Neither Yorktown junior Leila Baghdadi nor Patriots girls basketball coach Kip Davis thought this would be Baghdadi's first season playing for the Arlington school. Davis thought Baghdadi could have made the team as a freshman, but Baghdadi didn't try out until her sophomore year--only to miss the season because of a knee injury.
Last night, Baghdadi continued to make up for lost time with a game-high 19 points as the Patriots (9-3, 4-1) defeated host Wakefield, 55-47, in a meeting of two of the top teams in the Virginia AAA National District. Yorktown senior Allyson Reed added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Baghdadi scored the team's first seven points and finished 7 of 11 from the field. Of course, just having her on the team is good news for the Patriots.
"My freshman year was my first year at a public school and I wanted to make sure I would adjust," Baghdadi said. "Last year, I was ready to play before I missed the year with the knee injury. I am really happy finally to be playing for Yorktown. I am getting better with each game and am having a lot of fun."
Said Davis: "I knew she could have made the team as a freshman--I just could not get her to come out. Her injury last year really hurt us. . . . Tonight she came through and was really shooting the ball well."
Baghdadi's strong outside shooting gives the team a complement to the strong inside play of the 5-foot-10 Reed, who averages a team-high 15.5 points per game, and 5-9 sophomore Hannah Stubbs (9.5 points per game).
Baghdadi's play also has helped offset the loss of starting center Ellyn Boukus, who is out indefinitely after tearing ligaments in her ankle in a game two weeks ago. Boukus, a 6-foot senior, was averaging 10 points per game.
Last night's game was tied at 24 at halftime. Wakefield took a 28-26 lead with 6 minutes 11 seconds left in the third quarter following a field goal by Saunte Robinson. But the Patriots responded with a 15-4 run to take a 41-32 lead following a field goal by Baghdadi with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Senior Allyson Reed had six points and Baghdadi added four over the run.
Wakefield (10-5, 4-2) cut the deficit to six late in the fourth quarter but was unable to get any closer. Warriors senior Lynn Stewart led the team with 18 points.
"We got frustrated with the way things were going and that took us out of our game," said Stewart, the team's leading scorer at 15 points per game. "But things have been going well for us so far and we are looking forward to playing [Yorktown] again."
Note: Yorktown's only losses this season have been to No. 8 Mount Vernon, No. 19 Chantilly and Fairfax.