High School Girls Basketball

Johnson, defense spur Tompkins to area round of playoffs

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 2/18/20

Tompkins freshman guard Loghan Johnson said she had some nerves prior to her first high school playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
High School Girls Basketball

Johnson, defense spur Tompkins to area round of playoffs

Posted

Tompkins freshman guard Loghan Johnson said she had some nerves prior to her first high school playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

It sure didn’t seem like it.

If there were, they came and went as quickly as Johnson does when she attacks the basket.

Johnson scored a game-high 21 points and added seven rebounds, three assists and four steals to lead the Falcons to a 57-40 win over Fort Bend Travis in the Class 6A bi-district playoffs at the Merrell Center.

Tompkins improved to 34-3 overall and plays Cy-Fair in the area round on Friday. The Falcons are Katy ISD’s lone remaining team left in the postseason.

“There’s a bit of anxiety knowing this could be your last game, but it can also motivate you to do your best,” Johnson said.

Coach Tamatha Ray had no concerns. She starts two freshmen—Johnson and post Fiyin Adeleye. Adeleye contributed 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

“They don’t know what they don’t know,” said Ray, whose team is coming off its first district title. “So, I just kind of go by that. They seemed pretty good and calm. We talked to them a bit about preparation, but they’re basketball players. They’ve played in big games in AAU. It’s different in high school, but the seniors have done a real good job talking them through things and helping them understand that 32 minutes is all we’ve got.”

Johnson and fellow backcourt mate Crystal Smith speared a tenacious Tompkins defense that forced 21 turnovers. Travis only made 10 field goals; its first came with 5:20 left in the second quarter.

Smith, a junior, and Johnson combined for eight steals, using the takeaways to get easy buckets or free-throw attempts at the other end.

Smith scored four layups and went 3-for-3 on free throws. Johnson attempted 10 free throws, making seven.

“Transition is the main part of our game and gets us going,” Smith said. “It gets us hyped, gets the bench hyped and leads to scores.”

Ray said Johnson is becoming a better team defender. The powerful guard is already a strong and quick one-on-one defender. Johnson and Smith are often tasked with defending the opponent’s best guards, and Ray allows them freedom defensively to figure it out.

The duo has a knack for identifying an opposing ballhandler’s strength and taking it away.

Tompkins’ defensive scheme is complex. Ray is adamant about playing her defense and dictating the opponent’s offense. Defense is the backbone of the program.

The Falcons often try different defenses during games before figuring out what works best. Against Travis, they played three defenses—eventually sticking with man defense in the second half—but they play sometimes twice that amount during games.

It’s doable because of the bond and skills Smith and Johnson have. Both are athletic, intelligent, no-nonsense players.

“We’re vocal. We talk,” Johnson said. “We yell out screens, we let each other know when the other’s got the help, who’s got deny. Stuff like that.”

Smith said it’s a genuine partnership.

“It starts off the court,” she said. “We became friends first, and then that carries over onto the court. It helps with chemistry. We know when to push each other and when to back off.”

Aside from the production of Johnson, Smith and Adeleye, Mia Hill added nine points, Sovereign Mack added four and Nalani Burton added a bucket.

Tompkins scored the game’s first eight points, and led 17-2 after the first quarter and 35-19 at the half.

Nerves? Not really. Not obvious ones, anyway.

“It was a bit more quiet before the games than it usually is,” Hill said. “Generally before games, we’re upbeat and dancing a lot. But you could tell everyone knew what this game meant. The nerves hit, but we stayed focus.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment