Girls’ basketball: A defensive force to be reckoned with

What makes a good basketball player?

“A team player,” is Madison Conner’s answer, the sophomore shooting guard on Perry’s girls team. “Somebody who’s willing to do what other people aren’t willing to do like working hard and doing the extra stuff.”

The young team recently suffered a blow to their number one record after a crushing loss to Hamilton, the state’s second ranked team at the time. Offensive rebounds on the Huskies part seemed to undermine the team’s defense multiple times.

But the team has a plan. To counter the offense in future games, point guard Tatyanna Clayburne outlined their strategy. “Box out. Play together as a team and communicate.” Sophomore Shayla O’neil, added that the team just needs to “Play our game.”

The girls have been working on making this course of action a reality by practicing defensive drills against the coaches. Conners commented that “It’s harder to play against them then it is to play against our other competition.” Playing against the coaches makes it a lot easier to defend girls on future teams.

This kind of work was evident on the 22nd when the ladies destroyed the Basha Bears at an away game, 68-30.

Despite the girls’ defensive work, the lack of seasoned players makes them work twice as hard. Coach Carl Curtis commented on the team’s youth, saying “It’s little details that come with our youth that we’re still learning and still growing through.” The team, made up of seven sophomores, a junior, a senior, and a freshman, is currently ranked top five, undeterred by their less experienced players. “The girls are getting a of good experience and we’ve just got to learn how to close a game out,” Curtis said. He commented additionally on the team’s future goals, saying “Hopefully these girls can grow with each other for their four years and hopefully win a state championship.”

Is the kind of work that the team has been putting in coupled with their youth enough to take the girls to state?

“Definitely,” Clayburne, the team’s second highest scorer, responded. Conners, O’Neil, and Simone Simmons, the only senior on the team, all echoed her enthusiasm.