Tompkins High School, Falcons, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Frontcourt defense anchoring surging Falcons

By STEPHEN GREENWELL, Times Correspondent
Posted 1/14/20

The backcourt for the Tompkins’ girls basketball team has been putting up gaudy numbers this season, but strong defensive pressure, anchored by a frontcourt the guards can trust, has been a huge factor that doesn’t necessarily show up in the box score.

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Tompkins High School, Falcons, Texas high school girls basketball, Katy ISD

Frontcourt defense anchoring surging Falcons

Posted

The backcourt for the Tompkins’ girls basketball team has been putting up gaudy numbers this season, but strong defensive pressure, anchored by a frontcourt the guards can trust, has been a huge factor that doesn’t necessarily show up in the box score.

The Falcons remained undefeated in district play with a 63-37 win against Taylor at home on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Freshman Loghan Johnson and junior guard Crystal Smith again led the team with 21 and 13 points, respectively, as Tompkins improved to 26-3, 5-0 in District 19-6A.

Taylor fell to 2-3 in district play.

Like past games, many of the Falcons’ baskets were fueled by turnovers on defense, and rebounding and outlet passes from frontcourt players like seniors Mia Hill and Sovereign Mack, junior Mackenzie Durnford and freshman Fiyin Adeleye.

Hill and Durnford said the competitive nature of practices and the chemistry of the team leads to defensive trust in one another, with Tompkins coach Tamatha Ray noting that the two communicate as well as any players she’s ever coached.

“We’ve learned that if we’re going to do this and if we want to go far, we need to do this as a team and we have to be all-in, no matter what,” Hill said. “Coach Ray is good at reminding us, ‘You guys say you want to go far, show it in practice.’ We get together and work really hard, because we know what we want as a team.”

Despite having two freshmen in the starting lineup now, Durnford said they have a cohesive roster and goals.

“This is a different team, but we want to go further than we have the past two years,” she said. “In practice, we work really hard and we work as a team. Our team chemistry is something that’s really helped us this year, and I think that’s really translated on to the court.”

The Falcons jumped out to a 12-3 lead against Taylor. Durnford, Hill and Adeleye all had first quarter blocks, helping when aggressive defense from Tompkins’ guards didn’t immediately result in a turnover.

“When it happens, us three try to talk and communicate with Crystal and Loghan to say we have their back, and we have their help, and we help trap,” Durnford said, referring to the forwards and center. “We try to not let them get into the paint, and box out and help when we can.”

Hill added: “Our biggest thing is communication. Even before it gets broken down, we try to communicate to them that we have their help, and once it gets broken down it’s just us three and we try to communicate as much as we can.”

Ray stressed that the defense revolves around that communication and trust.

“Even though they’re on the backline there, they’re the key to the defense because they’re so vocal,” she said. “We definitely want to get tips, deflections, steals off of halfcourt, fullcourt … whatever defense we’re in. We have the speed and the ball skills to get down the floor. That’s definitely part of our offense.”

Going forward, Hill said the team was pushing itself to excel.

“We’re hoping to stay undefeated throughout district,” she said. “It’s never happened for us. We’re on our way right now.”

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