Blazers Beat BHS, 61-55
PENN LAIRD – As Bailey Williams stood at the foul line early in the second half Tuesday, she was visibly trembling – and it wasn’t because she was nervous.
Moments earlier, just before the first-half buzzer, the Spotswood High School senior was blindsided by a Broadway screen and hit her head after crashing to the floor. When she returned to the court after halftime, the cobwebs still hadn’t quite left her.
At least for a while.
Williams went on to score seven of her 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play that gave the Blazers breathing room in an action-packed 61-55 victory.
On a night when the Gobblers’ Heather Cantrell was celebrated for reaching 1,000 career points – she came into the game with 999 – the Blazers (18-1 overall, 9-0 in the Valley District) held off a 26-5 charge by Broadway (13-4, 7-2), thanks largely to Williams’ wherewithal.
“When I sprinted really fast, I felt a little shaky, and then when I shot those free throws, I was shaking,” said Williams, who now has 1,454 career points, a school record for boys’ and girls’ hoops, after passing Richard Bruce (1,431 in 1997) last week. “…I’ve gotten hurt before, so I was kind of used to it.”
Williams, who has signed to play at Division I North Carolina-Greensboro next season, was held to only two points in the first half – and just before the half buzzer, Cantrell’s screen almost took her out of the game completely.
“I knew she [Williams] wasn’t looking, so I thought I’d stand there,” Cantrell said. “I didn’t think she’d hit me full speed. When she hit me full speed and went down, I was like, ‘Oops.’”
Cantrell’s pick rendered Williams questionable at the half. When Spotswood came back on the floor to warm up for the second half, Williams was still being looked at by the team trainer in the locker room, and SHS coach Chris Dodson said he was preparing to play without her. She finally re-emerged about a minute before the third quarter started.
After missing those shaky free throws early, Williams then made her next five. Her 3-pointer late in the third gave the Blazers a 40-39 lead after Broadway’s surge had put them up six, and her three-point play with less than two minutes left put them up 57-51, the largest lead of the fourth quarter for either team.
“The great thing was, it did shake her up, but I think it frustrated her [into playing better],” Dodson said. “I think [we had] maturity – team maturity – and that comes from following your leader.”
As usual, Williams was aided by junior forward Tayler Dodson, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds and didn’t pick up any fouls while guarding the dangerous Cantrell. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Dofflemyer had 10 points, and junior guard Rachel Lindsay also had 10, including 4-of-4 at the free-throw line in the final minute.
Cantrell, who scored her 1,000th point on a jumper from the foul line with 1:14 left in the first quarter, had 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out late.
Morgan 1 0-0 3, Alger 3 2-3 8, Cantrell 6 0-0 12, Earhart 2 1-1 5, Roadcap 4 5-5 15, Zook 6 1-1 13. Totals 24 9-10 55.
Patterson 1 1-2 3, Jenkins 1 0-2 3, Williams 5 5-8 16, Lindsay 3 4-4 10, Dofflemyer 4 1-2 10, Lam 1 0-0 2, Dodson 6 5-9 17 . Totals 24 16-27 61.
Broadway 6 16 17 16 - 55
Spotswood 17 13 10 21 - 61
3-Point Goals—Broadway 2 (Morgan 1, Roadcap 1), Spotswood 3 (Jenkins 1, Williams 1, Dofflemyer 1). Fouled Out—Broadway (Cantrell), Spotswood (Lam). Rebounds—Broadway 34 (Cantrell 11), Spotswood 28 (Dodson 10). Total Fouls—Broadway 17, Spotswood 13.