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By Becky Kimbrell-Norris
Wake Weekly Sports
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield High School girls basketball team has created a pattern of making things tougher on themselves this season.
Slow starts are a recurring issue for the Wolverines and against visiting Cap 8 Conference opponent Heritage High School Jan. 22, Wakefield overcame another gradual beginning despite collecting a 49-19 win.
“We have been starting slow for some reason but I’m not sure what it is,” said Wakefield coach Art Wollett. “But I do know that we are trying to focus on getting going early.”
The Wakefield girls seemed out of sync against the Huskies in the first quarter, scoring just two baskets.
Heritage, 2-12, 0-7 in the league, was having their struggles too. They scored the first two points of the game but had a hard time taking care of the ball and turned it over six times in the first eight minutes.
“We have done a good job this year starting off strong,” said Heritage coach Nicole Allen. “Tonight Wakefield started pressing us and it caused a lot of turnovers on our end.”
The Wolverines showed some improvement in the second quarter but the woes continued for Heritage. They could not buy a bucket and got outscored 18-4 to find themselves down 22-6 at halftime.
At the break Wollett said he instructed his team to relax, have fun and turn up the pressure on defense.
And the Wolverines did just that in the second half.
Senior Krystal Mangum scored six of her team’s first nine points to start the third quarter.
Wakefield took care of the basketball, hit a couple of 3-point baskets and held the Huskies scoreless to take a 42-6 lead, heading into the fourth quarter.
“It has been a difficult year for us but my players always work hard and give their best effort,” Allen said. “We got down a little in the third quarter but picked it back up late in the fourth.”
“We are young and we know the competition is tough,” Allen added. “We are just looking to work at improving as a team each day.”
Wakefield, which improved its overall mark to 8-7 and 5-2 in the Cap 8, continues to play without six-foot senior Denneshia Goodman, who has been sidelined nursing a knee injury.
“It’s been tough,” Wollett said. “She is a game changer
and we are so small without her.”
Goodman started the season for Wakefield and played in seven games and was high scorer in two of those.
Wollett said he is not sure if and when Goodman will return.
“Without her, we are going to have to be really good defensively,” he said. “In addition, we have to do a much better job rebounding and taking care of the basketball.”
“Basically we are going to have to improve on everything in the second half of the season,” he went on to say. “We need to be complete every possession.”