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Don't call it an upset for OP girls' hoops team

Trailing by 16 points in the first half of Friday’s game against Riverdale Baptist, the Osbourn Park girls’ basketball team was more concerned with making the outcome respectable than pulling off an early-season stunner.

But after a fourth-quarter rally -- during which the Yellow Jackets outscored top-ranked Riverdale Baptist, 27-9 -- the season’s first upset was in the books and No. 20 Osbourn Park had itself a 47-43 win.

When I called Coach Clifton Gorham on Saturday afternoon, he seemed surprised that I used the term “upset.” This, Gorham said, was just another game and one of many throughout the course of a season.

“Most people look at it as an upset, but I think my girls came out and played hard,” Gorham said. “They did what they needed to do. It was exciting. It was a big win. But it’s still a long season.”

That it is and there’s still plenty of time left. But nothing can replace the feeling of walking into the gym for practice while knowing that you just knocked off an area power, one that finished 26-3 last year and also closed out 2008-09 as The Post’s top-ranked team.

“Hopefully this makes them want to work harder,” Gorham said.

Destiny White led the way with 13 points for Osbourn Park, which improved to 2-0 this season after claiming a season-opening victory over Northern Region power Edison. Norfolk State recruit Rachel Gordon chipped in with 11 points and Alexis Carter added eight.

Riverdale Baptist took a 26-21 lead at the half and that swelled to 39-25 after it outscored the Yellow Jackets by nine in the third quarter. But Osbourn Park was able to rally and put together a strong final eight minutes, although two of the team’s top players, Destiny Shearin and Kelly Hamner (Holy Cross), were saddled with foul trouble down the stretch and totaled only eight points.

“The fourth quarter was big for us,” Gorham said. “They definitely sensed the opportunity and did everything I could ask of them. I’ve never my group of girls play so well together down the stretch when it counted.”

With Osbourn Park moved to the Cardinal District this season, there should be some definite intrigue there. Forest Park has dominated pretty much everything Prince William County girls’ basketball related, claiming six district and Northwest Region championships since the 2002-03 season.

The outcome there should come down to whether Forest Park can replace Danni Jackson, Brianna Scott and Gerda Gatling and whether Potomac (Va.) can gain experience quickly with a solid group of freshmen surrounding senior Kyana Jacobs.

By Jason Mackey  |  December 5, 2009; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  Cardinal District , Girls' Basketball , Northwest Region , Osbourn Park  
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