STRASBURG — Strasburg’s Kenley Smith, Nyla Sperry, and Madison Stinnette are all freshman on the girls basketball team this season, but so far they haven’t been playing like freshmen.
The trio had another strong performance in Tuesday night’s 84-15 nondistrict victory over Warren County.
“Every game they surprise me more and more,” Strasburg coach Darin Jenkins said.
Each of them has made significant contributions to the team.
Sperry transferred from Skyline this year and has been the starting point guard.
She said that it hasn’t been a very hard transition for her coming from Skyline, where she played on the junior varsity team last season.
“It was definitely different from where I used to play,” Sperry said. “But I like it because there’s older girls that I can look up to. And it’s different playing with bigger girls.”
Sperry, who had 8 points, eight steals and seven assists in the win over Warren County, has plenty of tall players to throw the ball to. Strasburg has three players 6-foot-2 or taller on the squad.
Strasburg junior point guard Maddie Smallwood suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee during volleyball season and is out for the year. That put even more pressure on Sperry to take on the starting point guard role and Jenkins said she’s handled it well.
“Nyla’s going to lead us all year,” Jenkins said. “She’s going to be our point guard all year and she doesn’t play like a freshman.”
Both Smith and Stinette, who said they have been playing together since middle school, come off the bench and give the Rams a spark. Smith had 6 points and four steals in Tuesday’s victory, while Stinnette had 2 points, three rebounds, and four assists.
Smith said she enjoys her role off the bench.
“At first I’m nervous on the bench,” Smith said. “But then when I see everyone playing I know I can trust all of them. And then when I get in it’s easy.”
Stinnette said the trio has gotten closer and bonded as freshmen so far this season.
“I think we all work well together,” Stinnette said. “We all generally play the same position so we can do that together. So it’s good.”
Jenkins said that Smith and Stinnette bring a real boost to the team off the bench.
“You remember that they are freshmen and you expect them to go out there and make freshmen mistakes,” Jenkins said. “But I tell you Kinley (Smith) has played two games really well for us back-to-back. ...Then you got (Madison Stinnette) that comes in and her motor never stops. She plays hard. And she’s done a good job for us.”
The trio were part of a strong game from the Rams against the Wildcats on Tuesday. Strasburg’s size and defensive pressure were simply too much for Warren County.
Strasburg 6-foot-3 junior Jaden Alsberry had 24 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Junior Christyan Reid had 16 points, five rebounds and four steals and senior Daniella Henry had 10 points and nine rebounds.
“I felt like we played better as a team,” Jenkins said. “I thought there were some girls out there that passed up shots to get a better shot. Defensively, I thought we played with a lot of intensity. We mixed some things up there. And I thought overall it was just a good team win.”
The Rams (2-1) had 25 assists as a team on 39 made baskets.
Stinnette said that teamwork has been a key to success for Strasburg.
“I think we really work together as a team,” she said. “We’ve been working together in practices. And we’re working on communication and everything that way. I think it’s going to be a good season.”