Green rises to Senior Night challenge with career game
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Once the District 28-3A season began, Sam Houston’s fortunes began to turn around — as if the Hurricanes had found the light switch.
The truth behind their metamorphosis that normalcy had returned to their daily routine. Their veteran coach, Milyse Lamkin, had come back from a surgery-related leave of absence and had time to work with her inexperienced team.
The Hurricanes (10-17, 8-2) won for the fourth-consecutive game and eighth time in nine outings Tuesday, defeating Pleasanton (7-24, 4-6) 71-32. Sam Houston finished second in 28-3A and the Eagles took fourth.
“We’re doing OK,” Lamkin said. “We have a young group of girls this year. We only had two returnees, one senior (Dionne Camino) and one junior (Dajah Thomas). We’re young experience-wise.”
Sam Houston will play Fredericksburg (17-13) at 7 p.m. Monday in the bi-district round at Boerne Champion. The Hurricanes kept alive their streak of 10-straight playoff appearances under Lamkin. Twice, they reached the area round, but haven’t yet made it to the regional quarterfinals.
That seemed doubtful to outsiders when they took a 2-15 record into the district season. Sam Houston closed 2013 with a 30-point loss to Smithson Valley in its last non-district game.
“We had kind of a bad start,” Sam Houston senior Dominique Green said. “So we wanted to show people what we were capable of doing.”
Lamkin had unanticipated hip surgery, specifically a socket-joint replacement, on Oct. 28. She missed the preseason, while her assistants coached the team, and didn’t return until Dec. 16.
“It happened so abruptly. It was the Friday before the season started,” said the Sam Houston alumna. “It was hard for me, because I wasn’t able to be there for the girls. But I left it in the Lord’s hands.”
The Hurricanes turned a game that was close early into a rout against Pleasanton by selectively mixing full-court pressure with half- and three-quarter court traps.
“We still have to work on a lot of stuff,” Lamkin said. “We’re still trying to get them to catch up. We’ve been working a lot on defense. We’re still trying to see what we’re better at.”
The combination of defenses clicked to force a whopping 37 turnovers, most on steals. Green definitely was in the forefront there, scoring the majority of her points in transition, but she also had the range from distance as well.
Green and her classmates all seemed to rise to the occasion. She said that has been their role throughout the season.
“We’ve just tried to pick each other up,”Green said. “Everybody working together has brought out what we’re capable of doing.”
Lamkin, of course, appreciates that her Class of 2014 kept the team’s hopes alive when wins were scarce.
“They’ve stepped it up. They’ve worked hard,” she said. “They were a little frustrated and a little upset when i wasn’t here, and I understand that because it’s their senior year and I left so abruptly. But they didn’t quit. They just showed more leadership.”
There’s still more growth to come, if time permits, as the playoffs unfold.
“We’re still working on the bench, but we’re getting there,” Lamkin said. “They’ve made a lot of improvement. When we’re really playing and working hard, we execute.”
Green led Sam Houston with 26 points, nine steals and five rebounds. Camino added 15 points and six steals. Thomas also had four steals, Chardonnay Green finished with five rebounds and Jasmyne Perkins made four assists.
“I was playing my last home game,” Dominique Green said. “I wanted to put on a show. I wanted to go out with a bang.”