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When Sofia Vohra gets the basketball far from the hoop, fans have taken to yelling “no” to dissuade the North Shore sophomore point guard from jacking up an instant shot. Even her coach, Dana Leonard, felt compelled to yell, “Sofia, calm down,” after Vohra dribbled the ball off of her foot on January 9 against U-High.
“There’s a little different pressure when you come into the games sometimes," Leonard said. "And I think the kids sometimes have a hard time in their first year playing a lot of minutes and taking a lot of shots.
"Sofia has a beautiful jump shot, don’t get me wrong, but in games it’s a little harder when there are people watching and it means something when you have someone in your face. I think she’s struggling right now just to be consistent.”
The energy level is certainly there.
No one plays defense with more fervor than Vohra. Against U-High, Vohra forced more jump balls than the rest of her teammates combined.
“Whenever we go in and we match up,” sophomore guard Annie Kroll said, “I say, ‘Sofia, you take the best player,’ and she never lets anyone past her on defense.”
The problem is that Vohra’s enthusiasm can trip her up on the other end of the court.
Many of her turnovers are caused by overeagerness. On one occasion, she drove into a pack of defenders. On another occasion, she aggressively drove to the basket, but forgot to dribble as she drove.
“I just have to make smart passes, make sure I look around the court before I dribble and put the ball down,” Vohra said. “That’s really important.”
Sometimes, the speedy point guard jacks up shots with reckless abandon. Despite a double-digit shot count against U-High, Vohra finished with just four points.
She began the second quarter by eagerly putting up a jumper very early in the possession that failed to hit the rim or the backboard. She ended the period in a similar fashion with a long bank shot that bounced off of the backboard well to the right of the basket.
“I felt like she was rushing her shot and when you don’t hit the backboard or you don’t hit the rim, you have got to reassess,” Leonard said. “You can’t keep continuing to rely on your jump shot. When it’s not falling, you’ve got to figure out a way to get to the line or get to the basket so you can create your offense.”
Leonard said that she asked Vohra to show more restraint with her jump shot and cut toward the hoop more often. Sure enough, in the third quarter, she earned two trips to the line, the second trip coming after she stole and corralled a high-bouncing ball and took it aggressively to the hoop to draw a foul. In the fourth quarter, she began facilitating the offense more, and when her chance came, she knocked down an open jumper.
“I asked her to start taking the ball to the basket a little more,” Leonard said. “Her shot wasn’t falling clearly but she could create something else for us. She’s such a good player that I need her out there, so I was just trying to tell her to be a little more patient and not rush things on the offensive end.”
It’s a lesson that North Shore will have to learn as a team. In their 61-22 loss to the Maroons, the Raiders turned the ball over time and time again.
“As a team, when we get under pressure, we panic a little with the ball,” Kroll said. “We just have to work on relaxing and getting open for the ball and having more help and just slowing it down altogether.”