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Robin leads improved PHS hoops team above .500

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Robin leads improved PHS hoops team above .500

It took just seven games for the Patriot varsity girls basketball team to match the team's total wins from all of last season: four.
With a 55-35 victory over Gar-Field at home in Nokesville on Monday night, the Pioneers found themselves above .500 at 4-3 on the year.
The 20-point victory snapped a three-game losing streak, preceded by a three-game winning streak to open the season.
A considerable chunk of the credit for the turnaround belongs to junior forward-center Tyler Robin.
Her 15 points and 15 rebounds on Dec. 10 extended her streak of double-doubles to seven, meaning that she's earned that mark every game this season.
Standing over 6-feet tall, she's part of a triple threat of Pioneers who provide a large presence in the paint, joining her junior classmate Kendall Dalkiewicz and senior co-captain Zohra Allen.
"She's a post player but she has height and strength," said Patriot head coach Jen Jennifer Olinger, now in her second season with the team.
"Most of the teams we play have shorter players," mentioned Robin.
Describing the junior has a right-handed "powerhouse" who dribbles and leads flawlessly with her left hand too, the coach explained that Robin, a transfer student from Battlefield, possesses a high basketball IQ that helps her adapt to situations well on the floor.
"She's very coachable," added Olinger.
Particularly important to Patriot though is that Robin is not the lone major scoring threat; she is simply a dominant player among a crew of others capable of producing double-digit points each night.
Against Gar-Field, sophomore guard Megan Mohler led scorers with 18 points, including a two-for-two performance behind the 3-point arc.
Dalkiewicz (11 points) and sophomore guard Corrinn Burch (9 points) meanwhile both sank one of two attempts from downtown.
Allen rounded out Patriot's scoring with an extra two points.
That came at a time with another co-captain missed action while she recovered from a concussion, according to Olinger.
Helping to fill that void with on-the-court leadership is the point guard Mohler.
Avoiding turnovers, sinking 3s and driving to the hoop on her own, the sophomore "just played smart basketball," said her coach.
"We had great passes. We were able to settle down and find open shots," added Mohler.
"We strive to develop our 3-pointers."
She explained the team's long-game strategy by saying Olinger told them to fire away when they feel like they're in a good position to sink a shot instead of waiting and over-analyzing the situation for an extra second or two.
"I think we don't have that hesitation," said the guard.
As for working the ball toward the Pioneers' bigs around the post, Mohler mentioned that the guards as a unit "are really smart about getting bounce passes to our players."
Neither Olinger, Mohler nor Robin would offer a definitive prediction about Patriot's success in the post-season but a common theme they stressed is how, if the team can put together more performances like the one from Monday, then they could be a contender come districts.
Stonewall Jackson is annually the heavy favorite to win the Cedar Run District title and nothing suggests the Raiders won't repeat that this year.
That means the fight for the league's second-place spot is especially important as it grants its winner a bid into the Northwest Regional tournament.
It's too early to tell whether Broad Run, Battlefield, Osbourn, Freedom (South Riding) or Patriot is in the driver's seat as district play has yet to commence.
However, all of those teams except for Osbourn entered Tuesday above .500 on the season, suggesting that the district is shaping up to be particularly competitive.
"If we play like we did tonight... you never know," said Olinger about post-season prospects.
When asked the same question about competing for the second seed, Robin echoed her coach's sentiments.
"When we play games like this, we are," she said.
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