Adjustment is a key reason the Deerfield High School girls’ basketball team is on a four-game winning streak and undefeated (3-0) in Central Suburban League North Division play.
The team had to adjust to a new offense and it took a little getting used to early in the season, according to Coach Mike Muldrow.
The freshman back court duo of Haley Greer and Margot Sylvan had to adjust to the pace of the varsity game as well as a more deliberate style of play.
After a 1-4 start, the Warriors seem to have adjusted very well. They are now 5-4 for the season as well as unbeaten in league competition.
“We installed a new offense and it took some time before everyone knew where they had to be,” Muldrow said. “They had to learn how to run through (the offense) with speed and authority.”
For Greer and Sylvan, who played for Caruso Middle School as seventh graders and have been competing in a feeder club program together, the adjustment was bigger. “It was mostly run and gun there,” Sylvan said. Now the two of them set up a sophisticated offense.
Freshmen Feel Pressure
Though the entire team got used to the new style, the modification was most notable in Sylvan and Greer who had played a more up tempo style. As the point guard who originates each offensive play, Greer felt acute pressure.
“As the point guard it starts with me. As guards we have to be careful to lead the team,” Greer said. “If we don’t see an option we repeat. We have a lot of options. When somebody is hot we get the ball to them.”
Against Maine West Tuesday, Greer was the one who emerged as the scoring leader with 25 points in a 44-43 victory. The team averaged 54 percent from the field that night and Greer made 71 percent of her shots.
“If one player is hot everyone will support you. Everyone supports each other,” Sylvan said. “I made sure to get the ball to Haley (Greer) every time I could,” she added about the Maine West game.
Rally Impresses Coach
Muldrow was even more impressed with the way his team rallied from a 37-31 deficit at the end of the third quarter to outscore Maine West 13-6 in the final period. “They couldn’t just trade baskets,” he said. “They had to score and make stops.”
Greer currently leads the team with a 10.3 point per game average while Sylvan is right behind at 7.6 as they account for more than 40 percent of Deerfield’s total. Greer leads the team in assists as well. He has 13 while Sylvan, co-captain Katie Hoffman and Haley Bess have six each.
When things get a little overwhelming for Greer and Sylvan, experienced leadership helps out.
“(Senior and co-captain Sarah) Ginn is really good at telling us to calm down so it’s not so chaotic,” Greer said. That calming influence comes both on the court and in the locker room. “The whole team benefits from their leadership,” she added referring to Hoffman as well.
Experienced leadership from captains is something beneficial to most teams but a pair of freshman guards leading a team in scoring and dominating in other categories is something Muldrow has not encountered as a head coach.
“I’ve been a head coach 15 years and I’ve had three or four freshmen (on varsity in total),” Muldrow said. “I’ve never had two in the line-up at once.