The Black Hills girls basketball team plays stifling defense, which combined with their usual stellar offensive play makes them hard to beat.
On Tuesday, the Wolves relied on that strong defense while playing inconsistent offensively in the early going. Eventually, they got both ends going and rolled to a 66-38 nonleague victory against Columbia River.
Black Hills (9-1) limited the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League team to 13 second-half points.
Coach Tanya Greenfield said the Wolves’ defense aims at getting the dribbler to pick up the ball — and deny, deny and deny all over the floor.
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“I tell the girls, a team that plays a consistent four quarters, inside and outside, that’s a tough team to beat,” Greenfield said.
Emma Duff scored 16 of her game-high 29 points in the first half, a salve for the ball-hawking but cold-shooting Wolves in the first 16 minutes. The fluid 6-foot junior is listed as a wing in the program, but she plays all over the floor.
“I think we’ve just been progressing a lot,” Duff said. “We know we can score on the offensive side, but good defense leads to our offense most of the time.”
Lindsey Nurmi hit three 3-pointers in the second period, the last giving Black Hills a 37-25 halftime lead. Nurmi finished with 17 points, and earned praise from her coach for leading the Wolves on defense.
Maisy Williams, a 5-foot-11 Black Hills freshman, gave up two years in on-court experience and five inches in height to 6-4 Chieftains junior Emma Fisk, but Williams’ bucket, blocked shot and steal in the early moments of the game were a boost to the slow-starting Wolves. Williams finished with five points.
On Columbia River’s first possession, Fisk took an entry pass and rolled smoothly to the basket for a banker. Thereafter, the Wolves made sure it was never that easy to get it inside, and Fisk finished with six points.
Rachel LaBelle scored eight points for Black Hills, and Taylor Patti, one of only two seniors on the Wolves’ roster, contributed five points.
Columbia River (3-4) was led by the six points each from Fisk, Maddy Kessi, Kate Kraft and Yaiydenn Lopez-Perez.
Black Hills hits the road for two more nonleague games; first at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at Charles Wright Academy and then at 7 p.m. Friday against another 3A GSHL team — Prairie.
Prairie (7-3), a perennial powerhouse, offers an important test, Greenfield said.
“I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “We need what they can push us to become.”