Girls Basketball: Zack picks up the slack in University’s win over Drew

University sophomore guard Kayla Symanovich drives into the paint and is surrounded by a pair of Drew defenders on Thursday at University High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

Drew School’s girls basketball team accomplished a key part of its game plan Thursday night — the Dragons took University center Amelia King out of the game.

Drew attacked the paint, got the 6-foot-1 senior into foul trouble and limited her to a season-low seven points, but University sophomore guard Alana Zack more than picked up the slack.

University sophomore guard Alana Zack dribbles up-court against Drew on Thursday at University High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Zack, who averages 5.5 points per game, scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Red Devils to a 56-32 Bay Counties League West win at University High School.

“This gives us confidence and the team recognizes that it’s not all on [King],” said University head coach Jason Montana. “We have some capable players and they had an opportunity to see it tonight.”

Zack connected on 8-of-12 shots from the floor to lead the University offense, but it was the Red Devils’ defensive effort that frustrated the Dragons, forcing 25 Drew turnovers, 16 coming from University steals. The turnovers fueled a potent University (14-1, 2-0) fast-break offense that got easy transition baskets throughout.

“They really hurt us in transition and that’s something we’ve been working on,” said Drew head coach Nick Whitmore said. “We’re on the road against a good team and we’re still learning how to play in that environment.”

Along with the turnovers, the Dragons (9-4, 0-2) shot just 22 percent from the floor and scored under 10 points in every quarter except the third.

King, an inside force on both ends of the floor, averaged 19.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks heading into the game, but sat on the bench for most of the middle quarters and only attempted four shots in the game.

King still had four blocks, but as the best player in the league, Montana knows teams will target King to eliminate the Red Devils’ most significant advantage.

“She has to understand that she can’t block everything,” Montana said. “She’s had a couple of games where she’s had double-digit blocks, and that’s great, but I’d rather she give up the two points or make them shoot over her than put them on the free-throw line and her on the bench.”

For Drew, which will likely finish with its highest win total since the 2005-06 season, the process of building a program will not be easy in the hyper-competitive BCL West.

“I like our team and we’re preaching to the kids that we’re trying to change the culture that we’re a
bottom-feeder,” Whitmore said. “There will be bumps in the road, but it’s how we respond.”

Scoring Leaders

Alana Zack – 23
Katie Lo – 9
Amelia King – 7
Chloe Hoeber – 5
Kayla Symanovich – 5

Victoria Verdan – 10
Neff Rogers – 8
Amber Vidal – 4
Tamirah Gallaread – 3
Three players tied with 2 points

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  1. GCJ01 says:

    Great job University, that’s how you play team basketball! When one of your star players is out, the rest of the team needs to step up. You can teach the SI boy’s team this lesson!

  2. WOOHOOO says:

    GO ALANA!!!

  3. Sports Fan says:

    It sounds like Drew is getting better. Maybe next time they will beat University.

  4. :) says:

    Yeah Alana!

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