The Wootton girls’ basketball team was sick of losing to Gaithersburg. Sick of thinking about the season-ending, double-overtime loss to the Trojans in the Maryland 4A playoffs last year. Sick of hearing about the 56-52 defeat three weeks ago.
So Friday night in Rockville, the Patriots walked into their home gym with a swagger. They didn’t just want to beat their heated Montgomery 4A West rival; they wanted to make a statement. And they did.
With a share of the division title on the line, Wootton jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and carried that cushion the rest of the way, pummeling the visiting Trojans, 70-46, in a game that was not even as close as the score might indicate.
Ellie Kobylski sparked the early run with her three-point shooting, knocking down three three-pointers in the first quarter en route to a game-high 22 points. Sheri Addison, the Patriots’ leading scorer, added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists. Wootton (12-6, 8-2 Montgomery 4A West) secured a share of the division title for the first time since 2008.
“I feel like we were more aggressive than them,” Addison said. “We were stronger than them from the start. They thought they had us, but they didn’t.”
The Patriots finished with 10 three-pointers, including five from Kobylski, who also added six rebounds. Their sharp shooting put Gaithersburg (11-5, 8-2) on its heels early.
With every three-pointer that swished through the net, Wootton had time to set up its full-court pressure defense, and the Trojans tried more desperately to climb back into the game. That haste led to sloppy possessions, ill-advised shots and a string of turnovers, which only widened the gap.
“We really came out strong defensively,” Wootton Coach Maggie Dyer said. “I think that we played very confidently. Obviously on paper, they’re a lot bigger than us and stronger than us, so we had to be more physical.”
Kobylski fueled Wootton’s offense and was also often tasked with defending Gaithersburg’s 6-foot-1 senior forward Janessa Fauntroy, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kobylski couldn’t explain why her shots seemed to fall Friday night.
“I took my first couple shots and was like, ‘I don’t think these are going to go in.’ But then they did,” she said. “It just happened.”
Kobylski’s twin sister, Cece, added 12 points and seven rebounds for Wootton, which ran away with the game in the second half. Gaithersburg trailed by 29 at one point and committed 19 turnovers, while Coach Adrian McDaniel received a technical foul for arguing with the referees.
With 5.2 seconds left, a Gaithersburg fan stormed onto the edge of the court, yelling and pointing at the referees about a foul call. The fan was escorted from the gym, unable to watch the final moments of the rout.
“I think it’s just a lot of emotion,” Dyer said. “Obviously it’s a big rival, and for my kids, losing in the playoffs stung them pretty deep. So this is a very big win for them. It’s good for them to realize that they can beat Gaithersburg.”