No athlete in any sport looks forward to the conditioning part of practices throughout the season. That is unless you are a cross country runner.
For the Westview Lady Knights and their run in the Division I Girls Basketball Tournament, that part of their practices is proving to be the most important part. It may not have ever been more evident than in their quarterfinal win over the Chaparral Firebirds on Tuesday afternoon.
Westview runs a relentless full court trap defense. While Chaparral was able to get out to a fast start in the game, that in your face defense just wares on a team over the course of a game. In this game in particular, Westview would go on a 30-6 run after the end of the first quarter and there was no looking back.
“It’s what our coach wants us to do because we lack height,” said Westview’s junior forward Saylair Grandon. “So we just try to attack teams with our speed. And that’s all we do in practice is just run.”
Grandon is one of the leaders of this Westview team that as she mentions doesn’t have the most height. She is the second tallest player at 5-10. The tallest is 6-1. But they take advantage of their athleticism which they believe is a big advantage. In 31 games played, their defense has allowed a total of 958 points. That’s just over 30 points allowed per game. For basketball at the varsity level, that’s almost unheard of.
“It helps because we have a lot of great individual defenders,” Grandon mentioned. “When we put our defense together as a team, it’s almost unstoppable.”
Grandon is the top player for this Westview team making this great push. She is second on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounds and blocked shots. She does just about everything for the team which makes everyone else on the floor better.
“I do whatever I have to do to help this team win,” Grandon explained. “Whether its get rebounds or score. But a lot of it opens up stuff for my teammates.
The Knights begin their final push at a state title beginning on Friday from Wells Fargo Arena against a Hamilton team fresh off of a big upset over Mesquite. Their confidence is high going into the big game.
“We’re making shots, we’re getting rebounds, and creating open shots for other teammates,” Grandon stated.