With the amount of offensive weapons Wilson is boasting early in the season, they are already playing like the favorite in the Narrows 3A. Tia Briggs led Wilson with 31 points and three other Rams tallied double digits in points as they cruised to a 95-48 win over Mount Tahoma on Dec. 2.
“We were just kind of working harmoniously together,” Briggs said. “We were able to just focus out on the court and do what we need to do, and everything just kind of fell into place.”
The Rams raced out to a 10-5 lead early in the game thanks to back-to-back layups by Briggs, but the Thunderbirds kept it to a 21-16 deficit after the first quarter thanks to Ashley Keys, who led Mount Tahoma with 20 points.
“We’re trying to perfect our defense right now, and although it looked good, there are some things we still have to do,” said Wilson head coach Michelle Birge. “We’re trying to get five girls to do five jobs at the same time to increase our opportunities for steals and deflections.”
The Rams’ defense was stout in the second quarter, forcing several turnovers and capitalizing with a 10-0 run to take a commanding 37-21 lead with four minutes to go. Briggs emphasized the quarter, in which the Rams outscored Mount Tahoma 33-16, by battling for a rebound a putting in a layup seconds before halftime for a 54-32 lead.
“Tia’s going to be a dominating force for us,” Birge said. “We expect big things from her this year, and we expect her to take pressure of our guards by drawing the double and triple (teams).”
The Rams maintained control throughout the second half, going on an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter to put the game away.
“The more runs we got, the more confident we got,” Briggs said. “While we went on the runs, we tried to stay focused and tried to not let up.”
Shakira Ruffin was solid off the bench for Mount Tahoma, displaying great range by sinking five three-pointers for 15 points. Wilson’s Kaysha Fox was brilliant at point guard in finishing with 12 points, while Nina Caldwell had 11 points and Justina Laney added 10 for the Rams.
“I think we got to see the strengths of (Fox), who obviously commands attention and really is our floor general,” Birge said. “When she is at the helm, we are more relaxed. We feel like we can do anything.”
Mount Tahoma hosts Stadium on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., while Wilson doesn’t return to action until Dec. 17, when they travel to River Ridge at 7 p.m.
By Jeremy Helling
Early season cross-league matchups are much more common place than in past years, and with both Lincoln and Bellarmine expected to contend for their league crowns, the anticipation was even greater between the Abes and the Lions.
Behind the 22 points of Lucas Meikle, Bellarmine would defeat the Abes by a score of 55-46 on Dec. 2 in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate.
“We got off to a fast start and it really helped against a very good Lincoln team,” said Lions head coach Bernie Salazar as his squad would improve to 2-0 on the early season.
“Give Bellarmine credit, they played well early and we just could not execute very well tonight,” said Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton who watched his young Abes fall behind big early and nearly make up the deficit with a patented late Lincoln run.
Trailing 29-16 at the half, the Abes would begin to cut into the large Bellarmine lead when Shelton would call for the a full-court trap. Lincoln trimmed the once large Bellarmine lead down to two – at 44-42 – with two minutes to go in the game with possession of the ball. But Dashawn Moore was called for an offensive foul and Bellarmine would proceed from there to widen the lead and would go on for the eventual win. Tre’ Shaun Lexing and Derek Holliday would share scoring honors for Lincoln with 11 points apiece.
“We wanted to go to the press a little earlier but we have a lot of new kids here in the system and they are not quite ready to master it yet,” said Shelton.
While Meikle’s 22 points stood out in the win, it’s his all-around game that will give opponents fits all season long.
“He can do it all, inside and outside, he can hurt you from anywhere on the court,” said Salazar.
“We were really prepared for the game, we used our good team chemistry to beat a really good Lincoln team,” said Meikle.
While Meikle came up big for the Lions, David Smith and Sefo Liufau contributed also with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Bellarmine returns to action on Dec. 9, hosting Gig Harbor at 7 p.m., while Lincoln hosts an Australian touring team on Dec. 10. in an exhibition.
By Steve Mullen
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