Even after its thorough, 70-54 win at No. 7 Potomac last night, Woodbridge boys basketball team members said it was too early to start thinking about their position alone atop the Cardinal District standings.
What was worth talking about was the positioning the Vikings used against Panthers senior Jernavis Draughn. Led by senior Bobby Womack, the Vikings out-muscled the slender Draughn, limiting him to a season-low 11 points, 14 below his average. And Panthers outside threat Mark Cunningham missed all 10 of his field goal attempts.
Meanwhile, Woodbridge junior Shane Staples buried three three-pointers in the first half to help stake the Vikings to a nine-point halftime lead that swelled to 18 points in the second half.
But as far as Vikings Coach Will Robinson was concerned, the 6-foot-5 Womack was the difference in a game that was darn pleasing all the way around.
"Bobby asked for the challenge early in the week, and we thought we'd give it to him," said Robinson of the player who in addition to bodying Draughn contributed six points and 10 rebounds. "I thought he set the tone with his positioning against Jernavis, and we were able to feed off that.
"The team defense is what we expected it to be, and the offense was what we wanted it to be. You can't ask for a better basketball game from a team standpoint."
Said Womack: "I believed I could do it, but I'd believe it when I'd see it."
Womack had plenty of help. Inside mate John Bryant scored 11 points and blocked four shots, including two consecutive Draughn offerings in the first minute of the second half that seemed to serve notice that the Vikings (10-2, 4-0) were not going to allow Potomac to creep back into the game. The Panthers (9-2, 2-1) had erased a 21-point fourth quarter lead at Gar-Field last week to pull out a double overtime victory.
"They were very physical with Jernavis, and when that much physical play is allowed to occur, he just has to be stronger," Potomac Coach Kendall Hayes said. "You have to play the way the game is called."
Draughn also missed five of six free throws. Potomac's most productive player was reserve sophomore forward Ian Sumers, who cashed in on 7 of 8 field goal attempts to finish with 19 points, almost doubling his season high. Woodbridge senior guard Maurice Watkins, who sat out a game Tuesday with an injured finger, returned to score 17 points.
Potomac had won 12 of 13 games in the series until last season. Woodbridge has now won three of the past four.
Woodbridge trailed just once in the game, 8-7, but soon opened an 11-point lead thanks to Bryant's post work and a Staples three-pointer.
"My eyes get real big when I'm [open]," said Staples, who scored a season high 17 points. "If the shot was open, I was going to take it."
The win just might serve as a Cardinal eye opener of sorts. Though not counted out by any means, the consensus before the season was that Woodbridge might be part contender, part spoiler, with Gar-Field and Potomac the favorites.
"Our program has sustained itself for a long time," Robinson said. "We're not going anywhere without a fight. We think we can play the game."
Hayes thought his team's performance was a repeat of a sloppy practice from Thursday.
"They played much harder than we did," he said. "Instead of stepping up to the challenge, we backed off a little bit."