Christ the King of New York is used to traveling the country and facing the nation's elite girls basketball teams. H.D. Woodson spends the majority of its season in Washington, playing local teams.
Once Christ the King got in gear yesterday, the differences between those two types of experience became quite evident, as the Royals rolled to a 55-35 victory at H.D. Woodson.
"I think our lack of competition really showed," said H.D. Woodson Coach Bob Headen. "They consistently face the best. We don't get to play teams like them very often and it showed."
Christ the King (18-2), ranked sixth nationally by USA Today, came to the metropolitan area to play the Warriors and O'Connell (2 p.m. today). The Royals, who were ranked No. 1 in the country earlier this season, were knocked from that perch by O'Connell, 78-67 in overtime, at Christ the King's Christmas tournament.
H.D. Woodson (19-5), ranked ninth locally and riding a 14-game winning streak, hoped to pull off the same type of upset. But the Warriors were rattled by the Royals' pesky defensive pressure and sabotaged by an inability to hit free throws.
H.D. Woodson was four of 16 from the foul line and missed three straight one-and-one opportunities early in the fourth quarter.
The Royals didn't take their first lead until 46 seconds remained in the first quarter. Six-foot senior forward Darlene Saar (game-high 18 points), who has signed a letter of intent to play at George Washington University, gave Christ the King the lead for good when she scored off a rebound, making it 20-18 with 2:39 left in the first half.
H.D. Woodson scored only four points in the second quarter and was held scoreless for the final five minutes of the half and the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the third period, as the Royals began to pull away, 30-18.
"They are an excellent defensive team," said the Warriors' Dawn Stewart, who scored all six of her points in the first half. "They also move the ball so well and they aren't impatient."
The Warriors climbed back within 34-25 early in the fourth quarter. But Camillia Smith missed consecutive free throws and Stewart missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The Warriors were held without a fourth-quarter basket until Jamelle Elliott (team-high 13 points) scored with 2:59 left in the game and the Royals leading 42-27.
The Warriors several times looked ready to make a run, but Christ the King kept control with swarming 2-2-1 defensive pressure.
"When we started to press them, we got turnovers and were able to turn those into easy layups," said Saar.
"Playing a team as good as Christ the King was a good experience for us," Elliott said. "And it just shows that we have to work harder." CK (18-2) -- Fryer 4, Battaglia 2, Hemery 7, B. Kelly 2, Colberg 7, Saar 18, G. Kelly 4, Hill 11. Totals 22 11 55. HDW (19-5) -- Jones 5, Stewart 6, Elliott 13, Smith 3, Oliver 8. Totals 15 4 35. Halftime: Christ The King, 24-18. Three-point goals: H.D. Woodson 1 (Elliott).