Girls’ basketball: Forest Park clamps down in second half to beat Potomac (Va.)

January 31

It was a small play during a big run.

When a pair of Forest Park defenders trapped a Potomac (Va.) ball handler into a backcourt violation midway through the third quarter, Bruins Coach Donnie Gallitz sprung to his feet and ran up and down his bench slapping hands with every coach and player in his path.

The turnover was one of a myriad forced by the Bruins during a roughly seven and a half minute stretch that saw them score 14 straight points while shutting out Potomac en route to a 55-47 win in Woodbridge.

Gallitz’s celebration was nearly premature, as Potomac cut a nine-point deficit to three with 1 minute 17 seconds to play. But junior Mia Lloyd got a shooter’s roll on a three from the corner that careened off the backboard before falling, and Forest Park (10-7) held on against its former Cardinal District rival.

“All we had to do was rebound and pick up the intensity,” said Forest Park sophomore Kiana Kirkland of the run. “Coach just told us to pick up the defense, and that’s what we did.”

At halftime, with Potomac leading 28-25, there were gaps to clog.

“We usually do traps [well], but tonight we were lacking,” Lloyd said. “And Coach told us to pick it up because it was a rivalry game.”

Despite the Bruins’ torrid scoring in the third quarter, Demeya Felder kept Potomac (10-7) close. The sophomore guard finished with 20 points and decisively cut through Forest Park’s double teams.

But Lloyd’s three rendered the Panther comeback nearly impossible.

“I was hoping it would go in, that we’d get the crowd pumped,” said Lloyd, who finished with 12 points.

Both youth-laden squads displayed shades of Prince William basketball to come. Of Forest Park’s 25 first-half points, all but two were scored by underclassmen. Amber Mixon was the only Bruins senior to record a basket.

“It’s funny to think about how young we are,” Gallitz said. “In other circumstances, we might have the best JV team in the state. These girls stepped into roles last year as freshmen, and now they’re playing above their years.”

Forest Park won the first matchup between the two teams, 55-45, on Monday in Dumfries.

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