Hillcrest edges Woodrow in tight 12-4A race

ADDISON, Texas -- Dallas Hillcrest gained the edge over Dallas Woodrow Wilson in the District 12-4A boys basketball race with a 51-50 win Wednesday at Loos Field House.

With two seconds remaining in the game, Hillcrest (17-3, 4-1) standout Julius Foster drove through the paint and threw up a diving layup to give Hillcrest a one-point lead and eventually the key district win.

“Their best player, their most consistent player, Julius Foster, did what he’s been doing pretty much all year,” Woodrow coach Pat Washington said.

Woodrow (16-3, 4-1) played tough defense on the final scoring drive with a full court, double-team trap that disrupted Hillcrest’s ability to set up the play coach Von Harris drew up in the timeout. However, Foster made the improvisation, which paid off huge for Hillcrest.

“That was not the drawn up play,” Harris said with a laugh. “We were going to attack the basket and draw the foul but it was supposed to come off the elbow with a shooter [on the wing]. Because of their defense, as time wound down, we had to take a desperation shot and it just happened to go down for us tonight. It could have gone in for Woodrow the same way.”

Woodrow had taken the lead with 18 seconds left to play.

Guard Trey Washington took a pass at the top of the key and drove around Hillcrest’s defense to gently toss a layup in, giving Woodrow the one-point, 50-49, lead.

However, 18 seconds was just enough time for Foster and Hillcrest to break through Woodrow’s defense and find the hoop.

The entire game was a move-by-move, chess match between the two coaches, who had the opportunity to game plan for this first district meeting after December’s game between the two during the DISD/Coca-Cola Tournament. Hillcrest took the first meeting 64-48, with a well-planned defensive strategy that kept Woodrow from penetrating off the drive.

Woodrow countered the tactic Tuesday from the beginning of the game, running an offense that spread Hillcrest’s defense across the width of the court.

Woodrow held a lead throughout the first half, using its spread offense and forcing nine turnovers through two quarters.

Hillcrest found its 3-point stroke in the third frame, when Tim Singleton and Foster combined to hit four from behind the arc.

Woodrow outscored Hillcrest, 14-12, in the fourth.

The victory was key for Hillcrest, who had taken a district loss to Dallas Lincoln. Woodrow took its first loss of district play, putting Hillcrest, Lincoln and Woodrow in a three-way, 4-1 tie.

All three teams still have one more match against each other, including a season finale between Hillcrest and Woodrow.

While the three teams are knotted up on paper, Hillcrest controls all the momentum going into the second half of the district season, Washington said.

“I’m certainly not going to say it’s a wide-open race," Washington said. "Hillcrest is the aggressor right now. They beat us twice in a non-district game and tonight. Right now, I have to give them the nod. We have them one more time and hopefully it will be a different outcome.”

The one positive for Washington out of his team’s loss in such a tight game is the fact that two DISD teams put on a show that many thought would be absent from the district this season, Washington said.

“DISD hasn’t gone anywhere,” Washington said.