WILMINGTON – Wilmington’s defense suffocated Western Brown from the opening tip and the Lady Hurricane cruised to a 73-38 in the home opener for WHS Thursday evening.
Wilmington forced 36 turnovers in the SBAAC American Division game, 23 of those coming in the first half as the home team built a 36-21 halftime advantage. After taking a slim 15-9 lead through one quarter, WHS started the second with a 10-0 spurt and the game was never within single digits the rest of the way.
“Defensive effort is something that we preach and we work on everyday,” Wilmington head coach Zach Williams said. “We have a lot of fast girls and we had a good idea of what Western Brown wanted to do and we were able to execute the game plan.”
Junior Mya Jackson led Wilmington with a season-high 27 points in three quarters of action. The electric point guard added six steals, all in the first half and also grabbed four rebounds.
As a team, Wilmington had 22 steals in the contest, 15 of those thefts coming in the first two quarters of play.
“I really pride myself on my defense so when I was getting steals and my teammates were getting steals, we were able to get out in transition and get some easy buckets,” Jackson said. “It was really getting me excited because our defensive effort was picking up.”
After missing her first two shots of the game, Jackson hit on 12 of her next 18 attempts, including going 4-for-4 from the field during an 18-5 WHS spurt coming out of halftime that all but put the game on ice.
“I liked what I saw on the offensive end,” Williams said. “I saw girls being unselfish, making the extra pass and working through our offense to get good shots that we wanted.”
Freshman Bailey Zerby came off the bench to add 14 points for Wilmington and Faith Sanderson tallied 10 as 10 different Lady ‘Cane players reached the scoring column. Leah Frisco chipped in with five points and six rebounds, while Jasmine Jamiel had four points and three steals.
“I love how everyone stepped up and that’s what we focus on in practice is being a team and picking each other up whenever somebody is down,” Jackson said about the balanced scoring effort. “We just have to get back to practice and keep communicating, working hard, and we will be good to go.”
For Western Brown, Tessa Pinkerton was the lone Lady Bronco to reach double figures with 11 points. Emma Sams chipped in with eight points.
Wilmington improved to 3-0 on the season, 2-0 in SBAAC play, with a stern non-league test at Wayne up next.
“We have a big test on Monday night at Wayne and we will find out where we are as a team,” Williams said.
In junior varsity action, Western Brown used a strong second half effort to pull away from Wilmington and post a 50-30 victory.
For Wilmington, Bailey Zerby led the scoring attack with 14 points, all in the first half, while Emily Self added 10 points. Emily Butcher and Maura Drake tossed in three points apiece.
Blake Haley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @BeeLakeH.