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London Turner finds her zen, leads Clarksburg to big win over Damascus


London Turner came home from school Friday, ate a snack and then began her personal version of meditation.

The sophomore lay down in bed with headphones on for 15 minutes, listening to R&B music, including Jazmine Sullivan, Bryson Tiller and Summer Walker. Throughout the day, Turner had thought about implementing the ritual to calm herself down ahead of the night’s game.

The Clarksburg girls’ basketball star was coming into games too amped up, she said, leading to out-of-control play.

She might just have a new routine now. Turner finished with 19 points and 21 rebounds as the No. 15 Coyotes overwhelmed visiting Damascus, 77-44.

“It very much relaxes me,” Turner said of her meditation, an idea she got from a day-in-the-life YouTube video of a fellow high school basketball player. “It calms me down. It helped me set my momentum and stay positive … especially when I feel like I’m not doing so good.”

Turner’s occasional turbulent play manifests in fouls, she said. Those issues were apparent Monday against Seneca Valley when she fouled out in Clarksburg’s first loss of the season.

The Coyotes (10-1) believe that loss could help them in the long run. Turner said she felt they had become cocky because of their early success and that the loss humbled them.

Coach Sissy Natoli had a more practical view of the game’s benefits. Last year, her team’s first loss came in the state final to Western.

“That was our last game. . . . We didn’t have a chance to adjust because our season was over,” Natoli said. “Losing to Seneca could have been a blessing in disguise because we can adjust.”

Turner clearly adjusted: She had just one foul against Damascus (9-3).

She has been one of the main reasons Clarksburg maintains championship aspirations despite losing two All-Met players from last year — Maryland signee Riley Nelson (who transferred to Bullis) and Mia Smith (now at Bowie State). Turner darted around the court Friday, scoring fast-break buckets and swatting shots.

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Many of Turner’s rebounds turned into quick scores the other way. Natoli has emphasized to Turner that her defense will fuel the team’s offense.

“When you rebound the ball and we’re breaking down the court — that’s going to be a two almost every time,” the coach said. “It’s pretty exciting to watch . . . We’re fast, and we’re exciting.”

Even with that fast-paced play, Turner will look to mellow herself. She said she was considering meditating again after Friday’s game, and the answer was obvious whether the practice would continue to be a part of her pregame routine.

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