Randy Watson knows the success of his basketball team depends on execution. So it wasn't surprising that, with his team leading by just a point Wednesday against Heritage in the Ridgeland Thanskiving Classic, the Dade County girls' coach called a timeout barely over a minute into the second half.
The message, short and to the point, must have worked. The Lady Wolverines won 56-35 after outscoring the Lady Generals 20-8 in the third period.
"I thought we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win, and I had some seniors making freshman mistakes," Watson said. "We're not the most athletic team, but I feel we're pretty skilled. To win, though, we have to limit mistakes."
The backcourt tandem of Erika Woodfin and Lindsey Tinker scored 20 of their combined 25 points in the second half as the Lady Wolverines (2-0) finally found their stroke. Woodfin, the program's all-time leading 3-point shooter, could not find the range from outside, so the point guard took her game inside after halftime.
Woodfin helped set up Tinker for back-to-back 3-pointers following the early-second-half timeout and later scored six consecutive points, four on free throws, to stretch the lead to 36-24 with 50 seconds to play in the period.
"We looked really slow and tired, and we just weren't playing well early," Woodfin said. "We picked up our defense some, and it made our offense go. My shot just wasn't there, so I had to get to the rim and get fouled and make my free throws."
She made six free throws in the final period to keep Heritage (0-1) at bay.
"We usually don't have a problem scoring, but for some reason we did tonight," said Heritage coach Eddie Bryant, whose team was led by guard Jada Hubbard's nine points. "We really should have been up nine or 10 points at the half. That's a good team, though, and it showed that we hadn't played a game yet."
Woodfin finished with 14 points, with Tinker adding 11 and center Ansley Chilton 10 points and nine rebounds.