FARMINGTON – Celina Watson wanted to be more proactive attacking the basket, and she addressed it with some good old fashioned strength training.
The Piedra Vista guard built more upper-body strength over the summer so she can better absorb contact and fend off defenders when driving to the rim.
“Just one dribble, and then I can just push through them and finish,” Watson said. “I noticed it (the first game) when I got the ball. People tried to push me, and I didn’t fall. Last year, I would fall on the ground constantly.”
Now that’s she significantly stronger compared to last season, she’s committing fewer turnovers attacking the lanes and doing more damage on second-chance buckets. She’s also developing the confidence to score on penetration more often.
“Her vertical (jump) and her strength when she gets in there among the trees is outstanding,” coach Joe Reed said. “She’s definitely got a stronger grip on the ball, doesn’t lose it as much.”
Watson already has the explosiveness and high motor to help the cause when PV sets up fast-break chances. Now that her upper body is stronger, she’s become even more dangerous.
“Now she’s getting off the ground faster, and she’s jumping higher than everyone. It’s leading to some easy putbacks,” Reed said. “She’s definitely the most improved player.”
Watson had just four games all of last year where she tallied double-digit scoring outbursts.
And she’s already matched that total just nine games into this season.
Watson isn’t susceptible to getting knocked around by defenders anymore, and now she’s scoring at will.
“Instead of driving to the basket and falling, I drive to the basket and get and-ones,” Watson said.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.