Lady Tigers Suc­ceed With Lim­ited Ro­ta­tion

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

PRAIRIE GROVE — A few games into the young girls bas­ket­ball sea­son one thing is ob­vi­ous, this year Prairie Grove coach Kevin Froud achieves suc­cess us­ing a lim­ited ro­ta­tion.

Froud played seven girls in wins Nov. 13, 2018 at Huntsville and Nov. 19, 2018 at Green­land, then used only one sub­sti­tute in the home­opener, 50-40, win over Siloam Springs on Nov. 20, 2018.

This has been done be­fore at higher lev­els.

Sooner Suc­cess

The 1987-1988 Ok­la­homa Soon­ers’ men’s bas­ket­ball team coached by Billy Tubbs rarely sub­sti­tuted go­ing 27-3 dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, win­ning the Big 8 Con­fer­ence tour­na­ment and sweep­ing through 5 more wins in the NCAA tour­na­ment be­fore los­ing 83-79 to Kansas in the fi­nals. Three starters: guard Mookie Blay­lock, guard Ricky Grace, and for­ward Har­vey Grant each av­er­aged over 34 min­utes-per-game with cen­ter Stacey King av­er­ag­ing 31.1 min­utes of play­ing time. Grace missed one game. The other three played in all 39 games the Soon­ers com­peted in.

Tubbs and the Soon­ers played an up-tempo game av­er­ag­ing 104.8-points-pergame high­lighted by a 114.4 points-per-con­test on their home court.

Early Sea­son In­di­ca­tor

Green­land chal­lenged Prairie Grove’s press with a full-court run­ning at­tack. The Lady Pi­rates jumped out to a 21-20 first quar­ter lead but the Lady Tigers proved equal to the task claw­ing ahead, 39-37, at the half. Prairie Grove scored at least 17 points in each quar­ter book­end­ing the con­test with a 20-point ef­fort in the fourth to pull out a 76-68 road vic­tory.

“They (Green­land) kept run­ning and shoot­ing layups, so we knew we had to, too,” said se­nior Emily Grant, who was ham­pered by foul trou­ble.

Her team­mates more than took up the slack. Sopho­more Jas­mine Wynos scored 23 points and pulled down 15 re­bounds. Se­niors Lexie Madewell (18), and Lar­isha Craw­ford (17) com­bined for 35 points.

Lim­ited Ro­ta­tion

With­out much ro­ta­tion off the bench the Lady Tiger nu­cleus, which in­cludes se­nior Jor­dan Sugg and se­nior Kaylee El­der tasked with guard­ing larger op­po­nents on the low block, and sopho­more Mariah Hal­bert, are pre­par­ing to go the dis­tance ev­ery game, if nec­es­sary. Grant knows each player must max­i­mize her play­ing time.

“We’re get­ting lots of con­di­tion­ing in, we’re all in re­ally good shape cause we know we got to go out there ev­ery night and there’s go­ing to be some games where we’re go­ing to have to go out there and play a whole game,” Grant said. “We got to be ready any time to step up and play an en­tire game.”

One el­e­ment of that is play­ing smart and avoid­ing cheap fouls.

“There are cer­tain shots, and we all know, we’re all ball-smart,” Grant said. “That goes back to, we played to­gether so long we all know each other’s strengths and we’re able to play to­gether very well.”

Crit­i­cal Steal

In the sea­son-opener at Huntsville Grant made a cru­cial steal late in the fourth by hold­ing her ground.

“It was a big mo­men­tum swing play and we were able to take the ball the other way,” Grant said. “That was a pretty close game (that) went down to the wire at the end and that was able to give the team some good mo­men­tum and get the ball back in our hands and we were able to score off the next play ac­tu­ally, just a big mo­men­tum swing for us.”

Mo­men­tum Changer

Dur­ing an­other tight con­test against Siloam Springs, Grant hit timely shots. On sev­eral oc­ca­sions when the Lady Pan­thers ap­peared to be on the verge of build­ing mo­men­tum, Grant as­serted her­self on the of­fen­sive end of the court and knocked down jump­shots.

“Se­nior year, I know I’ve got to go in there and be a strong role player, strong of­fen­sively, on the of­fen­sive side of the ball,” Grant said. “I see a team go­ing on a run and I know we’ve got to do some­thing to stop that. I’ve been able to grow as a player, and I don’t want to be afraid of the big mo­ment to go in there and hit a shot and change the mo­men­tum and get it back on our side.”

PHO­TOS BY MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Prairie Grove se­nior Jor­dan Sugg gets off a run­ning shot in the paint with team­mate Jas­mine Wynos se­cur­ing in­side po­si­tion. Head coach Kevin Froud prefers shots over turnovers, yet im­plores the 2018-2019 Lady Tiger girls bas­ket­ball team to make good shot se­lec­tion.

Prairie Grove se­nior Emily Grant is one of the lead­ers among a six­player ro­ta­tion with the girls bas­ket­ball team off to a 3-0 start.

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