Woodbridge holds off Gar-Field

DALE CITY — Woodbridge coach George Washington believes that, at this point in the season, a win is a win.

On a night when his team played well in spurts and held off an inspired Gar-Field team 63-50, being victorious was good enough for the coach.

“Now, it’s all about wins,” said Washington, whose team improved to 17-4, 4-2 in the Cardinal District. “Anything you want to get in, or want the kids to understand, should be in by now.”

For Gar-Field (1-5, 6-15), its senior night wasn’t much different than most of its other big games this season: the effort was there, but they couldn’t match their opponent for a full 32 minutes.

Earlier in the day, the Indians also lost a coin flip intended to break a possible tie with Forest Park for fourth place in the district. That leaves Gar-Field matched up with top-seeded Hylton in a 7:45 p.m. Wednesday district tournament semifinal game at Forest Park.

Woodbridge, who will play Forest Park Wednesday at 6 p.m., went back and forth with Gar-Field for most of Friday’s first half. Ahead 21-19 with a minute to play in the second quarter, an underhanded pass in the lane from Kathy Clark set up a Diana Martinez layup.

While in a full-court, trapping defense, Liana Wooten stripped Kelly Brown and went the distance for a layup. Fouled, she made the subsequent free-throw with :13.6 seconds left in the half for a 26-19 lead. Wooten made another steal at halfcourt as time wound down, and banked a 25-foot three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.

The VIkings finished the half on an 8-0 run, and the 10-point lead it gave them held up for much of the second half.

Inbounding at the end of the third period, Kate Lancaster gave a “go-deep” head-nod and connected with a streaking Wooten in time for another buzzer beater, this time a jumper from the wing that put Woodbridge up 42-29.

The lead ballooned to 54-38, but Gar-Field rallied, cutting the lead to 58-50 on a Shannon Massie three-pointer with 1:44 left. Woodbridge, still in its full-court pressure, finished the game on a 5-0 run.

“That’s how we play,” said Washington, explaining why the Vikings trapped the entire game. “Our offense depends a lot on our defense. Not that we can’t play a half-court game, I thought we did that well against Hylton. But when we play that way, the girls are up-tempo and more into the game.”

Wooten and Kristin Portell each scored 15 for the Vikings, who also got 10 points from Martinez. Whitney Allen was a spark off the bench, scoring her eight points in a variety of ways, but Washington lauded the play of Lancaster the most.

“She played like she was hungry,” he said.

The best thing going for Woodbridge, which lost twice to Hylton, and also to Potomac and Princess Anne, is its depth. Washington believes it will come in handy during the postseason.

“For now, you want to play hard and execute, that’s what you can ask,” he said. “Because from now on, all games are big games.”

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