Here is Nancy Haggerty’s game story from Tuesday’s Woodlands-White Plains game, which the Falcons won 61-44 behind senior Imani Tilford’s 38 points:
WHITE PLAINS — Soon enough, Imani Tilford will be heading to Georgia Tech.
The Woodlands senior guard (pictured right) poured in 38 points Tuesday as the Falcons topped White Plains 61-44 in the season opener for both squads.
The season might be Tilford’s final curtain call — at least on the local stage — but it marks the introduction of another potent Falcons weapon.
Teisha Hyman scored 16 points, dished out six assists, grabbed five rebounds and had three steals.
Not bad for a seventh-grader.
But the main spotlight was on Tilford, who hustled end to end and missed a three-pointer as time expired.
“We’ve been drilling her to be a bulldog since she was 6 years old,” said Woodlands coach Tyron Postell, who’s her uncle. “… Whether we’re up 20 or down 20, she plays the same way. She’s trying to instill that in Teisha this season.”
Tilford’s steals and Woodlands’ generally swarming defense hurt White Plains (which had 10 traveling violations), especially early before it started driving backdoor.
It also had no answers for Tilford’s offense. Tilford hit a long two-pointer, then after hustling back on defense to swat a ball out of bounds, beat the Tigers’ defense for a layup at the start of the second half.
But first-year White Plains coach Tara Flaherty was more concerned about her team’s inability to control Tilford’s supporting cast.
“She’s going to get her points,” said Flaherty, whose squad was missing three players — including two starters — due to injury and practice issues. It’s about limiting her and limiting her shot selection and the other girls. … We let the other four girls do too much.”
Flaherty was happy, though, with the play of her own youngster, sophomore point guard Kaleigh D’Arcy, who despite early foul trouble had 21 points, hitting — much like Tilford — both jumpers and driving layups.
“I was so impressed with Kaleigh,” Flaherty said. “She took control of our team. I said, ‘Kaleigh, take the ball and drive.’ Once she got her confidence, she was as good as any other guard.”