Virginia AAA girls' nonleague

Before VIP Crowd, A Titantic Power Shift

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By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 15, 2007

In front of a standing-room-only crowd that included Division I women's basketball coaches, No. 11 T.C. Williams had a greater goal last night than merely auditioning All-Met junior guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt: It wanted to shift the balance of power in Northern Region girls' basketball.

The visiting Titans did just that, knocking off fourth-ranked and two-time defending region champion Edison, 58-48, and installing themselves as the new region front-runner.

Edison had beaten the Titans four times in the past two seasons, including in the 2006 region final and the 2007 region semifinals. And the Eagles had not lost to a Northern Region team since the second round of the 2005 region tournament.

"Since I've been on varsity, we lose to them every year," said a grinning Ruffin-Pratt, who collected 20 points, 14 rebounds and 6 steals. "This is a big win."

It also marked the first significant victory in the four-game tenure of new coach Jim Lewis, formerly head coach of the Washington Mystics and George Mason and Fordham universities.

Lewis encountered some old college colleagues last night. The packed gym included Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer, Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan and Duke Coach Joanne P. McCallie, as well as numerous college assistants, among them Virginia Tech's George Porcha, Lewis's predecessor at T.C. Williams.

Edison's top three offensive threats -- senior forwards Adria Crawford (Georgetown) and Chasity Clayton (Florida State) and sophomore guard Myisha Goodwin -- went 13 for 55 from the floor.

The game was tied 37-37 entering the fourth quarter, but the Titans rattled off 18 points before the Eagles (2-1) managed their first field goal. By then, it was 56-40 with 2 minutes 23 seconds left, and the Eagles, with T.C. Williams fans behind their bench, were subject to "Overrated!" chants in their own gym.

"They dictated the pace of the game, they dictated how we played, and, honestly, we deserved that loss," said Edison Coach Dianne Lewis, whose team beat No. 8 Riverdale Baptist last Saturday. "Sometimes they need to see what that feels like."

Just as the Titans needed to experience the feeling of a win over Edison.

"It gives us a preview of what's going to happen at the Patriot Center in March," T.C. Williams senior forward Rachel James said.

No. 11 T.C. Williams 58 No. 4 Edison 48 Starter fluid: The Edison girls' team got all but one of its points from starters. No room: With the smallish gym full for the girls' game, many fans had to wait outside for other spectators to leave before they could gain entry. No. 11 T.C. Williams 58 No. 4 Edison 48 Starter fluid: The Edison girls' team got all but one of its points from starters. No room: With the smallish gym full for the girls' game, many fans had to wait outside for other spectators to leave before they could gain entry.


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