OXON HILL – Oxon Hill High School guard Aniya Wilson could not stop scoring. With her team pressuring every in-bounce play, the junior just focused on scoring.
From layups to 3-pointers, Wilson scored her first six consecutive field goals in the first quarter, racking up 13 points to start the game.
“I just play and after the game, when total up my stats, even I am surprised,” Wilson, who finished with a game-high 20 points, said about her scoring run.
“When I know that I have teammates that can put points on the board, it makes playing the game a lot easier,” Senior Iyanna Warren about Wilson’s performance.
Her unstoppable streak was part of a 40-4 punishing first-quarter run by the Lady Clippers, thanks to an unrelenting full-court press defense. By the end of their opening home game of the new year, Oxon Hill showed its overpowering quality, quickly dispatching Fairmont Heights, 97-12, on Jan. 4.
The win is Oxon Hill’s third victory in four games and its first in county play since a 69-45 win at Largo on Dec. 21. During the Christmas break, the Lady Clippers tested themselves playing outside competition in the Title IX Classic in Washington, D.C. and finishing the tournament with a 2-1 record. Head Coach Devone Williams said the experience allowed Oxon Hill the opportunity to test their skills against new teams while finding deficiencies in their play.
“We learned we have to play four, complete quarters,” Williams said. “We learned a lot about limiting turnovers and small intricate things that happen in the game that was important to learn during the holidays during the long stretch (of games).”
Against their regional opponents, Oxon Hill frustrated Fairmont Heights with a physical full-court press defense.
On the majority of the inbounded plays in the first quarter, the Lady Clippers suffocated passing lanes and forced three consecutive 10-second violations due to their expert defensive prowess. If the ball did find a Fairmont Heights player, a secondary pass would be quickly snuffed out for a quick steal.
Their defensive set-up forced the Hornets to turn over the ball 15 times in the first quarter alone and 26 throughout the contest. The press did not allow the Hornets to score a point until the final two minutes of the first quarter. Williams told his team to ease off the press defense once Oxon Hill established a 32-point lead with 1:32 left in the period.
Oxon Hill’s “big three” players had their offensive moments, scoring a combined 54 points, contributing to 55.6 percent of the team’s total offense.
While Wilson was a key scorer with the hot hand, Warren finished off several Hornet turnovers with drives to the basket, scoring all of her 17 points in the first half. Team captain Mossi Staples would spearhead the attack in the second half, scoring six straight points off three consecutive steals. Staples finished with 17 points.
“It is much easier to play when one of us is on it,” Staples said. “If that person is hot, we all know it, and we work to get them the ball; we swing it around to make sure to get them the ball, and it was pretty easy today.
Oxon Hill’s bench players also excelled as they scored 21 points, 10 coming from sophomore guard Amiya Spencer. Wilson, Warren, and Staples cheered on their teammates on from the sidelines throughout the final period as the Lady Clippers finished the contest with five players scoring double-digits.
“It is great just being a cheerleader on the sideline while watching my teammates,” Warren said. “I love seeing everyone shine and everyone get some buckets.”
With games against rivals Potomac (Jan. 11) and Gwynn Park (Jan. 18) on the horizon, Williams hopes to continue building the momentum and hope that carries over into the postseason.
Last season, despite finishing the regular season undefeated, Oxon Hill finished without any silverware. A trophy-less season is a fate this year’s team would like to avoid.
“We definitely have a goal to win the county championship, get to states and get out of the regional championship,” Wilson said. “That is definitely our goal right now.”