Amber Porter gives Potomac girls’ basketball much-needed boost; T.C. Williams topples West Springfield in Patriot District clash
By Preston Williams,
Potomac (Va.) senior forward Amber Porter has scored at least 15 points in every game, including 51 last month against Gar-Field. That’s the highest total for an area girls’ player since H.D. Woodson’s Tia Bell scored 51 against M.M. Washington in December of 2006.
It’s a scoring mark that could stand for awhile in the No. 15 Panthers’ new gym. The 6-foot-3 Porter also has expanded her game with improved backcourt skills that should help her next season at Stetson University in Florida, also the future home of W.T. Woodson senior guard Keara Finnerty.
“I wasn’t really a good ball handler, so it helps me to get that down before I go and embarrass myself at the next level,” Porter said with a laugh Saturday afternoon after an 81-60 home win over T.C. Williams.
“She’s just been amazing this year,” Potomac Coach Tiffany Jenkins said. “She’s at the point now where she’s shooting the ball from the outside. Sometimes she’ll bring the ball up the court. Overall her game has truly matured.”
The Panthers have needed that backcourt boost with senior Hannah Hayes out with an ACL injury. Hayes hit 44 three-pointers last season as a junior but this season is more coach than player, situated on the bench between the coaching staff and her teammates.
Hayes’s father, Kendall, coached the Potomac boys’ team for 21 years and the girls for two, and brother Eric Hayes, a former Potomac All-Met and Maryland standout, is a graduate assistant for the Terrapins’ men’s team.
“We miss Hannah a great deal because she would have been the smartest player we have on the floor,” Jenkins said. “She knows the game and on top of her knowing the game she sees the floor well. She can shoot from deep outside, and that’s something we’re truly missing this year. When the game gets frantic, she’s really good at calming the girls down.”
Titans end skid against West Springfield
With its loss at Potomac on Saturday afternoon, T.C. Williams did not have much of an opportunity to wallow in its 56-42 win from Friday night over West Springfield, a victory that broke a nine-game losing streak in the Virginia AAA Patriot District series.
“Oh, we were so excited,” T.C. sophomore guard Rejoice Spivey said. “It’s going to carry on to the rest of the season because that just got us so hyped and so amped.We couldn’t really celebrate [Friday] night’s game, so it was real weird that we had to come out here in the middle of the day [Saturday] and play. That’s no excuse though.”
The Titans and West Springfield were tied at 39 entering the fourth quarter Friday. T.C. outscored the Spartans, 17-3, that period. In that game, junior guard Angie Schedler, playing her first significant minutes since the season opener due to an ankle injury, led her team with 21 points. Spivey scored 19.
“That win was big for us,” T.C. Coach Kesha Walton said. “We just buckled down. It was a great opportunity. We kept our head, stayed focused and knocked down free throws. It let us know that it’s pretty much wide open and that we have the opportunity to take care of the district.”
Beating West Springfield also helped the Titans distance themselves from a frustrating experience the previous weekend in the National Title IX Holiday Invitational Classic at Trinity University.
T.C. advanced to the Gold Division final and was set to face Columbia (Ga.). With about four minutes left in warmups before the championship, T.C. got a new opponent. The Hoover, Ala., team scheduled to play Good Counsel in the Platinum Division final later that night had to back out of the Good Counsel game because of an issue regarding private school Good Counsel not being a sanctioned member of its state high school association.
So 10 more minutes were put on the warmup clock, and Hoover, the team that had won its way into the more prestigious Platinum Division final, took the floor to face public school T.C. in the Gold final.
“I was more than upset about that,” said Walton, whose team lost 55-33 to Hoover. “We prepared to play [Columbia] and here we are three minutes before the game was to start [getting a new opponent]. We had prepped, watched film, figured our game strategy.”
Good Counsel beat Columbia in the Platinum final.
Eagles encouraged by early play
No. 9 Edison lost its Virginia AAA National District showdown at No. 7 Mount Vernon on Friday, but the Eagles are encouraged by their 9-1 record, which includes three wins over ranked teams (Calvert, Potomac and Bowie) in the Lady Crusader Holiday Tournament.
Three of the Eagles’ top five scorers are freshmen — Megan Hendrick, Jada Graves and Raven Moses — and leading scorer Sheila Sherrill is the only senior on the team. Moses had 15 rebounds against Mount Vernon.
“They’ve definitely surpassed what I expected,” Edison Coach Dianne Lewis said. “Those kids love to play basketball. They’re committed to playing basketball. They want to be in the gym. They’re going to continue to get better. They’re going to develop.”
The rematch against Mount Vernon is at Edison on Jan. 30.