The Dominion Post  

Girls’ basketball: Hawks defense sinks Knights

Created on:   Mon, Jan 29, 2018   11:53 PM

Last modified:   Mon, Jan 29, 2018   11:53 PM

The Dominion Post

KINGWOOD — At one point, it seemed as if the Preston High girls’ basketball team could have gone unguarded and still failed to score nine times out of 10.

PHS struggled to score the ball all evening, as sectional-rival University grabbed a 64-51 win over the Knights, on Jan. 29.

“I think in general we want to play good defense, and we want to locate their shooters on the other team,” UHS head coach David Price said. “I just think we did a better job tonight of closing out on the shots.”

The Hawks defense played an aggressive, in-your-face defense in the half-court throughout the game, forcing low-percentage shots from PHS early. However, even when open shots were presented to the Knights, they couldn’t seem to put them away.

“I think it was an off night,” PHS head coach Brian Miller said. “We were open. We had open looks. That’s not taking away from their defense; they did a lot of things throughout the game where we didn’t have open looks, but I’m talking about the ones we missed. We were open.”

It seemed as if shots were rimming in and out every time a Knights’ shooter had a good look, as if luck were just not on the side of Miller’s squad.

“Early in the first half, we had Kirsten (Brown) getting down the lane and shooting lay-ups that would just fall out, I saw a few threes that went halfway down the rim and shot back out,” Miller said. “If we make those, we’re not down. And it’s frustrating to see the ball not go in when it usually does.”

The battle on the boards also put a dagger in Knights during the first half, as they failed to keep a body on the UHS post, which crashed the boards vigorously, earning second and even third chances on offense.

“That’s something I’ve been working on all year, is trying to get our bigs to play big,” Price said. “I feel like they’re coming along great now. They better they play, the better I think we are.”

The missed rebounds by PHS more often than not resulted in scoring possessions for the Hawks, which dug a hole early for the Knights from which they could not climb out of.

“It seems like every possession in the first half they got three shots every time down the floor,” Miller said. “We just seemed to step slow.”

The effort of sophomore Mallory Napolillo especially shined inside for UHS, as she constantly affected shots, pulled down rebounds, and commanded the Hawks on both ends of the court from her position inside the paint.

“She’s vocal, she communicates with the team,” Price said. “She really anchors us from the middle.”

The victorious performance was capped by an impressive scoring effort from the Hawks backcourt, as junior Zoey Murphy rained 22 points on the Knights, while sophomore Ashten Boggs added 14.

“I thought this was the best performance we’ve had in a while,” Price said. “I think Murphy was a general for the team, she led us and I think other kids did what they needed to do.”

The Knights were piloted by senior Makenzie Friend with 21 points, who was the only scorer in double digits for PHS.

The Hawks move to 6-11 with the win, and snap a six-game losing streak. The Knights, meanwhile, dropped to 10-6 with the loss. UHS returns to action Thursday, as the Hawks host Southern Garrett (Md.), with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

PHS takes the court, at 7:30 p.m. today, as the Knights travel to Lincoln.