The Langley High boys basketball team hadn’t started the New Year well, losing their first three Liberty District games. However, the Saxons’ season might have been revived during the fourth quarter of last Friday night’s district home game against W.T. Woodson, thanks to the shooting of their guards.
Despite being down by double digits to district foe Woodson, the Saxons fought back and won in dramatic fashion, 52-50, in front of their home crowd.
<b>FROM THE</b> opening tip all the way to just about the end of the third quarter, the Woodson Cavaliers dominated Langley (9-5). After extending a one-point lead to a 39-29 lead with 30 seconds left in the third quarter, things looked dark for the reigning district champions.
However, following a timeout, senior guard Jack McLindon hit a three-point shot at the third-quarter buzzer to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to seven. It was just the spark the Saxons needed to revive their offense.
"We had been really reeling on offense lately, so we needed to get going heading into the fourth quarter," McLindon, who finished with 12 points on the night, said. "I got a good look because we ran a good set and nailed it."
That momentum carried over into the fourth quarter and the Saxons continued to drain shots from beyond the arc. After McLindon and senior guard Thomas Kody both hit long-range treys to get Langley within one, Woodson finally broke the scoreless run on a pair of free throws.
However, Langley couldn’t be stopped. Following what seemed to be the only missed three-point attempt by the Saxons in the fourth quarter, senior center Aaron Justus got the rebound and kicked it out to star guard Derek Baker (18 points), who hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to tie the score for the first time in the second half. After a turnover on the Cavaliers’ ensuing possession, a fast break layup by Kody gave the Saxons their first lead of the game at 43-41.
"I’ve never seen us shoot like that," said McLindon, of the team’s fourth quarter performance. "We were as fired up as I’ve seen us this year."
<b>WITH A MINUTE LEFT</b>, Langley seemed content on trying to run out the clock or at least wait for Woodson to foul them and send someone to the foul line. However, with 15 seconds left, Langley turned the ball over to give Woodson one final opportunity to tie the game up or possibly win it.
Woodson called a timeout to draw up a play for its last possession, but when the ball was inbounded, the Langley defense held strong as it has all four years under head coach Travis Hess.
The win not only put the Saxons back in district contention at 2-3, but it marked Hess’ first victory against Woodson since becoming Langley’s coach.
"I think this was a step in the right direction," Hess said. "We lost a couple games that we probably shouldn’t have, but they still count as losses. Hopefully this will get us back to executing on offense and playing great defense."
Langley (9-5 overall record) was scheduled to play district games this week at Marshall on Wednesday and at home against arch rival McLean this Friday night.