No. 8 Western girls roll to win in Basketball Academy tourney

For The Baltimore Sun
Western was led by Kyaja Williams, who scored 14 points, and Cache Waters, who had 13.

Western girls basketball coach Latasha Townsend didn't like what she was seeing from her team, so she called a timeout near the end of the first quarter with the teams tied at 7-7.

"I told them they needed to get their energy level up," Townsend said. "I knew we had to get them running, and, if we did, we'd be all right."

Her team was more than all right.

The No. 8 Doves (9-1) went on a 22-4 run over last 10 minutes of the first half to overwhelm Bell, of Washington, D.C., 58-30, in the 20th annual Baltimore City Public School's Basketball Academy Tournament at Morgan State University on Thursday.

Western was led by Kyaja Williams, who scored 14 points, and Cache Waters, who had 13. Miamour Mesa led the Griffons (6-5) with 10 points.

In the early part of the game, the Griffons' physical style of defense took the Doves out of their offensive game plan. The Western offense looked slow and confused.

But that was before the timeout.

"She told us we needed to play our game," Williams said. "I think in the beginning we were just a little too relaxed as we tried to adjust to a new gym. We knew we had to turn it on."

The Doves used a Williams 3-pointer to get them started and run the lead to 10-7 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter. After stealing the ball on the next Bell possession, Tinayah Howard scored on a jumper 11 seconds later. When the first quarter ended, Western was ahead 13-9.

The second quarter was all Western. The Doves got their offense moving, and scored 14 of the next 16 points to take a 29-11 lead into the half.

After the break, the Doves still weren't done. They scored nine of the first 11 points in the second half to take a 38-13 lead with 4:43 left in the quarter to put the game away.

"We wanted to pick up where we left off," Waters said. "We came out after the half and tried to play like it was 0-0."

Williams said the key was the second quarter.

"We started playing with a lot more confidence," she said. "We didn't want to underestimate our opponent, but we just came out and played our game."

Townsend said she likes what she sees in her team this year.

"This is my second year with them, and I think I understand them better and they understand me better," she said. "It's more my team now, and they know what to expect. Our energy level wasn't where I wanted it to be at the start, but they left it all out there later in the game."

8 Western 58, Bell (D.C.) 30

B–Santana 4, Mesa 10, Wells 2, Gallion 3, Miller 6, Hall 5. Totals: 9 11-13 30.

W–Walton 3, Johnson 7, Pickens 4, Williams 14, Faulkner 2, Howard 5, Waters 13, Jackson 10. Totals: 24 4-11 58. Half: W, 29-11.

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