Word on the street was about how big, strong and athletic Black Hills’ bigs are.
Not only are they big, they’re quick, too, which pays 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 Black Hills in its 2A Evergreen Conference victory over Centralia, 68-47, on 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 their bigs,” first-year Black Hills coach Tanya Greenfield said.
McGee was one of three Wolves to score in double figures, as Smothers scored 13 points with Hope Mortensen adding 11.
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 don’t lose, you don’t know yet what the reaction is going to be.”
Thanks to its full-court press, Black Hills (6-2 overall, 1-1 2A EvCo) quickly built up a double-digit lead, 23-11, just a minute into the second quarter on a much-improved Centralia (3-3, 0-1) squad, coached by former River Ridge coach Tom Kelly.
And despite the Wolves having their shooting woes in the second half – at one point having just made five field goals through a quarter-and-a-half – the defense help set the tone with transition baskets.
With Black Hills leading 50-29 going into the fourth quarter, the Tigers, who already have surpassed their win total from their 1-19 record last season, went on a big run. Freshman point guard Alyx Fast had all seven of Centralia’s points in a 56-second span to open the quarter, pulling the Tigers to within 13 at 50-37.
Centralia closed the gap to nine at 54-45 with less than 4 minutes remaining before Black Hills went on a 14-2 run to close out the game.
Fast finished with a game-high 18, which included 16 points in the first half.
Michaela Hall added 17 points for Centralia, with 12 coming in the first half.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org @megwochnick www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports