Woodbridge girls’ victory earns spot at quarterfinals

Emilio Perry

BRIDGEVILLE — The Woodbridge High girls’ basketball team already put together a historic regular season.

On Friday night, it was time to make some history in the postseason.

The Blue Raiders reached the DIAA state tournament quarterfinals for the first time ever, thanks to a 68-49 victory over Sussex Central High. Fourth-seeded Woodbridge (21-1) will play No. 5 seed Caravel on Monday night at Dover High at 6 p.m.

Woodbridge finished the regular season unbeaten at 20-0 but was actually coming off a loss after falling to Cape Henlopen High in the Henlopen Conference championship game.

The Blue Raiders were not phased by their first defeat at all, starting Friday’s contest on a 20-4 run as they led wire-to-wire. Sophomore Cha’Kya Johnson paced Woodbridge with a game-high 27 points.

“We didn’t want to just lay down because we took an L (last game),” Johnson said.

“I was a little apprehensive to see how they would respond,” said Woodbridge coach Emilio Perry. “Being a young group, we knew that was one of our goals, we wanted to be the first Woodbridge team to win the Henlopen championship on the girls’ side. It didn’t happen for us but we said our ultimate goal is to be a state champion and that’s something we’re still aspiring to do.”

Janeira Scott, Sierra Smith and Tykeya Nelson each had a three-pointer in the first quarter to allow Woodbridge to get off to such a fast start.

Johnson only scored one point in the first before catching fire in the second. She netted 16 of her 27 points in the second quarter as the Blue Raiders took a 42-20 lead into halftime.

“We said we can’t allow ourselves to be complacent and let the game come to us,” Perry said. “We had to go chase after what we wanted to happen. … Things felt like they fell into place and the girls executed at a high level.”

Scott finished with 15 points while Nelson also was in double figures with 11 points.

Sussex Central was led by Brenya Reid’s 15 points. Raeonna Stratton followed with 14 while Ambria Stratton added 13 points for the No. 13-seeded Golden Knights who wrapped up their season at 14-8 overall.

Before Friday, Woodbridge had come the closest to making the quarterfinals in 2016 when the Blue Raiders fell at Caravel 33-27. Woodbridge went 4-16 the next season but has reloaded quickly to make the state tournament each of the last two years.

“It helps having a young group of girls that really love the game,” Perry said.

“It’s very special and it’s a good moment,” Johnson said. “But we’re not done yet. We still got more games.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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