Blazers Eyeing Repeat
Williams, SHS Beat Fort Defiance, 46-34
Posted: February 13, 2013
SHS’s Tayler Dodson drives to the hoop against Fort. (Photo by Jason Lenhart / DN-R)
That’s where the Spotswood High School guards are staring half the time on defense.
Racking up 10 steals – mostly by reading her opponent’s eyes to anticipate passes – Williams also scored 18 points as the Trailblazers forced 25 turnovers en route to a 46-34 victory over Fort Defiance in the Valley District semifinals Tuesday night.
“E [Dofflemyer] especially and me have been playing AAU since we were little, so we’re normally the little girls against the big girls,” said Williams, a senior guard. “So you’ve gotta read people’s passes, because you can’t always steal it from them. … Girls really give away their passes with their eyes. They look exactly where they’re going to throw it.”
Spotswood, the top seed in the Division 3 bracket, advanced to face D4 No. 1 seed Broadway (17-4) at SHS at 6 p.m. Friday in a rematch of last season’s championship game. The Blazers (23-1) are seeking their third straight district tournament title.
It wasn’t a pretty start Tuesday for SHS, which shot 7-for-26 in the first half.
Going to an aggressive full-court trap earlier than usual, Spotswood got a jumpstart from its defense after trailing 16-9 halfway through the second quarter. Williams got free behind a screen for a long jumper with 2:23 left in the period, initiating a 9-0 closing run that put SHS ahead 18-16 at halftime.
“It didn’t really worry me too much,” Williams said of the slow start, “because normally we come back when we start pressing really hard. But we all just kinda needed to wake up.”
Spotswood stretched its lead to 25-18 into the third quarter, with junior forward Tayler Dodson spinning for a layup and Williams adding a pair of baskets off turnovers, including a three-point play.
The Indians (18-6), who shot 50 percent (15-for-30) overall, took care of the ball well in the first 12 minutes but unraveled against a press that featured Dodson’s length at the top of the SHS defense. Dodson, who had 11 points and eight rebounds, helped make thefts easier for Dofflemyer and Williams.
“She’s bigger, so then she guards them more, so they really look for their passes and you can see exactly where they’re going,” Williams said. “Sometimes, the little girls will stand back so they can really look to see where they’re going to pass.”
Junior forward Devon Byrd found Megan Good cutting to the basket for a layup that cut the Indians’ deficit to 27-24 with 3:48 left in the third. But Williams exploded for 12 points – including two conventional 3-point plays – during the period, as SHS outscored Fort 22-10.
“We were playing well as a team, but then it just started to break off a little,” said Byrd, who led the Indians with 12 points and 10 rebounds. “Everyone was getting lazy on defense and we just weren’t executing. I don’t think we were prepared for [the press].”
Spotswood closed the third quarter just as sharp as the second, with a turnover-aided 13-2 run.
“You don’t win championships in a layup contest, so you’ve gotta be able to play in the halfcourt. I think most of the time we were bored,” said SHS coach Chris Dodson, who celebrated his 45th birthday by guiding the Blazers to their 15th straight win at home. “We came out and stood around like what the heck am I doing. Then, once we got into a flow and got to moving, we started to shake and dive a little bit and have a little fun.”
Now, Williams and Spotswood will face Broadway for the third time this season in a defensive showdown. After enduring its only loss to Germantown Academy in Philadelphia, the Blazers have allowed 40 points or fewer in seven of its last eight games. The only exception was Broadway.
Meanwhile, the Gobblers have held opponents to 40 points or fewer 14 times this season.
“Both of our teams are normally really good at defense,” Williams said. “So, I’m really excited.”
Alexander 1 0-0 2, Good 3 0-0 6, Byrd 5 2-4 12, Uhler 3 2-2 8, Wenger 3 0-0 6. Totals 15 4-6 34.
Williams 7 4-4 18, Linsday 2 0-0 4, Dofflemyer 3 1-1 8, Dodson 5 1-6 11, Propes 1 1-2 3, Lam 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 7-13 46.
Fort Defiance 8 8 10 8 - 34
Spotswood 5 13 22 6 - 46
3-Point Goals—Fort 0, SHS 1 (Dofflemyer). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Fort 29 (Byrd 10), SHS 19 (Dodson 8). Total Fouls—Fort 13, SHS 7.