Senior point guards often can cover up at least some of their team’s blemishes on the basketball court.
Tech’s Mesha Phillips did a very nice job of that Monday.
With the Roadrunners missing one of their top shooters after a first-quarter injury, and the team shooting just 2 of 25 from the free-throw line, Phillips tallied 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks to lead Tech to a 42-28 win over visiting Sunrise Mountain.
“It’s a confidence for me to know that when she’s on the floor, she can control things,” Tech coach Jaime Araiza said. “The girls rely on her. They have so much confidence in her. They know if the ball is in her hands, things are going to go OK.”
Phillips is one of two seniors on a painfully young team that has three sophomores and three freshmen. She’s the calming influence on the floor.
“These young girls are all of a sudden expected to play at this standard,” Araiza said. “It’s going to take some time for them to get that. Just to allow them the opportunity to get the ball in their hands, play with our seniors and not to want to vomit before every game.”
And Phillips is a leader on an opportunistic defense that forced 43 turnovers Monday, turning those into 32 points.
The Roadrunners (3-0) led only 25-19 at the half, but focused on defense in the second half after losing senior Adriana Heredia to an ankle injury midway through the first quarter.
“She’s our shooter, and so at halftime, we told them defense had to step up,” Araiza said. “They hustle. If you can play man defense and have them hustle, you’re going to be all right.”
Araiza said Heredia will miss today’s game against Virgin Valley but should return for the Roadrunners’ Southeast League opener against Liberty next week.
Kristena Wilson added 15 points and eight rebounds for Tech, which scored 38 points in the paint.
Marcella Lang paced the Miners (0-1) with seven points.