WALKER – Since becoming eligible a month ago for Walker’s girls basketball team, Trinity Harold has taken on an assortment of roles as a key reserve off the team’s bench.
None of which have previously included the 5-foot-10 Harold having to defend 6-foot-4 post players which Central featured in junior Lani Morris.
“You’ve got to watch from the bench and know what’s going on,” Harold said. “Do your part whenever you get the chance and make the best of it.”
Harold proved adept at handling her latest challenge, not only with her defense, but also complimenting leading scorer Tiara Young in a 62-25 runaway District 4-5A victory Monday over Central at Glenn Ellis Gymnasium.
While Young, an LSU signee, enjoyed her usual sterling game with 29 points, Harold scored a season-high 11 points and led a productive outing for Walker’s bench which equaled the output of Central’s entire team.
Katlyn Hayes added eight and Shaylon Cummings five for the Lady Cats (24-4, 2-0 in district).
“She had a great game,” Walker coach Hannah Jones said of Harold. “She came off the bench and did what she needed to do. She realized what was available and took advantage of it. That’s what we need to see.”
Walker lost its starting center Victoria Smith – its lone player over 6-feet tall – with two fouls less than two minutes into the game.
Harold was quickly summoned from the bench and became part of the Lady Cats’ full-court pressure that completely throttled Central’s offense.
The Lady Cats forced the Lady Wildcats (6-14, 0-2) into nine first-quarter turnovers, 22 in the first half and a staggering 41 for the game.
Walker outscored Central 31-2 in points scored off turnovers.
“I think the turnovers were good and we capitalized and did some good things,” Jones said.
With Walker playing a zone defense the entire game, Harold played in front of Morris with Young providing help from the back.
While Morris was held scoreless, 6-2 forward Kayla Williams scored a team-high 16 points for the Lady Wildcats.
“I just do my role, play my part and do what I’ve got to do and help my team win,” Harold said. “That’s to rebound, hit the corner 3 (pointer), find the open player and score the easy baskets. The simple stuff.”
Walker held its first double-digit lead (18-7) on a pair of free throws from Hayes with a minute left in the first quarter.
The Lady Cats never allowed their lead to dip below that standard the rest of the way when Young opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer from the corner following a turnover.
A 14-2 run helped the Lady Cats expand their lead to 32-11with Asia Garner following up Hayes’ 3-pointer with a 10-footer off a drive in the lane with 3:48 to go before halftime.
Young capped a 36-14 first half advantage with a three-point play with 30.9 seconds remaining, totaling 17 points in the first half.
The Lady Cats ability to produce turnovers at such an alarming rate limited the Lady Wildcats to a total of eight shot attempts in the first half and just 11 (5 of 11) through three quarters.
Central wound up shooting 39 percent (7 of 18) for the game.
Candace Ellis’ 3-pointer from the corner tipped off a stretch in the third quarter where Walker made 7 of its first 10 shots, opening a 47-16 lead on Young’s put back.
The Lady Cats went on a 12-0 run to close the third quarter and open the fourth for a commanding 59-19 cushion.
MeKayla Rothman’s free throw started the surge that included four points from Young and seven straight points from Harold that featured a 3-pointer, a reverse layup on a pass from Garner and a put back.
“It’s very important because you never know what’s going to happen in a game,” Jones said of the impact of her bench. “We always need people to step up, no matter who the opponent is.”