The Quince Orchard girls’ basketball team avenged two regular season defeats to Wootton and vaulted into the second round of the regional playoffs with a solid 52-42 victory over the Lady Patriots last Friday night at QO.
The girls parlayed balanced scoring, good ball movement, and offensive rebounding to raise their record to 13-10 and advance to this week’s sectional semifinal against 21-1 Richard Montgomery, who has beaten them twice this season.
“I think we put the two losses we had earlier in the season as motivation into really working hard to getting every rebound we could and every shot that we could,” said junior Lindsay Michaels, one of the team’s captains.
After a 12-12 first quarter the Lady Cougars exploded for 17 in the second and opened an 11-point lead before a late Wootton three narrowed the halftime score to 29-21. In the locker room, the girls and Coach Chris Campbell focused on not letting up.
“We knew they could come back if they wanted to and beat us,” said senior Maggie Regan, another team captain, who had 13 points including three three-pointers, “but we knew that we had to keep our momentum going and the energy that we had in the beginning.”
QO did just that, rebuilding their lead to 11 after three and maintaining command in the fourth.
“We made some shots,” Campbell said after the game, citing his squad’s four first-half three-pointers and six total as key factors in the win, along with “a lot of good defensive intensity.”
He also credited senior Yekta Kamali for keeping Wootton’s star player, Katie Gillick, in check after switching to guard her in the second half. Gillick had 19 points in the opening half but only nine in the second.
“Yekta did a good job of corralling her and staying in front of her and using her length to disrupt her shots,” said Campbell.
Four Lady Cougars hit double figures to balance their scoring, with junior forward Destini Kelley getting 13 to tie Regan for honors and freshmen Anaya Badmus and Tatiana Popa each contributing 10.
Campbell cited point guard Badmus for special credit, observing that her first game against Wootton was her first game after coming off an ankle injury, and that she still wasn’t playing at her best in the second game.
But this time, he said, Badmus could “control the game a little bit and hit those pull-up jump shots … so a major difference was her presence and ability that we didn’t have the first two games.”
He also noted the maturation of 6-foot-4 center Popa. “She’s a freshman now (but) she’s almost a sophomore. She makes better decisions. I think she feels more comfortable defending in the man to man.”
Regan and Michaels agreed that the young team has come together over the course of the season.
“Our chemistry has built up as we’ve learned the plays with more depth in practice . . . and we’re finally understanding all the pieces that need to come together,” said Regan.
“One of the main things we’ve been trying to work on throughout the season is working as one cohesive unit,” Michaels said. “That’s something we really tried to put out on the floor tonight.”