Troi Melton is usually stationed under the basket or in the paint somewhere, but would rather be patrolling the perimeter.
“I’m more comfortable up top as a guard,” she said.
The Cardinal Spellman sophomore has found herself in her comfort area more often since starting sophomore point guard Tia Scott went out with Achilles tendonitis in her right leg Dec. 17. Scott will be under going further tests.
“I hope I stay up there,” Brown said.
She is certainly making a good case for that. Melton came off the bench and continually pressured Preston’s guards, stole passes and started or finished many of the Falcons fast breaks. She scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five steals in a 53-28 victory over host Preston in Bronx CHSAA girls’ basketball Friday night.
“She got a lot of deflections,” Preston coach John Martin said. “She got a lot of rebounds. When you have a kid like that it leads to everything else. Defense led to a lot of offense.”
Especially in the second quarter. The Falcons used a 1-3-1 defense to frustrate and pressure Preston (5-6, 5-1 CHSAA Bronx), which did not have a good shooting night either, into strings of turnovers. Cardinal Spellman (6-5, 5-0) went on an 11-0 run, capped by fast-break layups from Ayris Brown, who scored nine points. Melton had a steal to create the first one and fed Brown an outlet pass after a rebound for the second to give the Falcons a 21-8 lead with 4:24 left in the first half.
“I’ve been trying to slide her into the 3 when I can,” Spellman coach Jane Morris said. “I think if she is going to play at the next level that is going to be where they are going to be looking at her. She has good guard skills.”
Melton, who plays some guard for her New Heights AAU team, showed more of them off in the third when she connected on a turn-around jumper on the block and a hit a shot from the left side during a 12-4 Spellman run that put the game well out of reach. Stephanie Dowe scored 10 points for the Falcons. Jean Marie Albin and Stacey Ramos each had six points for Preston.
Spellman has made itself the team to beat in the league, where it is also the squad with the most size and athleticism. Seniors Pearl Mensah, Dowe, sophomore Amber Griffin and Melton give the Falcons an extremely long and versatile front line. They can go eight or nine deep and not miss a beat in terms of size and speed.