With six minutes left in the first half of Thursday’s home game against New Haven, Warrenton Head Coach Greg Williams called a timeout after his team let its five-point lead evaporate to one. “I …
With six minutes left in the first half of Thursday’s home game against New Haven, Warrenton Head Coach Greg Williams called a timeout after his team let its five-point lead evaporate to one.
“I told Kayla Nelson to pick it up and play a little ‘D’ and she did that, which makes me look like a good coach,” Williams said with a smile following his team’s 51-45 win.
New Haven, a Class 2 program with little height, ran a five-guard lineup that put Nelson, the tallest player on the court, on the perimeter most of the night defensively.
“I thought it would be harder for me, but it honestly wasn’t,” Nelson said. “Coach is always telling me, ‘Guard skills, Nelly.’ Those are his big words for me. He tells me all the time for me to go ‘next level,’ because I’m pretty set on playing basketball.”
Nelson is confident she could land a scholarship at a small school with her current skill set.
But she has her sights set on bigger programs.
“If I get guard skills, I’ll be able to go to a much bigger school,” she said. “And that’s what I want, so I’m really working on that.”
Nelson finished with 10 points against New Haven, and is averaging 11.6 points this season.
She leads the team with 7.8 rebounds and one block per game, and joins Jenny Jansen as the only Warriors to average double figures with a shooting percentage over 50 percent.
“Knowing that none of their girls were very big, I knew I had an advantage over them so I had to do what I could to score and get points and help everyone else out,” Nelson said of Thursday’s outing.
New Haven’s Lauren Gerlemann led the Shamrocks with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
Kaylee Anderson led Warrenton with three 3-pointers and 14 points.
New Haven outscored Warrenton 16-9 in the fourth quarter to make the game close in the final minutes.
“New Haven has a great program. They run their stuff and they’re meticulous and put you in bad positions defensively,” Williams said. “We had stretches where it was really good, and we had a couple of lapses. But they’re going to do that to you. They do that to everybody.”
After New Haven cut its deficit from 14 to six late in the fourth, Jansen and Nelson were forced off the bench to preserve the win.
“She’s been really working on her defense, and you saw that tonight,” Williams said. “She’s (Nelson) out there guarding a guard and really doing a good job. If she wants to play at a high level, she has to get that. She has to have some guard skills, and she’s working on it and she’s going to get it. She wants it, and it will happen.”.GUARDING THE PERIMETER — Warrenton forward Kayla Nelson guards a New Haven player Thursday night. Nelson finished with 10 points in the Warrenton win. Kory Carpenter photo.