Team defense, ball movement propel JV Lady Raiders hoops to 4-0

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Angelo Macugay III 3rd Air Force

The Kaiserslautern Lady Raiders hold their ground on defense against the Wiesbaden Lady Warriors Jan. 20 at Kaiserslautern High School.

The Kaiserslautern High School Girls’ Junior Varsity basketball team successfully defended its unblemished record against the Wiesbaden Lady Warriors Jan. 20 at Kaiserslautern High School. The victory earned them their fourth straight win with a score of 20-14 and improving to 4-0 on the season.

Freshman guard Jaelyn Salton led the charge, but stout team defense and crisp passing between the Lady Raiders were the keys to Kaiserslautern remaining undefeated.

Faced with a height disadvantage, the Lady Raiders countered with an impenetrable zone defense, repelling Wiesbaden players from the rim and forcing the Lady Warriors to attempt tougher, long-range shots. Quick to help each other on defense, the Lady Raiders held Wiesbaden to just six field goals all night. Wiesbaden guard Reagan Jones made the Lady Warriors’ only three-point shot.

On the offensive side, the Lady Raiders displayed outstanding team chemistry as they put on a passing clinic. In the beginning of the second half, Salton dribbled the inbound pass across half court and tossed the ball to freshman guard-forward Kate Holquist in the left wing. Recognizing that Salton continued to cut to the basket, Holquist passed up an open shot and dished the ball right back to Salton, who finished the give-and-go play with an easy layup.

It was the unselfish plays like this that allowed Kaiserslautern to open up the lead and seal the deal in the fourth quarter. With 2 minutes and 12 seconds left to play, Salton stole the ball and immediately dribbled towards the basket with only one Wiesbaden defender to beat and a trailing Holquist to assist. Salton attacked the rim, forcing the defender to follow her. At the last second, Salton delivered a swift bounce pass to Holquist, who laid the ball in to score two of her six points of the night.

Though Salton put forth an outstanding individual effort, scoring a game-high 10 points, she praised her coaches and teammates after the game.

“For the most part (our defense) worked well,” Salton said. “When we do as the coaches say, it’s spot on.”

Salton also attributes the results on the court to the relationship she shares with her teammates.

Despite the come-and-go nature that student athletes experience as members of the KMC, Salton has enjoyed the luxury of playing with some of the same teammates for two to three years, and some of them traveled together to Austria last year to play in an international tournament.

“We bond really well,” Salton stated simply.

Salton and the Lady Raiders will test their bond today as they take a road trip to Vilseck High School to face the Lady Falcons. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. at the Vilseck High School gym.

Wiesbaden High School’s Ana Smith defends against Kaiserslautern High School’s Jaelyn Salton, who passes to her teammate, Chantay Morris, Jan. 20 at Kaiserslautern High School.