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December 17, 2009
Improving their record to 4-0 overall, the Landstown Eagles didn't miss a beat even without one of their top players as they defeated the visiting Kellam Knights by a score of 65-48 on Wednesday night.
Through one quarter of play, Landstown clung to a 20-15 lead and in large part due to the hot shooting of Reggie Williams, a Division I prospect receiving interest from a host of mid-major level college programs. The senior point guard scored 13 points in the opening period. Williams finished with 23 points in the absence of backcourt mate Julian Norfleet, who did not play after recently having his wisdom teeth pulled.
"Right before we went out, I said, 'Reggie, put your foot down, man, early. Don't make me have to tell you to do it.' I think it's a carry over from the Green Run game when he took over the game late, and this is how we expect him to play all the time," said Landstown Head Coach Dwight Robinson. "This is what we've been waiting for, for that light to stay green. When he's like that, we're pretty difficult to defend."
Kellam, which fell to 1-4 overall, entered the season with expectations much higher than in past years due to the arrival of 6-foot-5 freshman Ramone Snowden, already regarded as one of the nation's top prospects from the Class of 2013, as well as talented junior guard Trey Freeman. Together, the two attempted only 15 shots all game long.
Snowden scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. Freeman had 11 points on 4-of-8 from the field and dished out three assists. Six of his points came in the final quarter.
"I know Kellam has a lot of potential and we didn't want to get upset, so I had to play hard. We practiced all week preparing for Ramone and Trey. Their 1-1-3 defense is complicated to run offense against, too," Williams said afterwards.
Kellam couldn't solve the suffocating pressure applied by the Eagles. For the second game in a row, the Landstown defense forced 22 turnovers, leading to several easy transition points. They also held Kellam without a single make from beyond the three-point arc as the Knights were 0-for-7 from deep.
"The plan was to get on them early, make them feel it early and then it would take its toll later on with Freeman being really the only ball-handler that they have. They tried to get it to Snowden in the middle of the court. The thing is that we may not be as big, but what we try to do is use our quickness and play great defense," noted Robinson.
"If we play great defense, then I don't really worry about who's this guy or that guy or whatever. We do want to get the ball out of certain people's hands and make other people make plays for them. And if the other people beat us, then we're just going to get beat. But we can't let the guys that are supposed to be good just do what they want to do."
In addition to Williams, another one of the headline players on the perimeter for Landstown is D.J. Woodmore. After not being at full strength a week ago according to Robinson, Woodmore performed at a much higher level in this contest, scoring 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting while grabbing five boards, contributing six assists and capitalizing on defense with five steals.
"We needed him today. He stepped up and I'm real proud of him for that," Williams said on Woodmore's play.
"We put D.J. in an aggressive offensive mode from the beginning," Robinson added. "The offense that we ran, the ball always gets to him, and he has the option to drive or shoot as soon as he grabs the ball. It made him become a facilitator tonight from the position that we put him in, and he knew that coming in the last couple days, that it was going to be on his shoulders to be aggressive."
Winners of 21 of their last 22 games against Beach District opponents, the Eagles began the third quarter on a 17-3 spurt to go up by as many as 23 points. Kellam was never able to close the deficit to single digits in the second half, even with 14 more free-throw attempts than Landstown on the night.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Robinson was how his team responded to the challenge of battling on the boards, this coming a week after they were out-rebounded by Green Run 34-16. The rebounding department was a wash, 26 for each team.
"The big guys played better, they rebounded a lot better, we've been talking about it, had some physical practices after that Green Run game," Robinson said in reference to Andres Rossy and Kevin Walton. "They lived up to what I wanted, and it's about the effort. If we don't come away with rebounds, we're going to get a lot of tips and stuff like that, which the guards should go and get, but we just need them to put a body on somebody and keep the ball alive for us."
Landstown's final game before the holidays will be on Friday night at Princess Anne. After Christmas they will need to New York to participate in the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic, where they will open up against South Laurel from Kentucky on December 28.
"I think every week we're getting better, and every game we're getting better," believes Williams. "For the Christmas tournament, we need to be real sharp since we'll be playing real big competition."
Reggie Williams - 23Pts. (13Pts. in 1stQ), 9-17FG, 4-5FT, 3Ast.
D.J. Woodmore - 16Pts. 6-11FG, 3-3FT, 5Reb. 6Ast. 5Stl.
Brandon Norfleet - 10Pts. 4-6FG, 2-3 3's, 4Ast.
Andres Rossy - 6Pts. 3-6FG, 6Reb. 2Blk.
Kevin Walton - 6Pts. 3-6FG, 4Reb.
Trey Freeman - 11Pts. 4-8FG, 3-3FT, 3Ast.
Ramone Snowden - 9Pts. 3-7FG, 3-5FT, 6Reb. 2Ast.
Ross Ward - 8Pts. 3-5FG, 2-5FT
Ifeyani Osuchukwu - 8Pts. 4-8FG
Matthew Hatfield has covered Eastern Region Basketball & Football since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com - the #1 High School Sports Site on the Rivals Network. Check out Hatfield's website - www.matthewhatfield.com - for more on the pro and college sports scene. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and catch him every Saturday during High School Sports Talk on ESPN Radio 94.1.