Most teams don’t recover from giving up the first 17 points of the game, especially teams which are 0-18 on the season.
But the Washington basketball Lady Jays did, recovering from a nightmare start to defeat University City for the consolation title at the St. Francis Borgia Regional The Competitive Edge Tournament Saturday to win, 54-44.
“I’m really excited for our kids,” Washington Head Coach Doug Light said. “They got down 17-0 and just started climbing back into it. They got the lead at halftime and had another rough stretch in the third quarter, but found themselves again and got the lead and really played smart at the end.”
Not only did Washington get a win, but it also got a trophy for the victory.
“That was really nice,” Light said. “The kids were really excited. As a coach, I’ve been involved in a lot of wins in my career but this one is special. Something to remember is the joy in their faces and the tears in their eyes. It was neat as a coach to see them be joyful for something they had accomplished.”
University City (4-14) netted the first 17 points of the game, but the Lady Lions also got into heavy foul trouble and had to go deep into a short bench soon after that. It was just the break the Lady Jays needed.
Washington (now 1-18) chipped back, getting a three-point basket from Cierstyn Jacquin with 2:37 left in the quarter.
By the end of the first, Washington had scored 10 points to trail, 22-10.
Washington took advantage of the momentum to start the second quarter and scored the first 19 points, making it a 21-point run in total, to take the lead.
A pair of free throws by Paige Robinson tied it with 2:43 to play in the half and Clara Evans hit one of two to put the Lady Jays on top.
Washington wasn’t finished. Robinson and Jacquin both hit three-point baskets and Washington led 31-25 at the break.
It was the pendulum’s turn to swing the other way in the third quarter. Washington managed just two points, both on free throws, and University City came back. A free throw from Jada Bolden-Jackson with 1:15 to go in the quarter gave the Lady Lions a 34-33 lead and that was the score after three quarters.
University City pushed ahead to a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Washington started another run with 5:09 to play on a pair of Sammi Wang free throws.
Jacquin followed with a long three-point shot and Washington was back on top, 38-37.
After Marissa Green scored to give the Lady Lions the lead again, Wang hit a basket and Robinson stole the ball and scored. The Lady Jays never trailed again.
Washington went 8-10 from the free-throw line down the stretch to extend the final margin to 54-44.
“We haven’t been in a situation where we’re right with a team at the end,” Light said. “To see our kids make the right decisions was big. It was something I had missed. They defended well enough in the third quarter to keep us in the game. We weren’t getting the press anymore. Once we got back into our press, we made them make some mistake and freed them up a little bit and that really helped us.”
For the game, Washington went 22-36 from the free-throw line.
Jacquin, who made the all-tournament team, led Washington in scoring with 18 points. She managed to stay on the floor despite getting into foul trouble early. She knocked down four of the six three-point baskets and also had six rebounds and six steals.
Robinson was Washington’s other player in double digits, scoring 14 points with two three-point shots. She was perfect from the free-throw line, going 4-4.
Robinson also recorded seven rebounds with two steals.
Wang netted nine points and was 5-6 from the free-throw line. She also had three rebounds.
“Sammi Wang came off and had some big moments off the bench for us,” Light said.
Jessie Huxol netted six points, all on free throws by going 6-6 from the line, and also had 13 rebounds and two steals.
Sara Heggemann contributed five points, three rebounds and one steal.
“Sara Heggemann is a kid who has been playing JV for us,” Light said. “She comes in all summer at 6 a.m. and lifts weights and has such a big heart. She did such a good job the other night and we went with her. She played her tail end off and we couldn’t really see a reason to take her out.”
Clara Evans and Joie Heien each scored one point. Evans also had one rebound. Heien pulled down two rebounds.
Ingrid Figas contributed six rebounds and three steals. Nakya Kriebaum posted one steal
“Of course, we didn’t have Halaina O’Bryant, who was a the district wrestling tournament, so we had some kids step up for us today,” Light said.
The Lady Jays were able to overcome 27 turnovers to prevail for the win.
University City was paced by all-tournament selection Diamonique Dunn, who scored 17 points. She hit all three of the three-point baskets for the Lady Lions.
Green closed with 12 points.
Bolden-Jackson and Xavia Wright-Jones scored four points. Nyjah Hudson, Kaylaa Anderson and Roberta Booth each scored two points. Ayanna Williams contributed one point.