Senior Jenna Boelter dribbles the ball from her left to her right hand, behind her back, to avoid Mckenzie Sullivan’s attempted grab. Within a few steps, she’s down court, looking for the open player.
She’s made four of her six attempts at 3-pointers today, and the seventh dances around the rim before bouncing off the front and tipping over just to the left of the basket.
In the second half, she would attempt three more and miss, but the best players shoot their shot. And Boelter nearly makes up for her losses with two layups and two free-throws for a 20-point game.
In their 63-47 victory over Newman, Bishop Garrigan was teaching you how to play basketball.
“I really think that we passed the ball around a lot and we really got into our high post,” Boelter said. “Which made everyone suck in and then Kaylyn did a really good job of passing it out and so did Gracie, getting good assists to the 3-point shooters.”
Defensively, the Golden Bears (4-0) held the Knights to 11 points in the first half, that’s single digits for each quarter at five and six, while scoring 31 on their side.
“I thought defensively in the first half we really got after them and made things tough,” head coach Brandon Schwab said. “I really thought we made things tough on them and got them to go one and done and pleased with our effort.”
When their senior all-state veteran was covered in the second half, freshman Kaylyn Meyers and sophomore Madison Meister started pushing past the bodies to take their own shots.
“Madison and Kaylyn really stepped up, that’s what we talked about at halftime,” Schwab said. “I said, ‘Listen, they’re going to take Jenna away. That’s going to make things hard. Now it’s you guys’ time to grab these gaps and keep scoring for us,’ and I thought they did a good job of that.”
Neither of the underclassmen are particularly tall and Boelter stands at 5-6.
Meyers is the tallest at 5-8, but she seems taller on the court when she’s charging down the middle, leaping up to slip the ball to the top right corner and crashing to the ground, only to get up again, unscathed.
Meister is much the same, except she does it at three inches shorter with a lower dribble, making it hard to break the ball away.
“We do anything to win,” Meister said. “It’s all about winning and we want to help our teammates do the best to our ability.”
Meister and Meyers each had one free throw going into the second half, and came out in the double digits. Meyers finished with 15 points and Meister finished with 11. But both were instrumental on the court as expert ball-handlers who could find the open man quicker than their opponent.
While Meyers is a freshman, she doesn’t look like a rookie on varsity. She contributes that to the bonds she’s made this early in the season.
“It’s a little scary at first, but a lot of upperclassmen have taken me under their wing,” Meyers said. “So it’s made me feel more comfortable around them.”
Bishop Garrigan returns eight seniors from last year’s trip to the Regional semi-final. Meister, along with two other sophomores, also return from that team, while Meyers is just finding her fit.
“We’re trying to fit a freshman and sophomore into eight seniors,” Schwab said. “We’re just trying to mesh together and get the right lineup and the right substitution. It’s just going to take some time, but if we play hard every night a lot of things will clear itself up.”