The first bucket came easy for the young and undersized Coronado High School girls’ basketball team in Friday’s Colorado Springs Metro League contest against Fountain-Fort Carson.
The same could not be said for a majority of the Cougars’ other points, as the Trojans improved to 7-5 and 3-1 in league play with a 69-38 win on Coronado’s (4-9, 0-3) home court.
“We started off a little slow, but I think the second half, we definitely started playing our game,” Fountain-Fort Carson coach LouAnn Guiden said.
Coronado freshman Fatinah Muhammed tapped the opening tip off toward sophomore Sarah Ford, who collected the ball near the arc and coasted in for a layup just seconds into the game for Coronado's only lead.
The next time the Cougars scored, midway through the first quarter, came after an 11-0 Trojan run, including two layups and a 3-pointer from junior Samiyah Worrell.
It turns out the FFC guard was just getting started.
“When I see my first shot go down, it’s just rhythm,” she said. “It feels good.”
Worrell added eight more points in the second quarter to give the Trojans a 34-19 at half after she completed a three-point play just before the buzzer. She finished with a game-high 17 points to go along with three rebounds, three steals and a flashy, one-handed assist.
“That young lady… She’s a heck of a basketball player,” first-year Coronado coach Bryan Earls said. “She’s fun to watch.”
The Trojans continued to extend their lead in the second half, using the same formula that worked in the first: keep the pressure on, dominate the offensive glass and convert regular trips to the free throw line.
The Trojans height lent itself to a 66-35 edge on the glass and a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points. FFC also got to the line 36 times, making 23 freebies.
Trojan sophomore Danae Christensen added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Teyanna Norris pitched in nine points and 10 rebounds. Two other Trojans grabbed seven boards.
“I think our inside game compliments our outside game really well,” Guiden said. “Our guards look for our posts, but our posts are ready when our guards do shoot it.”
The Trojans’ advantage on the inside left Earls short on options after he pulled his tallest player – the 5-foot-10 Muhammed – in to guard a Fountain-Fort Carson post player.
“We’re the ones that want to play at that pace, because they’re too big for us to play in the halfcourt,” Earls said.
The Cougars, who started three freshmen and a sophomore, were led by junior Marisol Estrada’s nine points, while Muhammed added seven in an effort that pleased their coach.
“I actually thought the girls played well tonight. We’re young, and they are fighting hard,” Earls said. “It’s tough. They’re a deep, good team. I give their coach all the credit.”