Tigers roll to 4-0 in return to D-III

Tigers roll to 4-0 in return to D-III

Tolman senior point guard Julia Al-Amir is all by herself as she gets ready to score on a fast break layup during the opening half of last Friday night’s Division III game against Central Falls. Al-Amir scored 18 points to help lead the Tigers to a 51-6 victory. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Al-Amir, Percy lead girls’ basketball team to lopsided victory over Central Falls

CENTRAL FALLS – The Tolman High girls’ basketball team started its season with a loss in the opening game of the Donaldson-Lynch Tournament, but since then, the Tigers have won five of their last six games, including last Friday night’s 51-6 victory over Central Falls at the Warriors’ gym.

The Tigers, who were realigned to Division III this year after spending the last two seasons in D-II, also raised their league record to 4-0, and even though they won each of those games by double digits, they aren’t taking any of their D-III opponents for granted.

“We are still competing hard day in and day out, no matter who we are playing,” Tolman head coach Walter “Bunky” Gonzalez noted. “We’re looking forward to playing teams of the caliber of Davies to push us to the limit we need to get pushed. We don’t take anybody for granted (in D-III). We come with the same mentality, execute, and do the right things all the time.”

Leading the way for Tolman this season is senior captain and point guard Julia Al-Amir, who scored a game-high 18 points, all coming in the first half, in the win over the Warriors. Another senior who has a lot on her shoulders as well is center Victoria Percy. She scored 10 points and senior forward Maya Barbosa added seven for the Tigers, who poured in the game’s first 16 points before taking a 29-4 lead at halftime.

“Right now, we are leaning on Julia,” Gonzalez said. “She’s our sparkplug. She gives us energy, and as she goes, we go. And we’re relying on Victoria, who can dominate down low. She probably had a double-double tonight.”

The Tigers have six returning players, four who have quality experience, as well as two transfers from Central Falls. Senior forward Amsatou Diagne, junior center Ashley Percy and junior forward Minelle Pagan join Victoria Percy, Al-Amir and Barbosa as the returnees, and the two C.F. transfers are junior guard Thania Santana and senior forward Tamara Negron.

Sophomore forward Nariah Washington, one of the team’s newcomers, also played well in last Friday night’s win, as did sophomore point guard Izabella Russell, who also got to run the court for a good part of the game. The Tigers played their entire bench, and Gonzalez said that he played “five in and five out” so each player could get quality minutes.

Gonzalez said that he could see a big improvement from his role players from their first Donaldson Tournament game to last Friday night’s win with their “execution and learning how to play the game.” Gonzalez also said that he wants his players to get better game in and game out, and he noted that historically, they tend to be a better team in the second half of the season. But he sees his team putting in the work and having it show during their practices.

“I’m super proud of these girls,” he said. “They are working hard.”

Before wrapping up the 2018 portion of their schedule, the Tigers came away with a big 54-39 victory over Central that saw the Tigers hold the Knights to 12 second-half points and Victoria Percy (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Al-Amir (12 points, five assists) lead the way.

“Central is an athletic team,” Gonzalez said. “We played them at our gym and we squeaked out a win, but they are going to give us trouble down the road. And we’re looking at maybe a couple other teams coming down from D-II, Toll Gate and Pilgrim, that should also be tough, but we’re going to take every game the same way and walk in with the same mentality.”

The Tigers are back in action on Thursday with a 4 p.m. game at Hope, and next Monday at 7 p.m., they will host Davies, which is currently 3-0 in the division.

Tolman senior center Victoria Percy, #21, puts in a layup over the reach of Central Falls freshman center Fidelina Sequeira, left. Percy scored 10 points and was her team’s leading rebounder.