Dulles uses defense to knock off reigning regional champ Cy-Creek
KATY—Almost as soon as she took over Dulles’ girls basketball program last summer, Christina Jamerson, who moved to Sugar Land from San Antonio for the job, pored over film of the Vikings’ games from last season.
It didn’t take long for her to see what the rest of Region III-6A already knew.
“It’s so much fun to watch them play defensively,” Jamerson said. “I love to pressure, especially when you have the girls that we do. I’m just so happy they’ve bought in. That fullcourt man (defense) … it’s fun seeing them get after it. They’re trusting me, and I’m trusting them.”
Defense was Dulles’ knockout punch Thursday evening as it took down two-time defending Region III-6A champ Cy-Creek, 55-42, in their area playoff game at the Merrell Center. Behind the speed of senior point guard Nya Threatt and the length of senior guard Dai Dai Powell, the Vikings (26-6) forced 24 turnovers and took advantage of their quickness and athleticism in the open court.
It’s the earliest Cy-Creek (20-11) has been eliminated from the playoffs since the 2013-14 season.
“Get on the ball. Don’t give them any space. Play as aggressive as we can,” said Threatt, who had a game-high 21 points to go with seven rebounds and eight steals. “We trust each other. Everyone can make a play.”
How is this year’s Vikings defense better than last year’s?
“We want it more this year,” said Threatt, one of 10 seniors. “So, we’re going to get after it.”
Jamerson didn’t like the way her team came out defensively in its four-point bi-district playoff win over Katy on Monday. So, her demand for round two was simple: pressure the ball.
Create something defensively. The Vikings did, forcing eight turnovers in the first half and then pumping up the juice in the second half, forcing 16.
“We’re working on getting more aggressive,” Jamerson said. “The last game, we didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to, so we wanted to strike first and get after it. This is 0-0. One-and-done. So, I feel like the girls are buying into what they have to do to get those steals and cause those turnovers.”
Aside from Threatt and Powell, Jamerson has a plethora of players capable of wreaking havoc defensively. More importantly, she’s aware of who can’t do what.
Because of that, players are hardly ever out of position, or in a role they’re apprehensive about.
“If I know certain players aren’t able to do certain things defensively yet, I’m not just going to put them out there and watch them fail,” Jamerson said. “I want to set up my players for success. Players like (senior) Jakiya Thompson, knowing she can lock down. (Senior) Alia Diop with blocks. (Junior) Sam (Pinkney).”
Cy-Creek struggled to get much of anything going offensively. The Cougars missed eight of 10 3-point attempts, half of their 12 free throw attempts, and failed to score in double figures in the second and fourth quarters.
Dulles wasn’t much better shooting-wise offensively, but because of all the takeaways, it generated more chances.
Dulles poses for a team photo after its area playoff win over Cy-Creek on Thursday.Dennis Silva II | VYPE Media
Powell had seven rebounds and eight steals to go with 10 points. Thompson had four steals. Diop had eight points, four rebounds, and two blocks. Senior Peyton Overton had four rebounds and four steals to go with seven points.
The Vikings never backed down from the Cougars. They asserted their will early and often, and controlled the game’s tempo from the start, when they jumped out to a 12-0 lead.
“We didn’t treat them any different than we do any other team,” Threatt said. “We just wanted to get the win.”