Langley boys’ basketball beats W.T. Woodson on inside strength

Each day in practice, Langley senior Brad Dotson devotes a chunk of time to his jump-hook. The move is simple in its approach but plentiful in its benefits for a 6-foot-6 forward like Dotson, who gains a couple inches each time he rises for the shot. And in Friday’s contest at No. 20 W.T. Woodson, it proved a big reason why Dotson and the Saxons were able to stand tall.

The senior put up team-high totals of 14 points and 12 rebounds to help the Saxons knock off the Cavaliers, 60-46, in Fairfax. Defensively, Dotson’s length inside led a Langley 2-3 zone that held Woodson to eight points in the final 13 minutes.

“We know we’re a big team, so we try our best to take advantage of that and use our post game to get ahead,” Dotson said. “When we’re able to do that, we give ourselves more chances to capitalize.”

From the outset, Langley (4-0) dominated the glass, with Dotson and forward Xavier Ryan, who started in place of the injured Phil Novacki, leading an effort that saw the Saxons outrebound Woodson, 35-17. Following consecutive baskets by Dotson and Justin Galiani (13 points), Langley jumped out to a 21-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Cavaliers (3-2) came out strong in the second half, using sound ball movement to find openings against Langley’s zone and reel off eight straight points. But their 38-30 lead quickly vanished behind the Saxons’ 10-0 run to close the third quarter.

“When Woodson went on that run, we went to a junk defense that forced them into quick shots and threw off their momentum,” Saxons Coach Travis Hess said. “You could tell they were starting to wear down some, so we attacked them in transition and got back the momentum.”

The more the Saxons attacked the rim, the more scoring opportunities they created with trips to the free throw line. Langley made 16 of 22 foul shots to close out the game while the Cavaliers went scoreless during an eight-minute span across the third and fourth periods.

All five Langley starters finished in double figures while Tommy Stepka scored 13 points to lead a Cavaliers squad that was playing its fifth game in eight days.

“Langley simply executed better than we did,” Cavaliers Coach Doug Craig said. “Once we got the lead, I think we got a little trigger-happy and with them being so long in their zone defense, we didn’t make the adjustments that we needed to.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.

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