Fast starts aren't necessarily new for the W.T. Woodson boys' basketball team, but perhaps the speed at which they are achieving success is.
Coach Mike Pflugrath said his team, which began the week with a 4-0 record, is using its supreme quickness and athleticism to run what he calls a "quick break" offense.
Cavaliers senior point guard Jose Olivero scored 31 points in Friday's 79-68 win over Centreville. He is averaging 27 points, six assists and two steals per game.
The bigger surprise, Pflugrath said, is the performance of Olivero's backcourt mate, senior Brian Tran, who is averaging 16 points per game.
"Our offense, more than past years, is set up to push the ball up the floor," said Pflugrath, whose team has reached the Liberty District final the past three years but has not advanced past the second round of the Northern Region tournament. "Our guards are finishing."
Pflugrath said former long-time W.T. Woodson coach Red Jenkins, who still visits the school once or twice a week, helped him install the offense.
"Red is a good friend," said Pflugrath. "What he's shown us really matches our personnel."
Woodson, which played West Springfield in a game that ended too late for this edition, will play McLean on Friday.
Patriot Standouts Sidelined
West Potomac's Mary Lawson and West Springfield's Janielle Dodds, who led their respective Patriot District girls' basketball teams in scoring last year, are sidelined with injuries.
Lawson suffered ligament damage to her knee in the opening minutes of the Wolverines' season-opening loss to Edison. West Potomac Coach Parker Roach said Lawson will not have surgery, but will be out until at least late January. She is the younger sister of former West Springfield All-Met and current Tennessee star Kara Lawson.
The absence of Lawson, a 5-foot-9 sophomore shooting guard who averaged 12 points per game last season, has forced the Wolverines to adjust their rotation. Freshman guard Shanna Richardson is getting more playing time at the point, and sophomore Erika Green, who played center last year, has split time at point guard and shooting guard.
West Potomac, which was 1-3 after losing Friday to Mount Vernon, also entered the season without last year's starting point guard Lauren Arthur, who transferred to St. John's.
Green is the only healthy player with any varsity experience.
"We're just trying to keep our emotion high," Roach said. "By playing the younger players more, this is one way to get them some valuable experience."
Dodds, a senior center, missed two games last week with a strained hip flexor. The Spartans' game Tuesday against W.T. Woodson ended too late for this edition.
Dodds, who averaged 17 points and seven rebounds last season, played in the first two games for West Springfield, but Coach Bill Gibson said it was painful for her to walk after the second game. She dressed for Friday's game against Madison, but only stood under the basket during warm-ups and did not participate in drills.
"It's the kind of thing where she could play, but then it might flare up again and she could be out another week or two," said Gibson, whose team will play in a tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dec. 20-23. "We're being cautious right now."
Denita Braziel, starting in Dodds' place Friday, performed admirably. The 5-foot-10 senior scored 11 points -- mostly by converting on hustle plays off the glass -- grabbed four rebounds and had two assists.