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Rebels putting on the pressure

  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to Jasper County Sun Times Thomas Heyward’s pressure defense helped lead THA to a strong start.

Thomas Heyward’s girls are keeping up the pressure.

The Rebels are 6-0 thanks to their vaunteed pressure defense that consistently forces turnovers that lead to layups.

Assisant coach Roy Pryor said the intense defense is the team’s hallmark.

“We love to press and get after it on defense and it gives teams fits,” he said. “We let the other team make mistakes.”

THA allowed 22.3 points per game in its first four games.

The team’s main rotation of Ivy Bryan, Alayna DeLong, Chelsea Schroeder, Olivia Pace, Bayli Belger and Gabby Boyles is a group that can play multiple positions and apply pressure at all points on the court.

Boyles scored 17 points Friday to lead the Rebels to a 59-30 win over visiting The Habersham School. Belger added 10 points and Bryan and DeLong each scored 8.

Last Thursday, DeLong’s 17 points and 16 points from Bryan led THA to a 54-27 win over Holly Hill. Boyles had 12 points, Belger had 4 points, Pace and Schroeder each had 2 points and Karleigh Edmonson had 1 point.

On Nov. 28, the team beat Andrew Jackson 40-12. Bryan led THA with 15 points and Belger added 14 points.

Pryor said the team has practiced finishing strong on layups. Because the Rebels often force turnovers they have opportunities to score at the basket and Pryor and coach Chris Tillotson stress to the team that it’s important to convert easy layups.

“We do layups as hard as we can do it, full speed,” Pryor said. “We want to finish strong on layups.”

The Rebels are working on moving their feet instead of reaching with their hands on defense to prevent foul trouble. They are also working on their halfcourt offense, but their goal is to play fast.

Bryan, Belger and DeLong are the primary ball-handlers. Pryor said Bryan and DeLong, the most experienced players, work well on the court, often knowing where the other will be. DeLong was a SCISA second team all-region selection last season.

The Rebels’ busy schedule includes hosting St. John’s Christian on Thursday and Holly Hill on Friday. Thomas Heyward visits The Habersham School in Savannah Friday, Dec. 15 before the holiday break.

Pryor expects the region to be tough, especially John Paul II, Colleton Prep and Hilton Head Christian.

“We are not there yet, but we are improving each game,” Pryor said.

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