KINGS MILLS — Loaded with young talent on the offensive end of the floor, Wilmington’s girls basketball team unleashed its defense Friday night on the unbeaten Kings Knights.
Kings had no answer for the stifling Hurricane, making just four field goals over the final three quarters as Wilmington punished the Knights 56-39.
Winners of six straight, the Hurricane (7-2) handed Kings its first loss of the season (8-1) in the championship game of the Knights’ own holiday classic.
“The girls just followed the game plan and executed great,” WHS head coach Zach Williams said. “I just can’t say enough about their defensive effort. That’s something we’ve been harping every day in practice. That is going to win us games.”
The first quarter foretold of a shootout between former Fort Ancient Valley Conference rivals. The Knights made 5 of 10 shots from the floor to take a 14-9 lead.
When Chandler Kircher made a basket with 55 seconds left in the first quarter, little did the Knights know they would not make another field goal for almost two full quarters.
Kings connected on just 1 of its next 12 from the floor over the second and third quarters. The only thing that kept the game close at all was free throw shooting. Kings made 10 of 16 in the middle two quarters, and 20 of 32 for the game.
“The girls stayed true to what we wanted to do,” Williams said. “They knew Kings had a bunch of good shooters. We’ve just got to do a little less fouling. That was the thing that kept them in it.”
While Williams would like to see his team cut back on fouls, he doesn’t want it to come at the expense of their suffocating defense.
“I want my girls to be aggressive,” Williams said. “I don’t want to take that away from them. That is going to come with the territory. We’ve just got to be a little bit smarter in some situations.”
While Wilmington struggled from the line (11 for 30), it didn’t struggle anywhere else. While Kings couldn’t buy a basket in the middle two quarters, Wilmington made 12 of 22 (54.5 percent).
“Our offense will come off our defense,” Williams said. “As long as we’re solid in that, we’re going to be in most games.”
Mya Jackson led Wilmington with 19 points. While her work on the offensive end was strong, Williams praised her work on defense against Taylor Brown. One of three Kings players averaging 11 points per game, Brown had just one field goal attempt and no points.
“I thought Mya Jackson did a great job on their best shooter (Brown),” Williams said. “She put a great defensive effort in, and all the other girls did their job. They contested threes, fronted in the post like we needed to.”
Faith Sanderson, who also put in a strong defensive effort, added 14 points for the Hurricane. Leah Frisco scored 13 points, making 4 of 5 from the floor.
Kircher led Kings with 15 points. Carolyn Bruns, also averaging 11 points per game, was held to just 7.
For the Hurricane, this six-game winning streak followed two losses to strong teams — Chaminade-Julienne and Miami Trace. Williams believes those two losses have helped make his team stronger.
“It’s good to have those early in the season,” Williams said. “We’re going to have more. We’re going to have growing pains. I know we’re going to have mistakes but I think that’s going to help us down the road.”
Earlier in the day at Kings High School, the Wilmington reserve girls basketball team defeated Winton Woods 40-29 in the reserve tournament consolation game. Jenna Victor led the JV Hurricane with 15 points, while Heather Fryman had 10.
December 30, 2016
At Kings High School
Wilmington 56, Kings 39
(56) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jasmine Jamiel 3-0-1-7, Mya Jackson 8-2-1-19, Faith Sanderson 4-3-3-14, Tanner Stewart 1-0-1-3, Leah Frisco 4-0-5-13. TOTALS 20-5-11-56.
(39) KINGS (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Carolyn Bruns 3-0-1-7, Chandler Kircher 3-1-8-15, Savannah Douglas 2-0-4-8, Devin Biesbrock 1-0-7-9. TOTALS 9-1-20-39.
FIELD GOALS: W 20/42 (Jackson 8/20, Frisco 4/5, Sanderson 4/7); K 9/34 (Bruns 3/6, Kircher 3/7)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: W 5/14 (Sanderson 3/5); K 1/9
FREE THROWS: W 11/30 (Frisco 5/11, Sanderson 3/3); K 20/32 (Kircher 8/13, Biesbrock 7/8)
TURNOVERS: W 15; K 21
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton