Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ruffin-Pratt Hits 2,000-Point Mark

Ruffin-Pratt Hits 2,000-Point Mark
T.C. Williams Star Scores 34 to Lead Titans Past Edison
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 13, 2008; E07

T.C. Williams senior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt kept her wrist cocked high in the air after each of her three three-pointers fell through the net. She shook her head with a confident smile as she trotted down the floor after making a pull-up jumper, taking time to slap hands, pat backs and even play a few tricks on teammates and coaches near the bench during the Titans' 62-49 victory last night over visiting Edison.

More than the obvious talent, it was the 6-foot North Carolina-bound All-Met Player of the Year's attitude that spoke volumes about her health and the Titans' chances this season.

"The last two games my shot wasn't really falling and I wasn't scoring as much as I wanted to be, but my shot was going in tonight and I was happy," said Ruffin-Pratt, who scored 34 points and eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for her high school career.

Ruffin-Pratt scored 11 points and spearheaded a tenacious defense that forced Edison into 12 of its 24 turnovers during a furious 18-4 first-quarter run.

The victory pulled the Titans (1-2) out of a season-opening slump and served notice that the Alexandria school is once again a threat for a region title. The win against Edison (2-1), a team that has won two of the last three region titles and made two state final appearances since 2003, was a statement.

"This is a sign of how good we can be," said Ruffin-Pratt, whose Titans won 22 straight games last season before she separated her left shoulder and was sidelined as the team suffered a season-ending region playoff loss.

Ruffin-Pratt, who reinjured the shoulder during the under-17 USA Basketball national team tryouts in May, is wearing a shoulder brace to "keep it from slipping out again," she said.

"It's a lot of pressure off me now because all the college stuff is over, and now I can worry about being out on the court and just having fun my last year," said Ruffin-Pratt, who last month committed to North Carolina, ending a long recruitment that began when she was in middle school.

"This is the first time this year she's felt like that," said Cavanaugh Hagen, the Titans' third coach in four years. "Tonight was the first time seeing her go for a pull-up jumper with a hand in her face and knocking it down like she can."

Titans Boys Win

In the second game of the night's doubleheader, T.C. Williams's Edward Jenkins (19 points) and Ryan Yates (16 points) were two of nine Titans who scored in a 68-59 win over visiting Edison (1-4). The victory indicated that despite losing four college signees and All-Met Coach of the Year Ivan Thomas from last year's 29-3 state championship squad, the No. 16 Titans (2-0) are still a force.

"Our talent pool in Alexandria is deep, so we're going to be very good for a very long time," Yates said.

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