Erica Dwyer and her teammates on the Hun School girls’ basketball team were determined to start 2013 with a bang after losing three of their last four games heading into the holiday break.
With sophomore guard Dwyer hitting two three-pointers in the first quarter as Hun hosted King Low Heywood School (Conn.) last Saturday, the Raiders did just that, jumping out to a 17-5 lead.
“That’s what we were going for, a new year and a new way of playing,” said Dwyer, reflecting on the team’s hot start. “We had a rough end to the year so we are just trying to pick it up again.”
The Raiders ended up pulling away to a 60-34 victory as they improved to 5-3.
“It was definitely a good game,” said Dwyer, who scored 11 points in the victory. “We played as a team, which picked us up and helped us a lot.”
Junior star forward Johnnah Johnson certainly picked up Hun, pouring in 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
“We look inside and if it is not working we pull it out,” said Dwyer. “We knew that they were a small team and Johnnah was a big threat in this game.
Dwyer is looking to be a more complete player for the Raiders, focusing on triggering the Hun offense in addition to providing perimeter production.
“Because I am a sophomore and I started varsity last year, I feel like it is my position to get the team going,” said Dwyer, who also plays soccer and lacrosse for the Raiders.
“Shooting threes and ballhandling are definitely my strengths and that’s what I work on at home and out of school.”
Hun head coach Bill Holup believes Dwyer is making a stronger contribution this winter.
“When Erica is open, she will look for her shot but she is becoming more of a complete player,” said Holup.
“She is looking to pass the ball to open players. Last year, it was a transition as a freshman. Last year, she looked more to shoot because we had other people to handle the ball with Jackie Mullen and Ashley Ravelli. This year, we have a couple of girls who help each other at the point. When you play point, it should always be, in my opinion, pass first, shot second. The girls are continuing to learn that.”
For Hun, passing the ball to Johnson on Saturday helped spark the victory. “We wanted to establish getting the ball inside,” said Holup, who got eight points from senior Carey Million in the win with Janelle Mullen chipping in seven and Anajha Burnett contributing five.
“She didn’t need to do any pump fakes or anything because she had the height advantage. We wanted her to continue to work on taking it strong to the basket. A lot of time when teams are a little undersized they are much more physical trying to make up for lack of height. She was able to take it just as strong against them and did a good job of keeping the ball up high and finding some open teammates as well.”
Holup viewed the win as a strong start to the 2013 portion of the schedule. “I think we had a lull in the second quarter in terms of how we played together,” said Holup, whose team plays at Rutgers Prep on January 10 and at the Hill School (Pa.) on January 12.
“But certainly the way we started and the second half, we were smarter and very unselfish. It is still a learning process with one senior and a couple of new additions. They are still learning and complementing each other and figuring out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are doing our best to make ourselves more of a complete team.”
Dwyer, for her part, believes Hun can develop into a strong team. “I think we are going to go far,” said Dwyer.
“We have two freshmen and they got a ton of playing time in this game. Erica Brown has been hurt and she came in and had two points right away which was awesome.”