Nina Robinson dominated in the paint, while Green Run’s defense ran wild across the court in Friday’s 50-28 home victory against Kellam.
The senior power forward asserted her 6-foot presence on both ends of the floor, finishing with 18 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, three assists and one block.
After a slow first quarter in which she posted only two points and two rebounds, Robinson came on strong in the second quarter, fueling the Stallions as they expanded an early 11-5 lead to a 29-13 margin by halftime. Green Run’s lead was never less than 14 points from that point forward.
“She realizes that she’s got to carry it and make the team go,” Green Run head coach Alan Jones said after the win. “She’s taken that challenge and grown as a player and leader on the court.”
Robinson’s dominance was only one headache for Kellam, as the Stallions’ full-court pressure dictated the pace of the final three quarters.
Green Run didn’t allow Kellam to reach double-figures in any quarter. They forced two 10-second backcourt and two five-second inbound violations, while causing 22 turnovers and making 10 steals.
Guards Teagan Flowers and Samiya Hankins’ stingy half-court zone defense kept Kellam’s guards from penetrating the lanes or finding open players on the outside. They trapped corners and rarely let the Knights pass into the paint.
The Stallions finished with 10 points off of turnovers.
“It’s huge,” Jones said of his pesky defense. “The girls have bought into playing great defense, and we know we’re only going to go as far as our defense takes us.”
Stallions forward Keibra Hawkins (10 points, seven rebounds) and Hankins (10 points, two rebounds) each scored double figures, while Flowers and Alexis Warner each added six points.
The Knights were led offensively by Shea Ford’s 14 points and two assists. Carly Lassister registered seven points and six rebounds. Carsyn Lassister (five rebounds, four steals, two assists) didn’t score but was the Knights’ spark plug on a night when not much went right.
While pleased with the win, Jones still sees much room to grow early in the season. He believes his Stallions have the potential to become more lock-down defensively and potent offensively.
“We still got a lot of work to do,” Jones said. “I still think we can do a lot more things on the defensive side of the ball. If we can keep some kids scoring, they’re all capable of knocking down shots and shooting at a high percentage.”