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Defense keys Williamsburg girls to win

01/18/21 Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Williamsburg's Anna Ward and Northern Bedford's Olivia Higgins battle for the ball.

WILLIAMSBURG — Due to the mask policy where all players must wear one while competing, Williamsburg coach Amy Hileman was unsure of exactly how much that would impact her team on opening night.

With the uncertainty, Hileman opted not to press in the first half, and as a result, Northern Bedford kept themselves within striking distance of the Lady Blue Pirates.

However, with one half of play under their belts, Hileman unleashed her team into full court mode, and Williamsburg used it to open the second half with a game-defining run that put them over the top in earning a 55-25 Inter-County Conference cross-divisional contest on Monday night.

“We decided to put some pressure on them (Northern Bedford), and pick them up full court,” Hileman said. “I was initially worried about the masks — you don’t know how that’s going to play out. The girls seemed to have some wind behind them, so we decided to go ahead and get some full court work in. We definitely capitalized on some turnovers, and got to pull away.”

Leading by eight at the break, Kendel Norris slipped a screen inside, received a bounce pass from Megan Palmer to kickstart a 10-0 run by the Lady Blue Pirates that saw their lead balloon to 18 (32-14) when Laney Prough converted a layup at 4:40 of the third.

A pullup jumper from Mariah Hall just 10 seconds later got Northern Bedford on the board.

Williamsburg just kept wreaking havoc as it would score the final eight points to close out the 16-2 third quarter edge to own a 38-16 lead.

“They (Williamsburg) sped us up, and got us to a level that we weren’t necessarily comfortable with,” Northern Bedford coach Jon Ewart said. “That led to a lot of turnovers and a lot of points on the other end. That’s something there that we’ll have to clean up too.”

The Lady Blue Pirates won not only the turnover battle convincingly — 22 for NBC to just 10 for the WHS — but they also had a dominating effort on the glass with a 34-22 margin.

Palmer and fellow freshman, Ayla Hileman, led all scorers with 12 points apiece, while Norris chipped in 10 for Williamsburg. Meanwhile, Northern Bedford was fronted by seven points from Ashley Kichman.

The Lady Panthers kept it close early on as they trailed just 13-8 after one quarter.

However, Kendel Norris scored back-to-back buckets, and Megan Palmer added a layup of her own to spring the Lady Blue Pirates to a double-digit edge (19-8) just minutes into the second stanza.

“When you only get 10 days worth of practice in, it’s a little bit tough to get things going,” Ewart said. “Especially, having some younger girls coming in.”

NBC closed the half with six of the final nine points to close back within single digits at 22-14.

Williamsburg has a quick turnaround by traveling to Tussey Mountain tonight. Meanwhile, Northern Bedford hosts Bedford on Wednesday.

“We’re just happy to be playing,” Amy Hileman said. “It feels really nice to be out. It definitely is a change without having many fans in the stands — very quiet. You’re not used to it being so quiet. But, we have our fans watching through the live stream. Even though we can’t hear, we know they’re cheering for us.”

NORTHERN BEDFORD (25): Mak. Hall 2 1-3 5, Higgins 1 2-5 5, Heck 0 0-0 0, Kichman 3 1-2 7, Kochara 0 1-3 1, Ritchey 0 1-4 1, Davis 0 0-0 0, Mar. Hall 2 0-0 4, Keller 0 0-2 0, Swanseen 0 0-0 0, Grimes 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 6-19 25.

WILLIAMSBURG (55): Hileman 3 5-7 12, Lynn 0 0-0 0, Norris 5 0-0 10, Ward 1 0-0 2, Simpson 2 0-1 4, Palmer 5 2-2 12, Woodruff 3 0-0 6, Prough 3 1-1 7, Carper 0 0-0 0, Stewart 1 0-0 2. Totals: 23 8-11 55.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Northern Bedford 8 6 2 9 — 25

Williamsburg 13 9 16 17 — 55

3-point field goals: Northern Bedford 1 (Higgins); Williamsburg 1 (Hileman).

Records: Northern Bedford (0-1); Williamsburg (1-0).

Officials: Clark Adelman, Rick Dillon, Pat Young.

JV: No game.

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