The Trojans girls basketball team got off to a good start on Tuesday evening by winning their opening game, beating Division I-A Sunrise League opponent Sunrise Mountain, 33-11.
Pahrump girls basketball has been struggling for the past three years as the girls have won two league games in that same period and so winning the opener was exciting to Trojans coach Jennifer Hagstrom.
“It was great to win the opener,” she said. “It’s something we have not done in awhile. The girls played hard and did a great job on defense.”
Defense was key to the win. The Trojans held the Miners scoreless in the fourth quarter and the first. The girls led the Miners at the half, 17-8.
Trojans Athletic Director Ed Kirkwood agreed that the defense did an outstanding job.
“The press really looked good last night,” he said. “The girls were in the right spot and right position and even came up with some steals last night.”
Although the Trojans didn’t always make their shots last night, the passing was crisp.
“The basics looked good,” Kirkwood said. “We hit the open man.”
Hagstrom said this year’s team is more athletic than last year and she likes the players’ attitude.
“These girls are very coachable and we have a lot of juniors that don’t get rattled easy,” the coach said.
Jill Smith led the team in scoring with 9 points and rebounding with 16 and this didn’t surprise Kirkwood.
“Smith came to us as a freshman varsity player,” he said. “She took her lumps the past two years and now she is a junior and is more aggressive. Smith plays the power game and is methodical on her approach to the basket.”
Smith said she is more pumped to play than last year.
“I am more confident in my game than I have been in the past two years,” Smith said. “My defensive play has improved and so has my rebounding.”
Trojans assistant coach Mike Swango said the league will be tough this year and expects last year’s state champion, Spring Valley, to be tough again this year as well as Faith Lutheran.
Swango likes the experience the girls bring to the table and said he predicts the Trojans will have even a better year next year.
“I really think this team could go to the playoffs next year,” Swango said.
Hagstrom believes the girls also have what it takes, but she just wants to get through their first tournament at River Valley in Arizona this Friday and Saturday.
-Contact sports editor Vern Hee at email@example.com. On Twitter: @mickakers