Lady Pack ousts Ayden-Grifton

Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Washington let a winless but lively Ayden-Grifton group get as close as five points in the second quarter, but held the visiting Lady Chargers to just one basket in each of the third and fourth quarters. The Lady Pack’s staunch defense helped lead it to a 58-25 victory — its ninth in 10 games to start the season.

After building a 17-4 lead in the first eight minutes, Ayden-Grifton used an 11-1 run to cut its deficit to five. The Lady Chargers took advantage of Washington’s starters being on the bench, but their comeback attempt faded quickly once the likes of Nazayah Parker and Daria Jones returned to the court.

“They were breaking out press. They were dribbling it right through the middle,” Washington coach Ralph Biggs said. “We didn’t have enough pressure up front. … At halftime, we weren’t happy, as coaches, as we should have been. We let up the intensity, defensively, and we pushed them at halftime to pick it back up. They responded pretty well.”

Well, it started a bit before the intermission. Parker fed Jones in the post to end the Lady Pack’s field-goal drought. Tierra Wiggins, after missing a pair of free throws, recovered nicely with a steal and a quick layup to give Washington a 24-15 lead.

Washington kept getting to charity stripe. It took advantage of the chances to help take another sizeable lead, 38-19, into the halftime break. The girls ran away late in the first half thanks to aggressive defense and transition offense from Wiggins.

“Our press and our pressure defense. They didn’t handle the ball well, and once we started turning them over, we got layups,” Biggs said. “(Wiggins) got going and got us into an offensive flow.”

Jones’ work down low has been a major factor in the Lady Pack’s 9-1 start. However, Washington was able to pull away before halftime, and continue to do so in the second half, because of its shooters coming into form.

“I think it’s confidence,” Biggs said. “You start winning and everything feels better, your shot feels better. We had a good shooting practice (Monday). We’ve had so many games back-to-back that we haven’t had a lot of physical practice time to do a lot of shooting. It’s kicking in right now.”

It was especially crucial as Ayden-Grifton’s halfcourt offense leaned on being able to pull Jones out of the post.

Four different players scored in the third as Washington pushed its lead to 51-21. The bench players didn’t concede, defensively, like they did in the first half. The Lady Chargers mustered just two baskets in the latter 16 minutes.

“When the second unit came in the second time, they executed in the second half,” Biggs said.

The Lady Pack will spend part of its Christmas break playing in the Parker’s BBQ Girls Basketball Tournament at Rose. The girls will get to see top-notch competition from 2-A Eastern Plains Conference foes in Farmville Central and North Pitt, as well as 4-A clubs in South Central and Rose.

“I expect the same thing,” Biggs said. “We’ve set a standard playing at this level. I expect to play at this level. I think the girls are capable of it.”