By Meg Wochnick
TUMWATER Word on the street is about big, strong and athletic Black Hills bigs are.
Not only are they big, theyre quick, too, which paid dividends when the Wolves put their full-court pressure defense on opponents.
Case in point was junior Sarah McGee, who not only had a game-high 16 points for the Wolves in their 68-47 2A Evergreen Conference victory in girls basketball over Centralia Thursday night, but also had a team-best eight steals as the Wolves forced 29 Tiger turnovers.
I rely on the fact that our bigs with the exception of Shayla (Smothers) are as fast as the other teams bigs, if not faster than theyre bigs, first-year Black Hills coach Tanya Greenfield said.
McGee was one of three Wolves to score in double figures, as Shayla Smothers and Hope Mortensen finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
It was a much-needed win for the team which lost its league opener Tuesday to Aberdeen, 58-45, on the road after opening the season at 5-0.
We needed this, Greenfield said. They needed it for the morale and to pull together as a team. When you dont lose, you dont know yet what the reaction is going to be.
Thanks to its full-court press, Black Hills (6-1 overall, 1-1 2A EvCo) quickly built up a double-digit lead on a much-improved Centralia (3-3, 0-1) squad, coached by former River Ridge coach Tom Kelly, at 23-11 just a minute into the second quarter. And despite the Wolves having their shooting woes in the second half at one point having just five made field goals through a quarter-and-a-half the defense help set the tone with transition baskets.
Leading 50-29 going into the fourth quarter, thats when the Tigers, who already have surpassed their win total from their 1-19 record last season, went on their big run. Freshman point guard Alyx Fast had all seven of the teams points in a 56-second span to open the quarter, pulling Centralia to within 13 at 50-37. And the gap closed to within nine at 54-45 inside 4 minutes left in the game before Black Hills went on a 14-2 run to close out the game. Fast finished with a game-high 18 points, including 16 coming in the first half. Michaela Hall had 17, including 12 in the first half.