The numbers are never far from mind when the T.C. Williams girls get up in your face.
Coach Kesha Walton’s full-court pressure, man-to-man defense is the team’s top priority. Walton’s mantra is defense is the team’s No. 1 offense, and she has her own system for keeping the girls interested.
If opponents score more than 10 points in a quarter, the Titans know they’ll pay for defensive lapses with sprints. If they allows more than 40 points in a game, the girls might run bleachers.
Despite fielding a team featuring only two returners with significant playing experience, the Titans have mostly avoided punitive conditioning. T.C. Williams (13-3) is holding opponents to an average of 35.7 points per game.
“That next day, we don’t want to be running suicides,” senior Rejoice Spivey said. “We dig in and we make sure the other teams don’t score. It’s a big motivation.”
Spivey, a 5-foot-8 guard committed to North Carolina A&T, has assumed the scoring burden. Since the start of the new year, she’s averaging 20 points per game, and she put up 27 against Lee on Jan. 16.
“The girls really look up to her, because she’s been on varsity for four years.” Walton said. “She’s carrying the load.”
Offensive responsibilities are familiar to Spivey. The role of educator is not.
With five sophomores and two freshmen on the roster, the Titans have had to pump the brakes, spend more time explaining schemes and watch more film.
“I know how to talk to my teammates now,” Spivey said. “I can’t yell at them all the time and get on them all the time, I have to be more encouraging and supportive so they can get their confidence back.”
Fortunately for the Titans, the team has kept its growing pains primarily on the practice court.
All three of the Titans’ losses have been by four points, and the team is undefeated in 2015. The banner moment the season so far came on Dec. 20, when the Titans snatched a 45-35 road win at No. 8 Edison.
Virginia Conference 7 rival West Springfield, The Post’s 13th ranked team, beat the Titans, 42-38, in the fourth game of the season. Walton said the team is looking forward to cutting down on turnovers in a Tuesday rematch in Springfield.
“We’ve been harping on where we were a month ago to where we are today,” the coach said.
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