Hereford’s girls basketball team trailed Woodlawn by nine points at the half and knew that if it didn’t play better over the next 16 minutes, their hold on the Baltimore County 3A/4A Division would slip away.
“We were down nine [points] and I thought that we were not playing well. We had a lot of turnovers, we couldn’t get our feet set and I thought Woodlawn was controlling the tempo,” said Hereford coach Ellen Fitzkee. “At halftime, we talked about going back to our strengths: playing defense, getting on the glass and not allowing easy layups.”
The No. 17 Bulls made those halftime adjustments, especially picking up their rebounding efforts in the second half, and stole a 48-47 decision from the No. 16 Warriors in the closing minutes of Wednesday’s contest.
Fitzkee added: “At halftime I said ‘how many of you were actually you blocked out?’ One person was blocked out, one time. So I said ‘I don’t understand why we weren’t on the offensive glass.’”
For the game, Hereford grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and converted several easy put-backs thanks to the extra chances.
Senior forward Marieke Oosterwijk scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds, all of which were offensive. Junior center Julia McLaughlin added nine points and seven boards for Hereford, which improved to 17-1 overall and 6-0 in Baltimore County 3A/4A league action.
With the win, the Bulls have a one-game lead and head-to-head wins over Dulaney and Woodlawn to take sole possession of first place in the division.
Woodlawn’s junior center Janelle Lane was a force in the paint early, scoring 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half. Senior point guard Shadequa Longus added 13 points and 10 assists for the Warriors (14-5, 6-2).
De’Ja Williamson scored inside to put Woodlawn ahead 28-17 to start the third quarter. The Warriors’ built their 11-point lead after forcing 17 turnovers in the first 16 minutes of the game.
But a revived Hereford team started to chip away at the lead. Oosterwijk had two scores and Rebecca Silver added back-to-back layups to complete an 8-0 run, bringing the Bulls to within 28-25 with 5:08 remaining in the quarter.
Woodlawn closed the third with a slim 37-33 advantage but the momentum had swung in Hereford’s favor.
The Bulls took their first lead, 42-41, after Marieke Oosterwijk made two free-throws and Michelle Oosterwijk finished a layup with three minutes left to play.
The teams traded buckets but Woodlawn regained the lead after a tough move in the paint by Longus, putting the Warriors in front 47-46 with 55 seconds left. On Hereford’s next possession, Silver was fouled and made one-of-two from the line, tying the score at 47.
Woodlawn had a chance to run the clock done but threw up a quick shot, giving possession back to the Bulls. Silver missed a jumper but McLaughlin got another offensive rebound and was fouled. She made a free-throw, giving Hereford the 48-47 advantage with 17 seconds left.
The Warriors took a timeout, and with 9.5 seconds on the clock, couldn’t get a good shot off. The Bulls got their final rebound, forcing Woodlawn to foul. At the line, Michelle Oosterwijk missed her first attempt and intentionally missed her second.
The Warriors got the ball back with one second left but time had run out and Hereford celebrated at mid-court.
“It came down to who wanted it more and in the end, we pushed for it,” said Marieke Oosterwijk. “In the second half, we decided to get on the boards, score points and we made much better passes. We ended up coming back from a 12-point deficit. We wanted it and we got it.”
“I was proud of the kids. They hung with it and showed a lot of heard,” Fitzkee said. “It’s one of those things where you look at our team as ask, how are they 17-1? But our kids play hard, they play with heart, they make good adjustments and they don’t give up.”
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|No. 17 Hereford 48, No. 16 Woodlawn 47|
Bell 7, McLaughlin 9, Ma. Oosterwijk 20, Mi. Oosterwijk 5, Silver 7. Totals 18 11-20 48.
Lane 22, Longus 13, Williamson 2, Sessoms 6, Loving 2, Carter 2.Totals 20 6-11 47.