PINCKNEY — Hartland coach Don Palmer is doing his best to tamp down expectations when it comes to freshman Whitney Sollom.
On Tuesday night, she showed why Palmer’s struggle is real.
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Sollom scored nine points in the second, en route to a game-high 21 points as the Eagles ran away to a 45-20 victory.
“You’ve got to remember she’s just 15 and has to get stronger and has a lot to learn,” Palmer said. “But I guess I always say this: There’s a lot of coaches who would like to have my problem.”
Sollom, who is 6-2, sometimes found herself out of position on shots, but more than made up for it by blocking shots and forcing the Pirates to alter the trajectory of the shots that got past her outstretched hands.
Her nine points in the second quarter keyed a 15-3 run that effectively put the game out of reach for the Eagles (5-1 overall, 1-0 KLAA West).
“We got up on them pretty good at the half,” Palmer said. “Then the pressure is on them a little bit. They’ve got to make plays, and sometimes you hurry.”
Often, those mistakes turned into turnovers, which in turn fueled the Hartland fast break.
Point guard Michelle Moraitis, who led the break often, started finding Sollom when the Pirates defense began to sag her way.
“I started driving and finding openings, and when they would come to me, I would dump it to her,” Moraitis said. “It’s a very nice option to have.”
This, on a team with offensive weapons like Lexey Tobel and Graysen Cockerham, who had eight points apiece.
“We’ve talked about getting (Sollom) more touches,” Palmer said. “She can do some damage in there, and she’s a good passer. I think the seniors realize that, begrudgingly. But if we’re going to go anywhere, whether it be division or tournament, this kid has to be a part of it. They’re going to figure it out.”
The Pirates (2-4, 0-1) trailed 22-7 at halftime. Lexie Curtis led the Pirates with six points as xoach Jarrett Cogswell remained upbeat.
“We’ll watch film and work on what we need to work on and keep competing,” he said “Hartland’s a good team, and we’re a good team. We didn’t show as much as we can tonight. But we’ll be back.”