Woodbridge girls stay unbeaten with 52-43 victory over St. Georges

Emilio Perry

BRIDGEVILLE — When Woodbridge High girls’ basketball coach Emilio Perry sits down to schedule games, he tries to make it a priority to include tough teams like St. Georges Tech High for the midpoint of the season.

In Tuesday night’s nonconference home showdown against the upstate Hawks, the undefeated Blue Raiders faced their toughest challenge of the season and Perry’s team more than met it with a 52-43 victory.

“We put this game on the schedule midway through to really solidify where we’re going to be, what type of team we really want to be, and it just showed tonight with us playing our style of Raider basketball,” said Perry.

Woodbridge improved to 10-0 while avenging last year’s first-round state tournament loss to the Hawks (8-2).

The Blue Raiders jumped ahead early and controlled the first half, even leading by as many as 12 points in the third quarter before the Hawks stormed back in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by a point, 43-42, with under three minutes to play, the Blue Raiders went on a 10-0 run in the last 2:42 to cement the victory.

“We really wanted to step up and just find a way to dig in during the moments where the game got tough,” Perry said. “I just want to commend the girls, even the girls on the bench. We had two starters out and we still found a way to get the win.”

The team’s previous nine wins were decided by at least 20 points.

Sophomore Cha’Kya Johnson tied her season-high with 21 points and was a force under the basket. It marked her third 20-point game of the season.

“We really wanted it,” Johnson said. “It brought a lot of heart out of us. You can see our hard work and our togetherness. We’re a family.”

The Woodbridge forward drew fouls, reeled in offensive rebounds and did everything she could to disrupt any potential St. Georges Tech scoring opportunities inside the paint.

“Every day she’s maturing,” Perry said of Johnson. “Knowing her personally, she’s battling more than what you see. I can’t say enough about this young lady. When times get tough, she showed that she can carry us.”

Fellow sophomore Janeira Scott scored seven of her eight points in the fourth quarter.

Senior Amber Washington led the Hawks in scoring, putting up 13 points with junior Aniyah Williams adding 10.

“I want to echo the fact that St. Georges is a quality team, they put in work and they gave us a great contest tonight,” said Perry.
The Blue Raiders led 10-4 by the end of the opening quarter behind a 10-0 run to open the game.

St. Georges didn’t score its first basket of the game until senior Destanie Escobar laid the ball in the net at the 2:26 mark of the first quarter.

Woodbridge opened the second quarter with an 11-4 run to jump ahead 21-8 just three minutes into the period, but St. Georges put up eight of the half’s final nine points to pull to within 22-16 at the halftime break.

The Blue Raiders opened the second half with just as much energy as they did the first half, putting up the first six points of the third quarter to jump ahead 28-16.

St. Georges played its best basketball in the third quarter, answering the Blue Raiders’ 6-0 run by scoring 15 of the last 20 points over the last five minutes of the quarter to pull to within two points, 33-31, heading into the fourth quarter.

It took all of 11 seconds for Williams to hit a game-tying, mid-range jump shot to knot the game, 33-33, early in the fourth quarter.

The final eight minutes of the game featured four lead changes in a span of just two minutes, with Williams hitting a go-ahead jump shot at the 3:33 mark of the quarter to hand St. Georges the 43-42 advantage.

It was Scott who drained the go-ahead shot at the 2:42 mark to put the Blue Raiders ahead for good and setting off the team’s 10-0 run to end the game.

“It got a little sloppy, a little hectic here and there, but for the most part we stuck to the game plan and got the job done,” said Perry. “It was the sort of a game where we get to measure what type of work we did in the offseason and what type of growth we’ve had since last season.”

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