Over the first three years of her career with the Hun School girls’ basketball team, Johnnah Johnson used her height and strength to become a dominant inside force.
But this winter, the 6’1 senior is looking to diversify her game, having committed to play college basketball for Division I Robert Morris University.
“I am trying to take my game from just the post to the wing a little bit since I am not going to be a big person in college,” said Johnson, who is nearing the 1,000 point milestone in her Hun career as she has passed the 930 mark.
“I’ll be playing the 3-4 position so I am trying to work on my jump shots a little bit more than just my post moves and working to swing the ball to everybody else.”
Last Wednesday in a 51-17 romp over the Pennington School, Johnson showed her all around game as she hit some jumpers, ran the court well, and fired some deft passes.
“I was able to practice my moves and everything as well,” said Johnson, who scored a game-high 13 points in the victory as Hun improved to 2-1. “I also looked to pass the ball a little more than I usually do just so I can get some assists on the board and work on the high-low game.”
Coming off a tough 55-48 loss to Germantown Academy (Pa.) on December 6, Hun was looking to get into a rhythm against Pennington.
“This was a time for us to get our groove back and use this to practice our plays and our defense,” said Johnson.
“I am really proud of everybody on the team. I am proud of Janelle Mullen, Amber Bourke, and Erica Dwyer, they really stepped up tonight and did a good job.”
Johnson believes that Robert Morris will be a good fit for her when she steps up to the college level.
“It wasn’t a very big school but I love it there,” said Johnson. “The campus is beautiful. It was a place where I could thrive and I could focus.”
Hun head coach Bill Holup likes the way Johnson has been focusing on becoming a more versatile player.
“She has been really working hard on the inside out game,” said Holup. “She gets it in the post and she will kick it to the other side and back out to the wing and that has been opening things up because we do have girls that can shoot from the perimeter.”
Even though Hun cruised to victory over Pennington, leading 21-2 after the first quarter and 36-4 at halftime, Holup saw room for improvement.
“For whatever reason, our shot wasn’t there today,” said Holup. “We did move the ball pretty well. It’s nice to get the win like that where everyone got a lot of playing time.”
Junior guard Erica Dwyer has been there for the Raiders this winter, averaging 10.3 points a game.
“I would say in the preseason, her shot was a little bit off but she has been hot for us in the first few games of the season and hopefully she will keep that up,” said Holup.
“We have just got to make sure that she maintains her dribble a little bit low and keeps her head up at all times. When she has been spotting up, her shot has been on and that has been very helpful in these first three games.”
Holup is hoping to see his team build on its promising 2-1 start. “We have only three games before we head into the break,” said Holup, whose team’s game against the Shipley School (Pa.) last Saturday was postponed, meaning that the Raiders were slated to wrap up the 2013 portion of their schedule by hosting Penn Charter (Pa.) on December 17 and then facing Allentown on December 21 in the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton event.
“Hopefully we ride that momentum because the competition is going to get stronger and stronger.”
Johnson, for her part, is primed to produce a strong finish to her Hun career, on and off the court, now that she has made her college choice and is free of the pressure that goes with the recruiting process.
“I can have a lot more fun this year, I don’t have to worry about my stats,” said Johnson.
“I can focus on my grades and school and everything and just enjoying my senior year.”