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Hitting their rhythm


Hoggard's Julia Buhler (12) drives to the net during the Vikings' game against Pamlico on Wednesday. (Photo by Photo by Mike Spencer)


Hoggard's girls basketball team suffocated Pamlico for a 56-26 win Tuesday night.

The Vikings dominated from start to finish. Their zone press shut down Pamlico and held the Hurricanes to just 13 shots in the first half. Both Hoggard's starting lineup and second string were equally effective.

"We kind of responded today," Hoggard coach Boubacar Aw said. "We needed that, and now we've just got to use that to carry on and hopefully maintain that."

Tuesday's win was so important because it came at the tail end of a rough stretch for Hoggard. The Vikings struggled against two of the best teams in the state last week – Hillside and Millbrook.

New head coach Aw is trying to make the adjustment from playing at Georgetown and internationally to coaching high school girls.

The experienced players are trying to adjust to their new coach. And the team's bevy of young players are trying to find where they fit.

For some, that's meant new roles on the team. Senior Sarah Downing has shifted from the Vikings' main scorer to a lock-down defender. She spent most of the game locked on Pamlico's main ball handler and leading scorer Alazia Whitfield, holding Whitfield to just four points.

"It's been a lot of hard work in practice," Downing said.

Aw added that the transition is still ongoing.

"I am a new coach and they are trying to figure me out just like I'm trying to figure them out," Aw said. "I'm really tough and I have high expectations. It's a slow process, but we are slowly getting there."

On Tuesday night, it worked out fine. Hoggard tried a full-court zone press for the first time all season, and it worked wonders. The Vikings got easy buckets in bunches and led 25-8 at halftime. Briana Smith and Julia Buhler each scored 10 points to lead the Vikings.

Aw said he wasn't focused on winning or losing right now, but trying to bring the Vikings' young players along.

"It's a very young team," Aw said. "Now it's teaching mode. Trying to teach them the right way to play basketball."



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