Going into the season, H.D. Woodson Coach Bob Headen believed his young girls team wouldn't mesh until midseason. But the fourth-ranked Warriors have survived two tough tests, the latest yesterday, and at 8-0 are the cream of the Interhigh League.

After a sluggish start against Anacostia, the Warriors began to pound the boards better and get offensive production out of primary players to attain their eighth victory, 50-40, at Woodson.

They showed their coach they could function well without their leading scorer, Valerie Wages (21 points a game), as she played sparingly in the second half because of a slight ankle sprain.

Yet Headen said, "This was the worst game we have played. We should have done much better than this."

With a taller and more physical squad, Woodson shouldn't have had too much difficulty pulling away from the Indians (3-4), who only had one serious scoring threat, Dietra Brown (23 points). But at times the Warriors rushed their shots and didn't pass with confidence against 2-3 zone pressure.

But with Headen constantly yelling instructions, the inexperienced Warriors smartly improved.

Leading by only 21-19 at intermission, H.D. Woodson opened the second half incandescent, bursting to a 27-19 lead on six of Willina Robson's 11 points. Brown hit one of two free throws and Dawn Hartridge connected from the corner to interrupt the Warriors' surge.

But Woodson's top players came to the fore and fended off any further challenge. Behind free throws from Althea Simpson (12 points), inside domination from Marie Morgan (12 points), and an all-around game from Kimberly Hunsucker (11 points), the lead was 37-28 entering the fourth.

In the past, a nine-point lead for H.D. Woodson might have expanded because of the Warriors' ability to put teams away. Not yet for this young squad.

Behind Brown's scoring, Anacostia fought to within 43-38 on her uncontested breakaway layup with 2:49 remaining. That basket might not have been so easy had not the referee given the Indians the ball with the Woodson players still huddled around their coach during a timeout.

Woodson quickly regrouped. Simpson scored inside to make it 45-38. After Anacostia turnovers, Simpson and Hunsucker each made a pair of free throws to push the margin to 49-38 in the final minute.

"They still have to jell," Headen said of his squad. "But they showed me that they may be jelling because they played well without Buffy {Valerie Wages} in there."