Stonewall Jackson point guard 'just too unselfish’
Stonewall Jackson senior Kyani White tried to drive to her left but the box-and-one defense South County was applying afforded her very little space to work with as time ticked away in the third quarter of Thursday night's game against the Stallions.
So White flipped a one-handed pass to junior Joy Caracciolo, who was left wide open down low. With a drop step, Caracciolo easily converted the layup, giving the Raiders a 20-point advantage. She finished with a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds as No. 16 Stonewall Jackson cruised to a 60-34 win in Manassas.
“When I drive to the basket, other people are open so it’s easier to create shots,” said White, a Virginia Tech recruit who finished with 17 points and three 3-pointers. “Especially when I’m attacking the basket because they’re concentrating on me.”
With such spectacular inside-out play -- Gwen Newsome added 15 points to help the trio account for 90 percent of the Raiders’ scoring -- Coach Nsonji White could really just sit on the bench, relax and soak it all in, right? Not quite.
When asked about his daughter, the coach said, “Kyani, being a true point guard, she doesn’t like to shoot. Unfortunately her high school coach and her dad still need her to score because she’s still in high school.
“Her first mentality is that she wants to pass. She’s going to make a heck of a point guard when she gets to where she’s going, but right now we need her to score.”
It’s a delicate balance and it’s something that the younger White admittedly still struggles with. Her first instinct is to pass, yet she’s also a lethal outside shooter who can handle the ball. She’s someone, too, that her teammates turn to for leadership.
“As I’m trying to run the offense, I still have to be able to score and get shots up for my team,” Kyani White said. “But I do love to pass. That’s the first thought that comes into my mind: If somebody’s open, I’m going to pass. But sometimes in certain situations, I have to be the one to take a shot.”
Against South County, White missed her first five shots before catching fire in the second quarter. White made two of her 3-pointers during an eight-minute stretch and Caracciolo closed the quarter with three consecutive field goals as the Raiders took a 26-10 lead into halftime.
South County Coach Chrissy Kelly was fuming. In a move that she later said was intended for her players to do a little bit of halftime soul searching, Kelly stayed on the bench as her team walked to its locker room.
Stonewall Jackson used several defenses to force a total of 25 South County turnovers. Worse, the Stallions connected on only two of their 21 field-goal attempts during the opening half and 12 of 38 overall. The performance, to say the least, infuriated Kelly, who won a pair of state titles as the head coach at Forest Park.
“They’re a better team,” Kelly said. “They have more heart than us. They have more determination. They have more desire. Their defensive pressure put us on our heels and it’s what they do. His kids are mentally tough; they got every loose ball. They were better than us.”
Junior Simone Antwi finished eight of 17 from the field, scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Stallions, who will host West Springfield on Tuesday.
For Stonewall Jackson, a team that improved to 5-1 ahead of Friday’s game against William Fleming, Thursday night provided the perfect opportunity to do what all good teams do at one point or another: nitpick.
“She’s has been averaging right around where we need her to be, but she has to be even more aggressive,” Nsonji White said of his daughter. “She’s constantly looking for the people to run their routes and sometimes I need her, as a coach, to just go. Sometimes she’s just too unselfish.”
December 17, 2009; 9:50 PM ET
Categories: AAA Patriot District , Cedar Run District , Girls' Basketball , Northern Region , Northwest Region , South County , Stonewall Jackson
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