Senior Brooke Walling thrilled with team’s mental approach
Note: The Prairie Falcons, one of the top-ranked Class 3A girls basketball teams in Washington, has gone in search of different competition, traveling to California for the Surf N Slam San Diego Hoop Classic. We have asked the three seniors on the team to give us a little glimpse into the trip with this three-part series. Today, we hear from Brooke Walling, a Fresno State signee.
The Prairie Falcons were delayed a bit on their way to their holiday tournament in California, then they had a slow start to their first-round game Thursday.
No big deal for them. They know how to handle such things now.
The Falcons finished strong to improve to 8-0 with a 63-54 win over Olmsted Falls, Ohio.
“First half was a little rough,” Walling said. “We were rusty from Christmas break. We weren’t rebounding. We weren’t hitting shots. Defense wasn’t clicking. Second half, we were rebounding, getting steals, finally making the shots that we needed to.”
That is the big difference between last season and this campaign, she said. A year ago, the Falcons had a bunch of talent, but were not necessarily tough enough to handle rough outings. There were no seniors on the squad.
“We’ve definitely matured a lot. Last year we would have shut down because we didn’t play well in the first half,” Walling said. “Everyone has grown. We were able to shake off the first half and come out in the second half and do some really good things.”
Cassidy Gardner led the balanced attack with 14 points. Meri Dunford added 12 points. And Kendyl Carson finished with 10.
There are also teams from California, Pennsylvania, and Canada in this bracket. (The event is so big there are three girls tournaments and three boys tournaments.)
“We are definitely seeing teams we have never seen before,” Walling said. “This gets us out of Washington and let’s us see other teams. It builds us and makes us a better team. It makes us work hard and work together. It’s definitely going to help us come the end of February and beginning of March.”
It also gives the players and coaches three days to hang out with each other as a team, but doing things besides basketball.
The Falcons got a late start, though. The flight to San Diego was delayed about three hours on Wednesday. They took to playing cards on the carpet at the airport.
Because they got in so late, they did not do a whole lot. There was a team dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings and then they called it an early night because they had a noon game Thursday.
Now that Thursday’s game has ended, the Falcons were looking forward to karaoke night.
“There are a lot of activities for the teams to do,” Walling said.
“It’s super fun. Everyone is laughing and having a good time,” she added. “No matter what, we’re always finding something to do.”
Prairie will be in the semifinals of its bracket with a noon game Friday against Archbishop Mitty of California or Villa Maria of Pennsylvania.