Guards help guide way
The Gilmour girls basketball team is often identified for its AllOhio forward Naz Hillmon, and rightfully so. The 6-foot-2 senior, headed to the University of Michigan following graduation, is averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds this season.
But as the Lancers prepare for a Division II state semifinal March 16 against Bellbrook, they will do so with a trio of trump cards in their hand — guards Annika Corcoran, Sarah Bohn and Emma Gurley.
While Bellbrook boasts a pair of veteran guards in Cassidy Hofacker and Beka Vine — each being four-year starters — Gilmour counters with a trio of guards with impressive credentials in their own right.
Heading into the state tournament, Corcoran, Bohn and Gurley have combined for 51 points and oodles of experience in the past two state tournaments.
It’s an advantage the girls hope helps them when the Lancers face the Eagles with a berth in the state title game on the line.
“It helps with confidence, knowing we’ve been there and played in those types of games,” said Bohn, a senior. “We have had adverse situations and came out on the winning side. That helps going into the state tournament.”
Every team Gilmour faced this year tailored its defensive game plan around stopping — or at least slowing down — Hillmon.
Most every team paid the dear price of leaving Corcoran, Bohn and Gurley alone at different times to hurt them.
All three girls average more than 10 points per game, and each has hit more than 50 3-pointers this season.
And the scary thing is — none have all played well on the same night. Yet. “I don’t there’s been a game when all three of us were hitting,” said Corcoran, a junior point guard.
“Yeah, usually it’s just one or two of us,” Gurley, another senior, said.
“It just depends on the day,” Bohn chimed in.
Which makes Gilmour tremendously difficult to defend.
A glimpse of the versatility was seen in the state tournament a year ago when Gurley lit up Columbus Africentric for 17 points in a state semifinal victory.
The next day in the championship game, Bohn had 10 points while Gurley had five.
Corcoran had seven assists in the tournament, serving for of an offensive facilitator rather than a scorer.
This year, all the guards are shooting at a tremendous clip.
“We have three back from a team that won state,” Coach John Curran said. “You can’t always expect to have that. It’s a nice luxury to have.”
The trio of guards aren’t just hot shots on offense. They are also the key to Gilmour’s defense.
That perimeter defense will be key against Bellbrook, whose three leading scorers in the starting lineup are all guards — Hofacker (11.6), Vine (10.7) and Brooklynn Hall (5.7). Guard Maren Freudenschuss (7.9) comes off the bench for more scoring clout.
Suffice to say, guard play will prove to be paramount in the Gilmour-Bellbrook game on the defensive end of the floor.
“We take pride in our halfcourt defense,” Bohn said. “We like to get steals, and that leads to our offense.”
Again, Hillmon’s presence comes into play. Having a 6-2 presence in the post allows the guards out front to play tighter and more risky defense.
“With Naz down there, it gives us some comfort that if we get beat off the dribble, there’s someone protecting the flag, so to speak,” Curran said.
Corcoran, Bohn and Gurley don’t want it to get to that point, though.
The defensive safety net is there — but they’d prefer to take care of business on their own.
Whether it’s on the offensive end of the court or the defensive end, Gilmour knows it has a marquee player in Naz Hillmon. She can dominate both ends.
But so can Corcoran, Bohn and Gurley — just in different ways.
Add that skill set in with experience, and the Lancers feel they have a trio of trump cards that they can play on any given night.
When all three are working — the girls insist it hasn’t happened yet this season — the Lancers are that much more difficult to beat.
“I don’t think we put pressure on ourselves, but we know almost every night at least one of us is going to be on,” Corcoran said. “That’s the way it’s played out so far. If we can keep that going, we’re going to be successful.”
As Gilmour prepares for the Division II state tournament, it will do so with a trio of veteran guards (from left) Annika Corcoran, Sarah Bohn and Emma Gurley.