Katy High School, Tigers, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Fernandez, others step up for Thompson-led Tigers

By STEPHEN GREENWELL, Times Correspondent
Posted 12/10/19

While most of the Katy area, if not Region III girls basketball, knows about the stellar individual talent of Katy High senior Allana Thompson, it was her teammates that finished strong without her in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 64-54 win against Clear Brook on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

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Katy High School, Tigers, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Fernandez, others step up for Thompson-led Tigers

Posted

While most of the Katy area, if not Region III girls basketball, knows about the stellar individual talent of Katy High senior Allana Thompson, it was her teammates that finished strong without her in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 64-54 win against Clear Brook on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Thompson— a NCAA Division I signee to Prairie View A&M—was the game’s high scorer with 23 points, but she fouled out on a reach-in attempt with 5:09 remaining and Katy (8-8) holding a 49-38 lead against Clear Brook (12-8).

“I sort of lost track of my fouls,” Thompson said. “I was trying to get the ball, and I didn’t realize I need to be careful when it came to a ticky-tack foul.”

However, without Thompson, junior point guard Sasha Fernandez was a steadying influence. She finished with 18 points, which included two 3-point shots and four free throws in the final 5:30.

Fernandez said she knew she needed to be more aggressive in the game’s final moments without Thompson in the lineup.

“I’m depending on my teammates then, because I know they’re solid, especially on defense, and that they can help out,” Fernandez said. “Allana’s a big factor, offensively and defensively, but today we were emphasizing the fact that we need to play all 32 minutes.”

Beyond Fernandez and Thompson, junior power forward Aubrey Ridenhour finished with 11 points, including a trio of 3-point shots. Senior center Joy Jegede had five points, which included an old school 3-point play with 2:31 left to extend the lead to 11.

Both Thompson and coach Shanna Marhofer repeated the need for 32 minutes of intensity, defense and focus.

“Playing our game the whole game, and not turning it on and off,” Thompson said. “We need to make sure we bring our defensive intensity, because it leads to easy buckets.”

Marhofer added, “We can’t take quarters or minutes off. Once we play 32 minutes, we’re going to be hard to beat. We had our moments, but we had our most complete game that we’ve had. We did a good job.”

When Katy did let up, Clear Brook took advantage. With 2.68 seconds left in the first half, Thompson hit two free throws, but the Tigers didn’t defend the inbounds pass. As a result, Clear Brook sophomore Alyssa Berry got an uncontested look from about 65 feet and nailed it, giving her team a 27-24 lead at the half.

Marhofer said they re-stressed the idea of playing every minute at halftime. Berry had nine points at the half, but only finished with 14. Better defense led to more transition opportunities for Thompson, and Katy outscored Clear Brook by eight and five, respectively, in the final two quarters.

“We did a better job of sealing gaps and getting hands on penetration, blocking out and getting butts in guts,” Marhofer said. “They improved in those areas, which allowed the intensity to increase, and that translated into good things for us.”

Going forward, Marhofer anticipated continued development for her team, partially because of Thompson’s influence.

“She does a great job attacking, but she always finds her open teammates who are ready to score,” she said. “We have an unselfish team, and they’re always looking for one more pass, even when it’s not there.”

Thompson said she had no idea she had the most points on the team. It’s something that doesn’t interest her.

“I’m not really counting my points or trying to score the most points,” she said. “I’m just trying to play my game and make sure everybody gets their best game, too. I’ll get my points whenever I can, but I’m mostly focused on passing the ball and getting my teammates their shots.”

Marhofer also anticipated seeing more of “fourth-quarter Sasha” as the year wore on.

“Of the three guards, she’s the one returner, and she played returner minutes in that fourth quarter,” Marhofer said. “She played with confidence. She played in-charge and in-control. The point guard is the captain of the floor, and she did a great job with that. She was just bringing that confidence.”

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