If you look at National Basketball Association box scores there are a few point guards racking up the assists. Boston’s Rajon Rondo is averaging a ridiculous 12.8 per game and Los Angeles’ Chris Paul and Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday are both over 9.0.
High school players don’t put up numbers like that due to the fewer minutes per game and the abundant use of zone defenses. Zones have their weaknesses, but when the ball is swinging around the perimeter it’s not always the point guard’s pass that is going to find the open shooter.
Through four games, Harley-Allendale Columbia point guard Kayli O’Keefe had dished out 22 assists to lead all Section 5 girls.
I saw O’Keefe in last week’s 49-45 win over Finger Lakes West League rival Red Jacket. She finished the game with an impressive stat line: 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. O’Keefe’s final assist setup her younger sister Abby for the game-winning shot.
The senior is a great passer, but she also draws a lot of an opponent’s defensive attention because of her ability to score. O’Keefe can shoot the three if you give her space, but if a defender plays her close she can blow by her for a layup. The step-back 3-pointer she has in her arsenal is just nasty.
There are a few other girls in the area with good assists numbers. Marcus Whitman’s Maddie Brown is second in Section 5 with 18, Gananda’s Kourtney Goebel has 14, Newark’s Brandi Lauer has 12 and Red Jacket’s Chelsey Jacobs has nine. Jacobs made a few nice passes to set teammates up for easy shots down low against H-AC.
A lot of people look for points first in a box score to see if a player had a good game. However, a good number of assists can indicate that those players have command of the offense, the ability to draw the defense’s attention and of course the court vision to see their teammates.
Have any ideas for features or columns? Let me know on Twitter at MPN_DanGoldman or by e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be tweeting from the Victor at Webster Thomas girls basketball game Tuesday night.