The Grant Generals (9-3, 5-0) girls basketball team wore down the Wilson Trojans (5-7, 3-1) in the third quarter of their 75-50 win on Thursday night.
“What I’m trying to do is control the pace of the game,” Grant head coach Michael Bontemps said. “We kept them running, so we forced them to play our game as opposed to letting them run their offense and look for an open shot.”
The Generals lead was only 26-23 at halftime. Wilson was ahead for the majority of the first quarter. The Trojans’ guards were handling Grant’s full-court pressure and causing turnovers with some pressure of their own.
“I thought the girls in the first half did an awesome job,” Wilson head coach Mike Nolan said.
Once the Trojans broke pressure, they were effective in executing their half-court offense. Wilson led 23-21 before Grant went on a 5-0 run to the end the half. The only noticeable hindrance for Wilson in the first half was Grant’s advantage on the board.
“They had 16 rebounds to our seven,” Nolan said.
Still, holding Grant, who scored at least 73 points in every prior PIL game, to 26 points in the first half was quite a feat.
However, it all changed in the third quarter. After Lily Brodrick scored the opening basket of the quarter for Wilson, the Generals went on a 7-0 run to take a 33-24 lead. The Trojans recovered and withstood Grant’s pressure for a few more minutes, trailing 41-32 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
“I challenged my kids because they had a lot of looks where they didn’t aggressively defend somebody,” Bontemps said.
The Generals defense finally broke through in the final two minutes. The Trojans failed to cross half court with possession as Grant went on a 12-0 run to take a 53-32 lead and abruptly end any question on the outcome of the game.
“I thought we have a minute and a half, let’s see if we can stem the tide,” Nolan said of the sequence. “Then, they made a run and it was too much for us.”
The Generals continued to pile on early in the fourth quarter extending the lead out to 61-35. Sophomore wing Khiarica Rasheed scored 12 of her game-high 27 points during the 20-4 run. Nina Radford, another sophomore wing, added 18 points.
“For Khiarica it’s her rebounding and post moves. She takes her time, finishes really well.” Bontemps said. “Nina is just a great shooter. If she gets an open look, she buries it.”
Thursday night’s victory extends Grant’s winning streak to six games. The Generals are outscoring PIL opponents an average of 82-45 so far this season.
“In the years before, I’ve had to rely on my freshman to be better,” Bontemps said. “With freshman there’s a growth spurt and pace of the game to get used to. Now, they’re grown up.”
Junior guard Alexa Hinkley led the Trojans with 12 points.
Wilson has no time to dwell on how the game got away in the third quarter. They go on the road to face Lincoln, who is undefeated in the PIL, on Friday night.
The Generals will look to extend their winning streak to seven games when they host Madison on Friday night.