Girls’ basketball: No. 18 Oakton presses past Lake Braddock, 54-35

December 17, 2013

Oakton girls’ basketball coach Fred Priester spent much of Sunday getting to know his granddaughter Katherine, who was born over the weekend.

The newest addition to the Priester family forced the coach to have more than just basketball on his mind as he led the inexperienced Cougars into their first road game of the young season.

But Oakton (5-0) kept its coach seated and stress free for much of the night with tough pressure defense in a 54-35 win at Lake Braddock on Tuesday.

“It’s hard to stay focused on basketball in those situations,” Priester said. “We kind of played like that tonight, we’re a young team and a long way from being good.”

The No. 18 Cougars looked to have trouble with Lake Braddock’s 2-3 zone in the early part of the game, and it took just under five minutes for Oakton to register its first points of the second quarter.

During a Lake Braddock timeout with 2 minutes 24 seconds remaining in the first half, Priester implored Karlie Cronin to shoot.

The junior will often look for the third or fourth option when handling the ball, but with the Cougars locked in a tight one in the second period the smooth-shooting guard scored eight points in a 10-3 run to close the half.

Priester didn’t want to take any credit for Cronin’s sudden barrage of jumpers and layups, but she finished the night with a team-high 14 points.

“We just needed the points so my teammates got me the ball, which is good.” Cronin said. “We also picked up the intensity.”

The run to close the half gave Oakton a 26-15 lead and the Cougars would come out of the locker room refreshed.

They cut down the turnovers, six in the second half compared to 12 in the first, and forced enough turnovers with on the ball pressure in their man-to-man to earn the double-digit win over the Bruins (2-2).

Freshman guard Aisha Sheppard also poured in 14 points for Oakton, including two three-pointers. Senior Jazmine Carter pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Cougars will host Lee tonight and will then face Stone Bridge in the Cassel’s Cougar Classic at the Fairfax County school.

This is Priester’s youngest team since his 2002 squad, which had four freshmen in the starting lineup, and he said the up-and-down play is expected in December.

“We have to step it up come District play,” Priester said. “I’m not going to walk out of here and say I’m happy, but I’m happy enough about the birth of my granddaughter Sunday.

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