MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — When University center Mallory Napolillo ran into foul trouble Thursday night, forward Ashten Boggs was called upon to slide underneath. She knew immediately she had big shoes to fill.
“I know that Mallory is typically our big and she does all the dirty work underneath the basket. I told myself, you have to do what Mallory does, but you also have to continue to do what you do in your game. I just made myself do both jobs,” she said.
Boggs needn’t have worried; she imposed her will on the boards, tallying 18 rebounds in the Hawks’ opening-round win against Martinsburg at the WVSSAC Class AAA Girls’ Basketball State Tournament.
“That’s always great to have. Tonight it was her, but the thing about our team is that tomorrow it could be Mallory, and the next day it could be Abbie [Coen],” said University assistant coach Dave Boggs. “We always have a big girl in there that seems to be paying attention and wiping up the boards.”
The trio of Boggs, Coen, Napolillo combined for 27 rebounds in total as University downed the Bulldogs – the performance proved just another example of the challenge the Hawks’ lengthy post poses for opponents
“Coach Price and I were just talking about it, and it’s so nice – we start Mallory in the middle because she is as physically strong as any girl in West Virginia – she can dominate physically,” Dave Boggs said. “But we can slip her out to a forward and she can play it as well as Ashten or Abbie. And we can slide one of them down below and have them play center. It’s a godsend to have all three.”
The girls consider rebounding second nature at this point; it’s been drilled into them by their coaching staff for the majority of their high school careers.
“All three of us, we’ve always been told to get the second shot if it doesn’t go in. It gives us the opportunity to score or distribute. We always have that in the back of our minds when the shot goes up,” Ashten Boggs said.