ROCKVILLE – “This is your game to win,” Wootton varsity girls head coach Maggie Dyer told her players before the fourth quarter began at Richard Montgomery Tuesday night.
Trailing 36-33, the Patriot girls heeded Dyer’s call and stormed back to win 51-48.
The Wootton starting five featured four underclassmen who secured the team’s second-straight victory. Last Tuesday, Wootton defeated Magruder 50-47.
Playing without sophomore guard Zoey Goldberg, Wootton’s leading scorer, against the Colonels, the Patriots collectively mounted the comeback victory.
Freshman forward Crystal Bridge led Wootton with a double-double off the bench, scoring 14 points and securing 12 rebounds.
Sophomore Katie Gillick earned 11 points and junior Shannon Welty also ended up in double digits with 10 points.
“It’s a big accomplishment because we played as a team, instead of just focusing on Zoey Goldberg, for example,” said Gillick.
“I think we are learning how to come together as a team. We’re young,” Dyer said. “We all contributed which really helped us, especially going into the fourth quarter down by three. Learning how to win is a big deal.”
After winning two consecutive 4A West championships in 2014 and 2015, the Wootton underclassmen face a steep challenge this season to earn a third consecutive title following an 0-8 start to the season.
“When I took over at Wootton 13 years ago, we were the worst program in the County,” Dyer said. “My philosophy is to work the kids, to continue to take the younger kids and groom them and make them ready.
“One of the things I enjoy doing is rebuilding a program, so it’s tough and it’s a challenge, but I’m a perfectionist and like a challenge so I love it.”
A full-court press aided the Patriots the entirety of the game by stymying the Rockets’ ability to move the ball up court.
Richard Montgomery could not break the press and costly turnovers down the stretch provided Wootton the opportunity to take the lead with five minutes remaining in the game.
“We did not execute any of our press breaks,” Richard Montgomery head coach Michael Oakes said. “We have three different press breaks we run, and regardless of which one we ran tonight we just were not mentally into the game.”
The loss dropped Richard Montgomery to 5-4 in the Rockets’ first game back after defeating Walter Johnson and Blake to win the Brad Pinchback Holiday Tournament.
Senior Devon Goetz led R.M.’s offense with 13 points while seniors Samantha Griffin, Kimberly Stamets, Linda Qiu and sophomore Melanie Osborne all contributed eight points.
Richard Montgomery will attempt to bounce back on Friday against Wheaton while Wootton faces Rockville Tuesday.