TUMWATER - Some basketball teams need time to adjust when a new head coach comes in.
That hasn’t been the case with Tumwater and coach Dave Littleton, as the Thunderbirds continued to roll Tuesday night, a 91-61 Class 2A Evergreen Conference girls basketball victory over short-handed Aberdeen.
Littleton is in his second stint with Tumwater – he previously coached the T-Birds from 1989-95 – and his current team has scored an average of 69 points a game while improving to 9-0.
The 91 points scored against the Bobcats were a season high for Tuwater, which has scored more than 62 points in eight of its nine victories.
Tuesday’s game was the first of four straight home games. Of Tumwater’s previous eight games, only two were at home.
While Tumwater’s offense has put up points, the defense has been in shut-down mode. The Thunderbirds held Aberdeen to 18 field goals – seven in the second half – as they built a 41-27 halftime lead before turning the heat up in the second half.
Tumwater had a double-digit lead halfway through the first quarter because its full-court pressure set up steals it converted to points.
Littleton said defense has been one of the keys for his team’s unbeaten start.
“It comes back (to) the belief that they’re successful when they defend,” Littleton said. “We’ve talked about defense since Nov. 15, and come out every practice and work on defense. They’re committed to it.”
Tumwater (9-0 overall, 2-0 EvCo) twice had a 19-point lead in the second quarter, but Aberdeen went to the free-throw line to trim the deficit to 13 at halftime. The Bobcats (8-3, 0-2) converted 13 of 18 free throws in the first half alone, nearly double their first-half field goals made (seven).
The Tumwater lead bloomed to as many as 34 points in the fourth quarter. Aberdeen suited up just seven players, and finished the game with five. Hannah Tometich fouled out with 3 minutes, 42 seconds to go in the third quarter, followed by Makenzie Smith with 6:17 remaining in the game.
Aberdeen’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Mo Donovan, had a team-best 17 points. Donovan has been a constant target for opposing teams after she scored 37 points in the Bobcats’ season-opening victory over Hoquiam.
Once again, Tumwater was balanced on offense. Four players finished in double figures, led by Mackenzie Cooper’s game-high 19 points. Jordyn Richardson added 14, including hitting three 3-pointers, and Tayler Weiks and Abbey Bergquist had 10 apiece. All 12 players who played for Tumwater scored.
“The team has really grown together,” Littleton said. “They played really well as a unit. We talk about being a great teammate, and I thought they did that tonight.”