Unbeaten Woodbridge girls defeat Sussex Tech 44-34

Woodbridge’s Cha’Kya Johnson (24) battles Sussex Tech’s Janiya Stevens (50) for position under the basket during a free throw attempt. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

BRIDGEVILLE — Woodbridge High forward Cha’Kya Johnson had a tough task ahead of her in Thursday night’s home showdown with Sussex Tech High.

The Blue Raiders’ sophomore was matched up against Sussex Tech senior forward Janiya Stevens under the basket, and she more than met the challenge as she led her team to a 44-34 win.

“In the beginning it was a little rocky, but I still kept my head up and worked through it,” Johnson said. “I just kept my head in the game and focused on what we came to do.”

Johnson’s 14 points were a game-high and helped her Blue Raiders team remain unbeaten at 19-0.

“I thought that, as a sophomore, I can’t ask more from her,” said Woodbridge coach Emilio Perry. “I know that Janiya Stevens is a great player, and she’ll go on to do great things, I don’t want to take anything away from her.

“I think with the injury earlier in the season she wasn’t in her real element, but I think Cha’Kya stepped up to the challenge and showed she can compete at a high level as well.”

Sussex Tech guard Airelle Parker drives to the basket Thursday night.

With next week’s regular season finale against Delmar High, the Blue Raiders have a shot at finishing 20-0 ahead of next Friday night’s showdown against Cape Henlopen High in the Henlopen Conference title game.

Tip-off for the Feb. 22 conference title game is set for 6 p.m. at Dover High.

“We’ve set goals, and right now we’re in hot pursuit of goal No. 3,” said Perry. “We knew that we could win the south, it was just a matter of our girls buying in. We wanted to be 20-0 and they’re fighting for that, and the last thing is we want to be the first group to win the conference for Woodbridge.”

Defensively, Woodbridge limited Tech to just nine first half points, which marks the lowest combined point total the team has scored in any half this season.

Sophomore guard Janeira Scott finished with 10 points, including eight in the fourth quarter to close things out and drop the Ravens to 14-5.

Junior Mikayla Serpa put up nine points and sophomore Sierra Smith contributed six points in the win.

“I can tell you that they’ve really bought in,” said Perry. “You can’t tell, in our tougher games, that they’re sophomores.”

The 10-point avenges Woodbridge’s 73-39 loss to the Ravens in last year’s Henlopen Conference championship game.

“It feels wonderful,” Scott said. “That was our motivation for tonight.”

Woodbridge guard Tykeya Nelson makes her way to the basket in the first half against Sussex Tech. She finished with five points.

“I think when we had them last year, we sort of overthought things and we wanted to come in and just do what we have done all season, stick to what we do best and don’t try to create something based on their strengths because they’re a very talented team,” said Perry.
“We put that in the past and we focused on now,” said Johnson.

After a slow start in Thursday night’s matchup, missing five first quarter layups and leading just 9-5 at the end of the period, Woodbridge’s offense woke up in the second quarter.

The Blue Raiders out-scored the Ravens, 14-4, in the second quarter to take a 23-9 lead into the halftime break.

The Ravens came back out in the second half to put up 10 third quarter points and slowly started to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter.

Tech turned a 14-point deficit into a seven-point deficit, 39-32, with just under two minutes remaining before Scott cemented the double-digit victory by sinking three free throws in the final 33 seconds of the game.

Senior forward Mi’Cah Shelton scored a team-high 10 points for the Ravens, with senior guard Airelle Parker adding eight points and Stevens scoring seven.

“I wanted them to see that, look, when we have an opportunity to really focus on executing our game plan, we can play with anyone,” said Perry.

“We still have to work hard each practice,” Johnson said. “We can’t have our heads big.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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