Only a bout with stomach flu could stop Shadavia Hughes and T.C. Williams last night, and the Titans defeated nondistrict neighbor Lee, 68-51, in a Virginia AAA girls basketball game.
The 5-foot-9 Hughes, who got sick at halftime, combined with back-court mates Cavanaugh Hagen and Rita Willis for 45 points, 19 rebounds and 14 assists, and T.C. Williams ran its early-season record to 3-0. The youthful Titans finished 11-13 last season.
"I've been sick for a week, but it really didn't get to me until we started playing tonight," said Hughes, who scored 10 first-half points and played only five minutes in the second half. "I'm probably [playing] at about 75 percent."
Despite being drained after the game, Hughes, a junior who along with Hagen has started since her freshman year, lit up when asked about the potential of the Titans.
"We have three guards that nobody can stop," Hughes said.
And that's not good news for Patriot District foes Robinson and West Springfield.
The Titans were nearly unstoppable during the first half. They outscored the Lancers 16-0 during the final 4 minutes 43 seconds of the second quarter to take a commanding 43-18 lead into the break.
"The first half was the best we've played all year," Titans second-year coach Becky Harden said. "We were patient and kept hitting our cutters. We have seven guards that I can rotate in and out and not really lose anything. That's our strength."
Willis, another 5-9 guard, was the main beneficiary of T.C. Williams's interior passing; the sophomore scored a team-high 18 points and added seven rebounds. Hagen, a 5-9 junior, kept the Lancers' defense honest by making five three-point shots.
"We played better as a team tonight," said Hagen, who scored 17 points and added five assists, "and we can give any team trouble."
A sentiment echoed by her ill teammate.
"We're going to be there," said Hughes, when asked how the Titans will stack up against Patriot District competition.
Lee's Elizabeth Oduro led all scorers with 28 points and made seven steals.
Note: Despite coaching in their second and first seasons, respectively, Harden and Lee Coach Rhonda Clifton know each other well. The two, along with Titans assistant Marguerite Rougier, played together this fall on a women's pro-am team, WBL, that played a 12-game exhibition schedule against area colleges, including George Mason.
"Rhonda's my very good friend," Harden said. "And we hope to play again next year."
Harden played at Radford University, and Clifton played at Delaware.
CAPTION: Lee's Megan Kulungowski collides with Christina Copeland, but neither gets rebound in T.C. Williams's victory that was dominated by its back court.