Natale Terwilliger (right) returned from early foul trouble to dominate the boards and control the paint.

West Potomac grinds out win over West Springfield, 44-41

His team shot the ball at less than a 30% clip from the field and couldn’t convert half its free throws. His team turned the ball over way too much and looked out of sync for almost an entire half. And yet, West Potomac coach Brian Colligan was a pretty happy guy after his team’s contest with West Springfield.

That’s because his team gutted out a 44-41 against a scrappy Spartan team on the road with starter Lauren Ellis unavailable. That’s because his team found a way to get the job done despite not putting its best foot forward for 32 minutes.

“It was an ugly game, especially the first half,” Colligan said. “We’ve got a lot of things we have to clean up but all factors considered this was a pretty good night for us. Pretty happy right now.”

The Spartans’ defense was effective early. Here they trap freshman point guard Caroline Eby.

The Wolverines fell behind early, trailing 14-4 after a quarter with star center Natalie Terwilliger on the bench with two fouls. The Spartans could have almost put the game away at that point but the Wolverines tightened their defense, only allowing the Spartans two points in the second quarter. Backup center Gabriella Hopper did a nice job filling in for Terwilliger, while senior Dejah Essex used her length to bother the Spartan guards.

Down 16-11 at the break, things started to flow a lot easier for West Po. Terwilliger returned to dominate the boards and make it even harder for the Spartans to score in the paint. Colligan’s team also got some offense from an unexpected source in freshman Ambria Redfearn. Redfearn scored a career-high 14 points, most in the second half as her team erupted on offense.

“Ambria has been a defensive specialist for us,” Colligan said. “She’s a great athlete so we just often times check her in to harass the opposition’s best scorer. She hasn’t played enough high-level basketball yet to be that polished, but you wouldn’t have known it tonight.”

Freshman Ambria Redfearn had her best game as a high schooler, scoring 14 points.

Indeed. The Wolverines beat West Springfield’s press late, with Redfearn often the beneficiary of the last pass down the court. She also was a big factor in limiting the Spartans’ leading scorer from last year, junior Molly Sharman, to a very off night from the field (1-13). Terwilliger also consistently rejected shots and kept Sharman and company from getting good looks.

Another freshman put on an impressive show for the Spartans (1-2) in the loss. With her team down late, guard Lexi White scored five straight points to bring West Springfield to within a point of the Wolverines with under a minute left. White was impressive, displaying a nice inside-outside game and leading her team with 17 points, five boards and three assists. Sophomore guard Mary Laychak also had a nice game, contributing nine points while also tallying five rebounds and three assists.

Freshman Lexi White led the way for the Spartans with 17 points.

The senior Terwilliger (12 points, 15 rebounds, three assists) will continue to be the focus of the Wolverines’ attack going forward, but Colligan’s young talent also showed through on this evening. In addition to Redfearn, freshmen Caroline Eby (seven points) and Danea Mackey (eight points) had solid games.

The Wolverines (4-3) will resume their schedule on Friday, when they tangle with South County.

–Chris Jollay

all stats are unofficial

EBY 2-9 2-2 7 2 0
ESSEX 0-3 0-6 0 7 0
MACKEY 1-5 6-8 8 3 1
T. MACKIE 0-1 0-0 0 0 0
N. TERWILLIGER 3-6 6-12 12 15 3
A. Terwilliger 0-3 0-1 0 2 0
Hopper 0-1 1-2 1 3 1
Redfearn 4-9 5-10 14 2 0
R. Mackie 1-1 0-2 2 0 0
TOTALS 11-38 20-43 44 34 5
Threes: Redfearn 1-1, Eby 1-2, Mackey 0-3, N. Terwilliger 0-3
MEILLER 2-3 0-0 5 3 2
LAYCHAK 4-8 0-0 9 5 3
WHITE 7-15 3-6 17 5 3
ELLSWORTH 1-7 2-2 4 5 0
SHARMAN 1-13 2-2 4 5 1
S. Buckner 0-5 0-0 0 2 0
Riddle 0-3 0-0 0 2 1
Grieve 1-3 0-0 2 0 0
Siddiqui 0-3 0-0 0 0 0
Beyer 0-1 0-0 0 0 0
Schuck 0-0 0-0 0 0 1
TOTALS 16-61 7-10 41 27 11
Threes: Meiller 1-1, Laychak 1-3, Ellsworth 0-1, White 0-3