Walter Johnson Coach Kim Ahearn likes to boast that he has three back-court players he can count on to carry the load for the Wildcats. He needed only one last night, as junior guard Devon Wilson scored 28 points to lead the defending Montgomery County 3A co-champions to a 67-62 victory over Richard Montgomery in Rockville.
Wilson teams with junior guards Lindsey Brant and Regina Rice to give the Wildcats one of Montgomery County's more formidable back courts. Last night, she scored on a layup with less than a minute to cap a 5-0 run that gave the Wildcats a 67-57 cushion.
For the Wildcats (2-0), the key to the win was their ability to break the Rockets' full-court press.
"We were able to find some holes in their press because they were taking so many chances at the end," Wilson said. "Our goal was to come in here and try to remain undefeated, and we did it. They're a tough team, but we kept our composure."
Walter Johnson got off to a shaky start--the team arrived to the game only five mintues before tip-off because its bus was late. The Rockets (1-1) made Walter Johnson pay, taking an early 10-4 lead behind a three-point basket by junior Amelia Khalaf and a layup by guard Dayna Krakower.
But Walter Johnson responded, drawing even at 15. The Wildcats began dumping the ball inside to forward Erin Ivey (12 points) to take advantage of early foul trouble on Richard Montgomery sophomore center Tina Hopkins.
The Wildcats went into halftime with a 32-26 lead. Richard Montgomery made only 7 of 27 field goal attempts in the first half.
"When we got into foul trouble, it hurt us defensively," Richard Montgomery Coach Sissy Natoli said. "We were okay offensively, but we were a different team. We have a tendency not to shoot when we're open. We started to do that in the second half when the girls felt like they had nothing to lose."
Walter Johnson struck early in the second half, scoring eight straight points in transition behind Wilson. Richard Montgomery chipped away, pulling to 62-57 with a little more than two minutes remaining before Wilson keyed the decisive mini-run with a layup and a key assist.
"I think we basically stayed in pretty good control of the game," Ahearn said. "Devon was the difference in this game for us. She got wide-open shots for us and found her teammates, too. It was a tough game."
CAPTION: Devon Wilson (game-high 28 points) shoots over Richard Montgomery defenders Dayna Krakower, left, and Minh Nguyen. "Devon was the difference in this game for us," said Walter Johnson Coach Kim Ahearn.