Hillcrest downs rival Woodrow in DISD tourney

DALLAS, Texas -- District 12-4A boasts one of the most competitive fields in boys basketball, with three teams entering the DISD/Coca-Cola Tournament ranked in the top 25 in the state.

Tuesday showed a preview of district play as Dallas Hillcrest beat Dallas Woodrow Wilson, 64-48, in the second round of the DISD tourney.

Hillcrest executed the better game plan, filling the lane on defense, which kept Woodrow from running its penetration offense. Hillcrest’s preparation and execution forced Woodrow into making rushed mistakes, which Hillcrest turned into offensive opportunity.

“They’re a penetrating team,” Hillcrest coach Von Harris said of Woodrow. “They’re guard oriented but even their bigs can dribble penetrate. We were just trying to stay in front of them and contest every shot, which put us in position to rebound.”

Hillcrest’s game plan also keyed in on standout Trey Washington, Woodrow’s main penetration guard, forcing him to defend one-on-one. The strategy resulted in a quick three fouls, keeping Washington out of the game for the majority of the first half.

“I don’t want to give away anything, but we disguised a lot of things to get him into situations where he had to play one-on-one with us,” Harris said. “Then we tried to take advantage by attacking him.”

The defensive effort held Washington to just 10 points in the game.

Hillcrest’s defensive effort was helped by Harris playing 13 of the team’s 15 players, keeping legs fresh in the game and Woodrow’s offense off guard.

Hillcrest guard Julius Foster lead all scorers with 19 points. His run of nine points in the first quarter boosted Hillcrest to a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the remainder of the game.

For a team whose offensive identity comes from points in the paint, Woodrow’s only inside presence was forward Zachary Coleman, who used his size to grab rebounds and put them back up from close range. Coleman finished the game with a team-high 14 points.

The win advances Hillcrest in the tournament bracket to meet Sachse in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals, while Woodrow has just one more consolation game to play against Dallas Conrad.

However, more important to Harris than tournament glory was the chance for his team to meet and beat a tough district rival before the two face off in district play. On the contrary, Harris said the pre-district beating could also cause revenge when it really counts later in the season.

"You know the expression, 'Stirring up the bee’s nest.' " Harris said. "I think we just stirred it up."