Prince George Overtakes Deep Run, Advances
By DAVID BREIDENBACH, Correspondent
Feb 21, 2013, 17:38
Prince George senior DaZhane Myler (right) puts up a shot against visiting Deep Run during the first round of the Central Region girls basketball tournament on Monday. The Royals won 57-45 (photo by David Breidenbach).
PRINCE GEORGE – P-P-P-P-Pressure.
If you had to summarize in one word what allowed the Prince George girls basketball team to walk away from Monday night’s Central Region first-round matchup against Deep Run, pressure would be your best option.
In the end, the game came down to pressure defense and the clutch play of Ariel Stephenson and DaZhane Myler. The Royals came away with a 57-45 win, and Stephenson and Myler led the way with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Stephenson nearly scored a triple-double, adding 11 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals to her scoring line. Myler picked up 13 boards and Tiara Bowen had seven rebounds.
“We were thinking that they came to play and we came to play harder,” Myler said. “We just came out and played hard.”
With the win, Prince George boosted its record to 18-8 and earned the right to travel to Highland Springs for a quarterfinal clash on Tuesday. The loss brought an end to the season for Deep Run (14-10).
Prince George senior Tayla Smith (33) alters a shot from Deep Run’s Kelly Siewers on Monday (photo by David Breidenbach).
The Royals led most of the first two quarters but fell behind by four points in the closing minute of the second. During the second half, Prince George coach Billy Gray implemented the strategy that not only turned the game around, but gave the Royals a double-digit advantage they rode through the final minutes of play.
Playing without the talents of Jo-Jo Taylor, the Royals’ point guard and top defender, the team had to put other options into play. Tyrah Washington started at the point and when she had problems handling Deep Run’s pressure, Gray went to Stephenson.
“In the first half, we didn’t press them a lot and that was by design,” Gray said. “They went in at halftime and maybe they thought we weren’t going to press, and then we came out with it and sometimes you get a little psychological advantage from doing that.”
It wasn’t just a little psychological advantage, it was hands all over the place. Washington, Bowen, Myler, and Stephenson gave the Wildcats fits. Due to their pressure, Deep Run didn’t get the ball past halfcourt on their first three second-half possessions, and Prince George took advantage of the turnovers to tie the score at 26 apiece.
The Royals kept the pressure in place as they outpaced the Wildcats 18-6 in the third quarter and assumed an eight-point lead. Myler scored six points in the frame and Stephenson picked up five, including a key 3-pointer from the top of the arc that took the wind out of Deep Run’s sails.
Bowen scored four of her seven points in the quarter.
“I don’t think we met our passes very well and a lot of our cuts were right into their defenders,” said Deep Run coach Tom Rowlyk. “But missed free throws and a couple easy layups really hurt us, too.”
Alley Odell led the Wildcats with 14 points, and Kelly Siewers and Kelsey Kilgore each added eight for Deep Run. Prince George senior Tayla Smith finished the night with 11 points.