After facing stiff nondistrict competition that resulted in six December losses, the Woodbridge High School girls basketball team made a New Year's resolution of sorts: Do unto others as others have done to us.
The Vikings tested that unofficial motto last night and were quite pleased with the results. Hounding Stonewall Jackson with the same type of nagging defense that has handcuffed the Vikings at times this season, the Vikings forced 34 turnovers to roll to a 72-34 home win.
The Raiders (2-4, 0-2) took a 2-0 lead on free throws by sophomore guard Tish Hogan. Woodbridge then reeled off 19 consecutive points during a 4 1/2-minute flurry that stretched into the second quarter.
Because of 12 turnovers in the first period alone, Stonewall did not score its first field goal until junior guard Martina Millberry connected on a jumper from the left-hand side off an inbounds play with 6 minutes 48 seconds left in the first half.
"All those times the girls were getting run on and pressured--they know how to do it now," said Woodbridge Coach George Washington, whose team missed its first 10 shots but did not allow that to tame its defensive effort. "We've learned how to break pressure, and we've learned how to give pressure."
"When we were pressed [this season], we had to work really hard," said sophomore guard Liana Wooten, who scored 19 points last night and had seven rebounds. "Now I think we'll be ready for all the other things that are thrown at us."
After falling behind 19-2, the closest the Raiders came was within 10 at 32-22 just more than a minute into the second half. Whittling the Woodbridge lead was an even more daunting task without Hogan, who had sprained her right ankle with 3:15 remaining in the second quarter. She did not return and is questionable for the Raiders' home game tonight against Colonial Forge.
Meanwhile, the Vikings (5-6, 2-0) flaunted their guard depth, continually rotating in fresh players. Wooten's 19 points followed 20- and 25-point efforts her previous two games. Wooten arced in three three-pointers, at least one of them from well beyond the top of the key.
"Liana knows she can shoot from anywhere," said Washington, who is still kicking himself for not inserting Wooten into the game against Robinson last year in the Virginia AAA state semifinals when the Vikings needed a miracle shot.
In Stonewall's most recent game, on Dec. 17, the Raiders lost just 46-43 to Gar-Field. They figured to give Woodbridge a similar challenge last night but instead did nothing of the sort. Coach Ira DeGrood said the blowout loss had nothing to do with playing a game for the first time in 18 days.
"We took a huge, huge step backward," he said. "Our transition defense was horrendous. They beat us up and down the floor early. Early in the game, that's bad. I can see late, because we don't play a lot of people. . . . Early in the game that shouldn't happen."
Nor was DeGrood willing to blame the severity of the loss on being without Hogan for more than half the game. Besides handling the ball, Hogan had scored 20 or more points in four games this season.
"When you lose Tish, it shouldn't change your defense," DeGrood said. "It was bad. It was an ugly night."
CAPTION: Kristin Portell defends Martina Millberry of the Raiders, who couldn't overcome 34 turnovers.
CAPTION: Stonewall Jackson's Aisha Steele reaches to intercept a pass by Elizabeth Mumley of Woodbridge, which reeled off 19 consecutive points over the first and second quarters and never led by fewer than 10 points the rest of the way, improving to 5-6, 2-0 in the Cardinal District.