Prep girls' basketball: Pleasant Groves leans on long range attack
Savanah Robinson started shooting 3-pointers out of necessity.
Pleasant Grove's strength is at the guard and wing positions, and the Vikings' inexperience in the post meant if they were going to score, they needed to do it from the outside.
"I was playing the post as a freshman, sophomore and junior," said Robinson, who had 13 3-pointers in the first six games. "Our post players are kind of small, so I knew it was going to be key.
"I started shooting about 100 a day trying to get comfortable with the release. I've been working hard on it to keep my shot going."
The 5-foot-8 senior wing enters the week as the top 3-point shooter in Class 5A, averaging more than two per game, and along with guards Megan Wilde and McKenna Miles, Pleasant Grove boasts a trio of top long-range shooters.
With 33 3s through the first six games of the season, the Vikings are on pace to take down their target the school record for 3s in a season (96). Pleasant Grove is on pace to make 115 3s.
Wilde, also a senior, has used the shot beyond the arc in the past, but the extra time she puts in after practice has helped boost her confidence.
"I wasn't hitting too many at the beginning of the year, but when I hit a couple, I thought I should work on it a little bit more," Wilde said. "I've been working on it in practice and after practice, and it's been a big help. If I can do it in practice, why can't I do it in a game?"
Pleasant Grove coach Glenn Larson said he has given his players the OK to let it fly whenever the opportunity presents itself.
"They have the green light, even in transition, to let it go," Larson said. "It's a huge part of our offense. Our strength is 3-point shooting, and you have to go with what you've got. So we're going to shoot it."
The reliance on the 3 comes with its drawbacks. If they aren't falling as was the case against Provo last week can the Vikings find enough offense to stay in games?
Pleasant Grove won last week despite making just two 3-pointers against the Bulldogs, who played man-to-man defense to limit long-range opportunities. Despite the result, Robinson isn't so sure that trend could continue over the course of the season.
"It's super crucial to make our 3s or it changes the momentum of the game," said Robinson, who leads the team in scoring at 11 points per game. "If it's off, we would need to rely on steals and fast breaks. Driving and getting to the line is also a big part of our offense."
The Vikings enter the week with three wins â just one shy of their 2011-12 season total. That season was marred by injuries that prevented Robinson and Wilde from playing even one game together.
Wilde missed the start of the season with a broken finger and Robinson tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee one year ago last week.
Robinson said coming back from the injury was "dreadful year," and though her knee is 100 percent, she still has a little ways to go to get over the mental hurdle.
"Setting a screen is how I tore it," she said, "so when I'm setting screens, I get super, super nervous about the physical contact. I've had to work really hard mentally to tell myself I'm OK and to trust the knee."
Beyond the Arc
Pleasant Grove boasts three of the top 3-point scorers in Class 5A.
Savanah Robinson, Megan Wilde and McKenna Miles combined for 32 3-pointers in six games entering the week.
Robinson said the players' goal is to break the school record of 96 3-pointers in a season. They are on pace for 115.