Little did Violet Morrow know, Wilson High girls basketball coach Michelle Birge was keeping a close eye on her.
While Morrow was gobbling up every rebound in her vicinity as a freshman on the junior varsity team last season, Birge was busy envisioning big things for the 5-foot-10 forward.
“In her mind, she was just trying to make the varsity squad (this year),” Birge said. “In my mind, I was just like, ‘How does she not?’ ”
Morrow even questioned her own ability when varsity tryouts came around — she needed a boost of encouragement from her mom and sisters to even attend the tryout.
But all of that is a distant memory now.
Since the super sophomore was inserted into the starting lineup during the first month of the season, Morrow has distinguished herself as one of the best rebounders in the area, averaging about 10 per game. Teamed with senior center Tia Briggs, a News Tribune All-Area team member, the duo averages nearly 20 rebounds a game and gives the fourth-ranked Rams a formidable force down low as they open the Class 3A state tournament at 10:30 a.m. Thursday against Mercer Island in the Tacoma Dome.
“We’ve nicknamed her ‘Miss Windex,’ ” Birge said of Morrow. “She cleans the glass — all the time. She has a natural knack for that ball; one of the most natural knacks I’ve ever seen in high school.”
Morrow and Briggs recently improved their effectiveness – over the past nine games the Rams have yet to be outrebounded. Briggs has taken
Morrow under her wing and helped develop her game and touch around the basket.
“Whenever she needed help, or when I thought she was losing her confidence on something, I would pull her aside and we’d go to the other gym and start working on it,” said Briggs, who averaged 12.9 points and 8.4 rebounds a game this season. “She gained her confidence back and she’s improved so much. I’ve seen her grow from the beginning of the season to now.”
Morrow’s evolution as a player has developed quickly, something even she’s quick to admit.
“How I’ve grown, it’s really exceeded my expectations,” she said.
The sophomore has worked hard to improve her footwork and positioning for rebounds, and has really concentrated on being patient once she gets the ball and is in place for a put-back.
“(I have to) catch the ball, gather myself, and then go up,” said Morrow, who also goes by her middle name, Kapri. “I’d been rushing it in the past. I learned how to slow myself down.”
Morrow’s rebounding prowess has been a huge boost and has help taken some of the defensive focus off Briggs in the post. If Morrow’s offensive game can continue to develop, it’s another plus for the Rams, who also boast a deadly 3-point threat in guard Bethany Montgomery.
“She getting better at having offensive confidence,” Birge said. “She’s not one who’s going to create her own shot, but she can certainly finish down there. She’s really quick with putting it back in.”
That can only lead to good things for Wilson, which hopes to earn a state trophy for the first time.
“(Morrow’s play) opens up a lot of things,” Briggs said. “Since we have two threats down low, it’s kind of pick your poison (for opponents). If I’m the threat they’re trying to take away, I can definitely depend on Kapri to be there to clean up.”