Leesburg, Va. — Every single player on the Tuscarora High School girls basketball team has the green light to shoot. And if you’re open and you don’t shoot, you sit. First-year head coach Tayler Dodson had made her point very clear, and her girls responded as the Huskies had 8 different players score in their 45-32 win over Broad Run on December 29 in Leesburg.
“It’s a huge confidence builder if a coach is telling you to shoot the ball. That’s a huge green light that a lot of coaches don’t give,” Dodson said. “We have to score. Right now, we’re sitting kids if they don’t shoot.”
Just a few nights after Tuscarora sophomore guard Grace Middleton scored 23 of her team’s 35 points in their win over Dominion—a game in which just 5 Huskies scored—the Tuscarora scorers were a bit gunshy off the opening “tip.” Dodson called a time out and reminded her girls of her “if you don’t shoot, you don’t play” policy.
From there, the Huskies let the ball fly.[adrotate banner=”42″]
By midway in the fourth quarter, Tuscarora was clicking on all cylinders as junior guard Katherine Scheivert knocked home a three. On the ensuing Broad Run possession, the Huskies forced a turnover and sophomore forward Lillian Scheivert found sophomore guard Colette Morris open in the corner for another three as the Tuscarora bench erupted.
“We’re preaching energy, and we just lacked that in the first half,” Dodson said. “Energy changes the game and that was the difference between our first half and our second half.”
While the Huskies started to share the wealth, Middleton continued to carry a bulk of the offensive load as the guard scored a game-high 19 points, while forcing a team-high 5 steals.
“We keep telling Grace to be aggressive,” Dodson said. “We want Grace to be Grace. But we also want other people to be there if teams start to take Grace away.”
As more and more teams key in on Middleton, the Huskies are going to have to look for other players to step up offensively, and that doesn’t just mean scoring. Tuscarora junior guard Aniaya Knight dominated the offensive glass, hauling in 7 offensive rebounds to help round out her game-high 10 boards.
“Broad Run is a great rebounding team, so we knew we needed to match that effort and crash the boards,” Dodson said. “Against a zone, when things are so packed in, those offensive boards are crucial because we’re able to capitalize with more second-chance opportunities.”
Defensively, Broad Run did a good job of disrupting the Tuscarora offense—forcing 26 turnovers—however, the Spartans never got into rhythm offensively themselves. Broad Run junior point guard Yvonne Lee led the Spartans with 9 points and 8 rebounds, and while those numbers look great on paper, the All-LoCo honorable mention never really looked like she settled in against the Huskies.
Lee and the Spartans (0-0, 2-1) will look to bounce back when they travel to Dominion on December 30. Middleton and the Huskies (0-0, 3-0) will look to continue their winning ways as they travel to rival Heritage on the same night.
Broad Run Stats