Woodson senior Maggie McGuire at the line with 0.3 seconds left. McGuire made her first free throw to give the Cavs a 47-46 victory.

Late McGuire free throw lifts #9 Cavaliers over #18 Stallions

With the game against South County tied at 46 late and 2.3 seconds left, one of W.T. Woodson’s talented and experienced players just did what came natural.

Wing Maggie McGuire took a nice in-bounds pass from fellow senior Sarah Wilson at halfcourt straight to the hoop, drawing a foul. She then calmly sunk her first free throw with 0.3 seconds left, giving her team a thrilling 47-46 win Friday night.

McGuire had little time to think about what was happening on the play, which unfolded differently than coach Erik Cassily drew it up on the bench. She had never been in anything like that situation before, but came through in the clutch.

“I definitely was tense [at the line],” an ecstatic McGuire said after the game. “Thankfully every day in practice we practice our free throws and I just know I’ve practiced enough where I can do it, and it’s just another shot. Even though it was for the game.”

It was most certainly for the game, a back-and-forth one and the Patriot District opener for both teams. Woodson came out determined to slow South County’s dangerous attack, powered by seniors Gabbi San Diego and Keagan Schwab. Cassily had Wilson or someone else faceguard Schwab all night, and he put the over-six-foot Wilson on the small but lightning-quick San Diego.

Senior Sarah Wilson took turns guarding Gabbi San Diego...
Senior Sarah Wilson took turns guarding Gabbi San Diego…
...and also Keagan Schwab.
…and also Keagan Schwab.

It worked to some extent, as Schwab didn’t get a shot off in the first half and San Diego never got red-hot. But the other Stallions played well to keep the game close, with sophomore power forward Ka’mel Colbert (12 first quarter points) and junior forward Cydney Storer (four first half assists) leading the way. At half Woodson nevertheless led 28-25, thanks in no small part to sophomore guard Eunice Yoon’s three three-pointers and 11 first half points.

In the third quarter Schwab started to use picks to get her shot off and do some damage. The Stallions (0-1, 7-4) also played some smart defense of their own, limiting Woodson to seven third quarter points. Going into the fourth quarter the visitors led 39-35.

Woodson answered right back. On two consecutive possessions Yoon grabbed defensive rebounds and got the ball down the court to senior forward Abby Pesansky to tie the game at 39 with around six minutes left. A crazy finish between the two Patriot District contenders seemed inevitable.

Tied at 44 with under 30 seconds left, Woodson got a key block from McGuire and converted on a run-out, with Pesansky finding Allie Maahs for a layup. Woodson’s defenders and especially Wilson had done an admirable job on San Diego all night, but the Christopher Newport signee is a tough one to stop in the clutch. Her sick crossover and layup shown below knotted things at 46.

San Diego finished with 10 points and Colbert did a ton of damage with 18 points and seven rebounds. Storer had a great all-around game while Schwab managed eight second half points despite the extra defensive attention.

Yoon led the way for Woodson (1-0, 10-2) with 14 points. Pesansky was outstanding as well, delivering a double-double. This is the fourth year for Pesansky, Wilson, Amelia Noca, and McGuire on the varsity.

Abby Pesansky went for 13 points, 12 rebounds in the victory.
Abby Pesansky went for 13 points, 12 rebounds in the victory.

“They’ve worked hard and its been a long, tough road,” said Cassily of his seniors. “It’s great to see their hard work paying off for them.”

It certainly did down the stretch for McGuire. We wondered–would she have been able to perform so admirably down the stretch in a pressure situation as a sophomore?

“Probably not,” a smiling McGuire admitted. “Honestly probably not.”

–Chris Jollay

all stats are unofficial

YOON 5-15 0-0 14 9 2
WIGGINS 1-8 0-0 2 3 2
MCGUIRE 3-5 1-2 7 4 2
WILSON 3-10 0-0 6 5 1
PESANSKY 5-10 3-5 13 12 1
Weinberger 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Noca 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Maahs 2-5 0-0 5 1 0
TOTALS 19-53 4-7 47 37 8
Threes: Yoon 4-11, Maahs 1-2, Wiggins 0-1
SAN DIEGO 4-14 1-2 10 0 3
LYLES 0-7 0-0 0 7 1
COLBERT 7-15 4-5 18 7 0
STORER 3-11 2-2 8 6 5
SCHWAB 2-5 3-3 8 4 1
Russell 0-1 0-2 0 1 0
Mills 1-2 0-0 2 2 0
TOTALS 17-55 10-14 46 27 10
Threes: San Diego 1-3, Schwab 1-3, Lyles 0-5, Storer 0-5