Bell Coach Reggie Taylor wanted his girls to be properly prepared for DCIAA play, so he scheduled No. 2 Riverdale Baptist, Friendship Collegiate and Bullis in his team’s non-conference schedule. The Griffins didn’t win any of those games, but they gained valuable experience.
After winning their conference opener against Cardozo, Bell (8-10, 4-1) suffered a humbling 62-27 defeat at DCIAA front-runner Cardozo Wilson. But the young Griffins came out of that loss motivated, and bounced back to knock off H.D. Woodson and Ballou Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
“Wilson is very disciplined and we fell flat,” said Taylor, who is in his second year as coach. “My team is young, so I think some of our immaturity showed protecting the ball and being patient, but we’ve learned from that and are ready to move on.”
With outstanding guard play from Carroll transfer Rayonna Marshall, the Griffins currently sit one game behind Wilson (11-5, 6-0) in second place in the conference.
Marshall, who played on the junior varsity team at Carroll last season, suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in her right knee in January of last year, forcing her to watch the latter part of the schedule from the sideline.
“It was depressing. I was really messed up about it,” Marshall said. “I never got injured before that, I never had anything broken, so it was kind of hard seeing my team without me.”
When she began playing again, she was fearful of exploding off her right leg, but Marshall said she’s regained the confidence through weight lifting and game action.
The 5-foot-6 guard posted a season-high 28 points in a Dec. 17 win over MATHS, and and she combined for 26 points in the two wins last week.
Marshall leads Bell in scoring at 11.1 points per game and has formed a strong combination with freshman point guard Dejaih Gallion. Gallion is second on the team in scoring at 9.7 points per game.
“I have a lot of confidence in her because she has a high basketball IQ,” Taylor said of his freshman floor leader. “I always tell her that I believe in her decision making. I want her to feel comfortable and definitely be aggressive when getting teams involved.”
Taylor is hopeful the non-conference scheduling served his team well when the DCIAA playoffs begin in February as four of the Griffins next five opponents have a record under .500.