Prince George's 4A girls' basketball
Wise's girls' basketball team defeats Bowie, 67-42
With her team off to a sluggish start to Tuesday night's pivotal girls' basketball matchup between No. 3 Wise and Bowie, senior Janay Borum knew the Pumas' decision to switch to their signature press defense during a first-quarter timeout would provide a spark. Never in her wildest dreams, though, did she think it would turn a close game with first place on the line into a 67-42 rout in Wise's favor.
Trailing 7-2 early in the first quarter, the Pumas responded with a 27-5 run thanks in large part to Bowie's inability to break that pressure defense. The Bulldogs committed 12 turnovers, had just three players in the scoring column, and entered halftime down 17 as a result.
"Our plan was to run them so they'd get tired by the end of the game," said Borum (13 points). "I didn't think it was gonna work that well."
The victory clinched the Prince George's County regular season title for Wise (17-1, 14-0) with two county games remaining this week, since the Pumas hold the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs after they came back from eight points down in the fourth quarter to win at Bowie, 68-65, back on Jan. 19.
This time, in Upper Marlboro, the game was essentially decided during a five-minute stretch to begin the second quarter. After going ahead 14-12 to close the first quarter, Wise then scored the first 15 points of the second quarter to open up a double-digit lead it never surrendered. Bowie (14-4, 13-2) struggled to establish any rhythm thanks to the quick hands and swarming pressure of the Pumas and finished with 30 turnovers, many of which resulted in Wise layups on the other end.
"We send two people after the ball all the time, try to trap them, and make the illusion that we're everywhere," said senior guard Leslie Slayton, who finished with a game-high 27 points. "It makes it look like nobody's open."
Afterwards Slayton admitted the coaching staff "hid some stuff" in the game's early moments, trying to gauge what Bowie would do before making adjustments of its own. But even Coach Walter Clark conceded he never envisioned his press would work so well.
"We dismantled a good team tonight," he said. "I thought defensively, they never got any continuity."
Steals aplenty: With its press working on all cylinders, Wise finished the game with 15 steals, led by six from the 5-foot-2 Janay Borum. Sophomore Eliqua Brooks (11 points) had four steals.
Coaching switch: With Coach Walter Clark nursing an abscess on his cheek, Wise assistant Addison Shepard stepped in and did much of the coaching Tuesday night. Clark spent much of the contest seated at the end of the bench, playing the role of assistant.