WOODBRIDGE — After giving the pre-game movie selection a team’s worth of thumbs down, Hylton High School exorcised a 12-year history of losing to Woodbridge in boys basketball.
Prior to the game Tuesday night on their home floor, the Bulldogs watched film from their first meeting with the Vikings — a resounding loss that gave Woodbridge its 23rd straight win against no defeats in the series. Seeing how unmotivated the team looked last month, Hylton took the court with renewed intensity.
The Bulldogs never trailed in a 56-51 victory, forcing a three-way tie atop the four-team Cardinal District with one night remaining of district regular-season play.
“It wasn’t really a game film,” Hylton coach Kevin Brown said of the reel from the first matchup. “It was more of a horror film.”
The Bulldogs (12-5 overall, 3-2 in the district) put the 51-35 loss from Jan. 14 behind them as they scored the first eight points Tuesday night. Just 3:12 into the game, on a layup by Dana Smith, Hylton led 10-2 — with the same number of points it scored in the whole first half of the previous loss at Woodbridge (13-8, 3-2).
For much of the night, the Bulldogs held a double-digit lead. They still owned a 41-31 cushion until Woodbridge’s Kevin Hunter scored on a jumper just inside the foul line with 5:38 left in the game. The Vikings’ Andre Bratton then made a 3-pointer to cut the margin to five points, but Hylton responded as Deon Butler made the first of two free throws and Dana Smith scored on a putback of a miss on Butler’s second try.
In the final 4:55, Smith scored eight points to cap a 19-point, nine-rebound outing. Hylton’s Jermaine Hill contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, while Endor Cooper scored 11 points.
Starting guard Jerome Quinata, the lone senior on Hylton’s team, scored nine points in his final home regular-season game.
“Jerome straps it up defensively game in and game out,” Butler said. “He plays the other teams’ top scorers and we really wanted to give him a win tonight.
“That pre-game speech was all about heart and we showed it tonight. That’s the first time we’ve ever watched film as a team. Usually Coach Brown watches and tells us what to look for, but seeing made us say, ‘Wow, we really weren’t playing hard [at Woodbridge].’ “
One of Quinata’s best defensive plays Tuesday night came midway through the second quarter, when he snatched the ball away from Viking guard Daniel Fountain and went the length of the floor for a layup that gave Hylton a 21-11 lead.
For Woodbridge, Fountain scored a team-high 16 points and Chris Kendall added 12. But the Vikings, who snapped Hylton’s seven-game winning streak to start the season, dropped into a Cardinal District tie with Hylton and Gar-Field. Friday night, the Vikings play host to Gar-Field while the Bulldogs visit Forest Park.
“I thought we played a very lethargic game,” Woodbridge coach Will Robinson said. “I can’t answer why that happened at this point in the season, but I don’t think we matched their intensity.”