W.T. Woodson 59, Langley 50
The student body section at the W.T. Woodson gymnasium could not help but celebrate its 14th-ranked team's winning streak, which grew to 14 in a row after last night's 59-50 home victory over Langley. But Cavaliers boys' basketball coach Mike Pflugrath and his players are doing all they can to ignore that number. Besides, they say, it's only January.
"We look up on the walls in our gym and see 17 district banners," said the fifth-year coach, who is trying to win his first. "That's what we're concerned with right now."
Last night's win helped Woodson (14-0, 6-0 in the Liberty District) take one step closer to clinching the top seed in its district. Langley (7-8, 4-2) entered last night's game looking to pull even with the Cavaliers.
The Saxons tried for most of the night. Woodson claimed a 17-16 lead early in the second quarter on a basket by Mike Deering (10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) and never looked back. The Cavaliers maintained a single-digit lead thereafter, making 17 of their first 18 free throws (19 of 28 for the game).
Meanwhile, Woodson senior guard Brian Tran provided a huge defensive lift, holding down Langley's top scorer Will Monica. Tran's man-to-man defense made it tough on Monica, who entered the game having averaged 28.5 points during his previous five contests. Monica finished with 13 points, giving him 1,002 for his career. He converted only two of eight foul shots.
"[Monica] was a little bit frustrated," said Tran, a 6-foot senior guard who gave away five inches to Monica. "But that's what we do. We play man defense."
To Pflugrath, the more impressive number is the total amount of points his team is allowing (53 per game).
"Last year, we got off to that 7-0 start, but we were giving up 63 points per game," said Pflugrath, whose team has lost in the district final the past three seasons. "Ten extra points will win you a lot of high school basketball games. Streaks are nice, but nobody really remembers them at the end of the year. What they do remember, is winning a district title."
Senior guard Jose Olivero scored 25 points to again lead Woodson in scoring. He hit three three-pointers and helped stabilize things for his team in a game that featured little cohesiveness at either offensive end. Tran chipped in nine points and Kevin Wilmot scored eight.
Michael Housman had a team-high 18 points for Langley.