiting for Kavita to step up. She’s probably been the best athlete on the floor in every game except one,” Woodrow coach Bernie Bostick said. “We just have to keep building her confidence. She gets better each game.”
Woodrow (3-6) had four post players taller than anybody the Generals could muster. Senior Summer Butler got her team off to a strong start with three first-quarter buckets, while junior Breanna Thompson controlled the boards with five rebounds.
Winfield (6-4) answered with its strong outside shooters, but led only once in the game, at 16-13.
The Generals were outmanned, having four players in street clothes because of school suspensions. But they hung tough with Woodrow, and never trailed by more than six until late in the contest.
“Three of my top seven are suspended ” coach Tim Toler said. “We’re not big, and those three enable me to do some different things on defense. I can press because they’re really quick.
“We tried (pressing), but I don’t know if we really got off the bus tonight. We’re more of a defensive team.”
Woodrow led 13-11 after one period of play. François then hit two of her 3s in the second quarter as the Lady Eagles took a 26-23 lead into the dressing room for halftime.
Three inside buckets, a rebound by Thompson and two layups by Jasha Payne re-established Woodrow’s inside dominance during the third quarter. François then stole the ball and took it coast-to-coast for a 39-32 lead.
She also added two more baskets late, but Winfield got 3s from Haeley Moore and reserve Meagan Guetzloff, to narrow the gap to 46-40 with 1:42 to play.
Woodrow’s defense, inconsistent to that point, then played its best of the game, Winfield’s guards looked for an open shot, but found only a hand in their faces as time ran down.
“We spend a huge amount of time on defense,” Bostick said. “You have to work hard on defense. It’s coming. Coach (James) Lewis does a great job with it.”
Moore led the Generals with 11 points, followed by Morgan Eggleton with 10 and Mara Rhodes with 7.
Thompson finished with 14 rebounds and nine points. Butler scored eight and Payne tallied five points and six rebounds.
“This is the first time in years we haven’t had a superstar,” Bostick said. “We were always, ‘Give the ball to Olivia (Moore), or to Camisha (Alexander) or to Erin (Reynolds) or to Charlene (Diggs). They were going to score, and we don’t have anybody like that.”
“We’ve now put together three good games in a row. We’re trying to impress on everyone that we have to play for every possession.
“We’re not good enough we can take time off and expect to win. We saw that tonight.
Woodrow hosts Cabell Midland at 4 p.m. Saturday.
— E-mail: dstillwell
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Haley Moore 3 4-6 11, Haylea Roberson 2 0-0 4, Mara Rhodes 2 2-2 7, Morgan Eggleton 4 0-0 10, Chelsea Kirby 1 0-0 2, Katie Bryant 1 0-0 3, Marita Passero 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Sawyer 0 0-0 0, Morgan Guetzloff 1 0-2 3. Totals: 14 6-10 40.
Woodrow Wilson (3-6)
Sarah Akers 1 0-0 2, Ty Hairston 1 0-0 2, Kavita François 8 1-1 20, Summer Butler 4 0-2 8, Breanna Thompson 3 3-6 9, Rebekah Cook 0 2-2 2, Paige Lewis 0 0-0 0, Jasha Payne 2 1-2 5, LaShonda McDowell 0 0-0 0, Brooke Pudder 0 0-0 0, Bre’ana Staunton 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 7-13 48.
W 11 12 9 8 — 40
WW 13 13 13 9 — 48
3-point goals — W: 6 (Moore 1, Rhodes 1, Eggleton 2, Bryant 1, Guetzloff 1); WW: 3 (François 3). Fouled out — None.