It looked as if it might not happen Tuesday night.
With her team staked to a 50-point lead in the fourth quarter of Tuesdays 82-30 non-district win over Woodbridge, T.C. Williams junior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt remained on the bench a place from where even the prolific Ruffin-Pratt cant score.
One of the most talented and dynamic players in the area, Ruffin-Pratt entered Tuesdays contest only 21 points away from breaking her schools career scoring record, but despite a 13-point effort in the first quarter, Ruffin-Pratt netted only four points over the next two frames to put her imminent accomplishment in danger for the evening.
But with 6:24 remaining in the final frame, T.C. Williams coach Jim Lewis inserted all five of his starters back into the game, a strategy employed to develop continuity as the Titans played without senior forward Aida Gueye (knee tendinitis).
Ruffin-Pratts record-breaking basket came with 4:28 remaining. She gathered a rebound to the right of the basket and her put-back increased the Titans lead to 77-22.
It was tough today, said Ruffin-Pratt, who finished with a game-high 25 points. It felt like everything was falling in the first half. Then as soon as I came out in the second half, I couldnt make nothin.
T.C. Williams first-year head coach Jim Lewis has done his share at evaluating talent. Lewis has coached at every possible level during the past 25 years, including the WNBA, as he spent last season on the bench as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Lynx.[Ruffin-Pratt] is really smart, thats the first thing that I always tell people, Lewis said. Im really happy for her and her family. Its a good story.
Tuesday night belonged to Ruffin-Pratt, her family and the scoring record, but the game on the floor belonged to an unknown commodity among area basketball fans senior guard Brittany Burts.
It all starts with Brittany Burts, Lewis continued. Ive been around for awhile and I dont remember too many players that Ive been associated with that put that type of pressure on the ball.
Burts provided tenacious defense for the Titans often producing steals that jump started the T.C. Williams transition game but she also provided a complementary scoring threat to Ruffin-Pratt. Burts finished with 23 points and made 8-of-10 free throws.
Brittany brings a lot to the team, both on offense and defense, said Ruffin-Pratt, who said that she receives nearly 30 letters every day from interested colleges and universities. When you look up, you always have her as an option to pass the ball to.
Burts will likely find herself on the receiving end of many passes from Ruffin-Pratt this season, but Ruffin-Pratts prettiest assist came with 2:32 left in the game.
Ruffin-Pratt blocked a Woodbridge shot, gathered her own block and initiated the rush. After a behind-the-back move to shake the Woodbridge defender, Ruffin-Pratt fired a crisp, one-handed pass to Khalia Boston, who was standing alone near the bottom block for an easy basket.
But once the final horn blew, it was Ruffin-Pratt not Boston who stood alone.