Stonewall fouls out against Hylton

MANASSAS –The look on Hylton girls basketball coach Melvin Smith’s face said it all.

With five seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs leading by 15 points, the host Stonewall Raiders were called for their 24th foul, forcing Smith into an exasperated laugh. Hylton was about to win its 12th straight contest but this one was a slugfest.

In a nearly two-hour game in which there were 47 fouls and numerous turnovers, the Bulldogs (16-1) won 61-44 thanks to 19 points from Jasmine Byrd and 15 from Starr Allen.

“That was ridiculous, that was very ridiculous,” Smith said. “This was a varsity basketball game, not a middle school game. They called it like it was middle school and I don’t appreciate it.”

Ironically, it was the Bulldogs that made the best use of the quick whistle, hitting 27 of 35 free throw attempts compared to 11 of 28 for Stonewall (8-9). Byrd hit eight of nine freebies and Allen seven of nine, many of the latter’s following her nine offensive rebounds.

Stonewall hung tough for most of the game, trailing by just eight points on several occasions early in the fourth quarter. However, missed opportunities –and free throws –on the offensive end ultimately doomed the Raiders.

After a three-pointer by Tish Hogan sliced the Stonewall deficit to 50-42 with 2:03 left, the Raiders failed to make a field goal the rest of the way.

“At times they were impatient….but the name of the game was free throws,” Raiders coach Yvette Baggett said. “You can’t miss free throws, you can’t do it. It just eats a hole in me.”

Both teams used all of their entire resources. However, the Bulldogs got much better production defensively from their reserves. Kiawaana Smith had six points while Kimberli Hoston provided effective defense off the bench.

Hogan and Jeanette Robinson had 25 and nine points, respectively, for Stonewall but were forced to carry the offensive load for most of the game. Hogan scored 15 of the team’s 19 second-half points and had six rebounds for the game.

“We can play anybody,” Smith said. “Playing a diamond [press], full-court, 55 [feet], full man [to-man], the whole game, which is what we wanted to do. We knew we would tire them out. It just took us a long time to do that.”

Hylton led 32-25 at halftime and got balanced scoring from its starting five. In the first half, Allen had eight points, Byrd seven and Jennifer Rhodan and Shareka Purnell added five apiece. Rhodan finished the game with 10 points.

Baggett was pleased with the way her team performed but felt like her team’s inexperience was a deciding factor against a formidable Hylton team, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll this week.

“Experience wins out over the inexperience,” Baggett said. “They got all of those seniors over there and I got three underclassmen and two freshmen.”

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