The last city basketball team to play a game this season was the first (and still only) team to win one. And the Great Crossing girls completed that sweep with an offensive flair that makes them must-see TV this winter, if you're not one of the fortunate few permitted to view it in person.
GC made it back-to-back home wins in 19 hours with an 86-50 rout of Bryan Station on Saturday afternoon. That backed up an 89-82 triumph in a track meet against Rowan County the previous night.
“Offensively we're shooting the ball well. That's probably one of our strengths,” GC coach Glenn Wilson said , “Defense we've got to clean up. We got a little sloppy today. It's a lot of little things.”
Timothi Williams led all scorers with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting to go with six rebounds for the Warhawks (2-0), who shot 56.7 percent from the field.
Senior point guard Braylee McMath amassed 17 points, six assists and six steals, leaving her six points shy of 1,000 for her high school career in the county.
“She can do it all,” Wilson said of McMath. “She's a general out there.”
Raegan Barrett added 12 points, while Hailey Ward and Ava Schureman posted matching totals of seven points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Bryan Station (0-3) had matching totals of points scored and timeouts used — three — in the first five minutes of the game as it struggled mightily to counter Great Crossing's full-court pressure.
Williams, McMath and Barrett combined for the Warhawks' first 14 points. Ward and Rachel Smith each nailed a 3-pointer late in the period to produce a 28-10 lead.
The Defenders gradually found seams in the Warhawk defense, turning the second and third quarters into more of a basket-swapping affair.
“That's always been the struggle, to get the defense going,” Wilson said. “You get three or four of them doing great, and one or two of them standing around. The main thing is just communicating and talking and trying to be consistent. That's the theme this year.”
Smith and Schureman's three capped a 10-0 run to make it 42-12, but Bryan Station hung around and cut its deficit to 50-27 at the half.
McMath's three and a pair of dishes to Williams triggered a 11-0 surge midway through the third. Lauren Tucker's put-back at the buzzer increased the lead to 74-38 and guaranteed a running clock for the final eight minutes.
Eleven different Warhawks scored at least two points against Bryan Station, and six of them knocked down a 3-pointer.
“We just have to share the ball more naturally,” Williams said of GC's areas for improvement. “We have to tune in and help on defense.”
Tori Godoy (17) and Tania Woodall (12) led the scoring for Bryan Station, which shot 39.6%.
Against Rowan County, Williams led five double-figure scorers for GC with 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists.
“Everybody's worked their butt off this summer, and we just came back better,” Williams said.
McMath added 25 points, six assists and four rebounds. Williams and McMath each sank five 3-pointers and combined to go 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Great Crossing shot 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) and 19-for-24 (79.4 percent) as a team in those productive categories.
Smith (13), Schureman (12) and Barrett (10) added to the scoring onslaught for GC, which never trailed and accelerated to its largest lead of the night at 24-7 six minutes into the contest.
Rowan County (0-2) held its ground on the shoulders of Haven Ford, who erupted for a game-high 37 points. Ford was successful on all 14 of her attempts from the free-throw line and also rained down five 3-pointers. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.
“She was smooth. She's a great player,” Wilson said of Ford. “She didn't get frustrated. She just let the game come to her. They just caught fire. They'd get to three or four points, and we'd go on another run.”
Katie Chandler added 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting for the Vikings.
GC's lead shrank to 26-16 after one period, and Rowan County further closed the gap to 39-34 at the half.
“All the girls have matured mentally and physically,” Wilson said. “A game like that last year, we probably would have lost. This year you can tell they're more mature. They stuck to the game plan and pulled out a good win.”
A flurry of late free throws from Schureman put the lead in double digits down the stretch.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.