Carrollton uses size to defeat New Athens

News-DemocratFebruary 17, 2014 

— The New Athens Yellow Jackets' gave Carrollton fits with their pressure on the perimeter, but they still couldn't slow down the Hawks' inside game enough.

Rachel Williams and Patsy Coonrod each scored 15 points as the Hawks beat the Yellow Jackets 47-32 Monday in the semifinal round of the Class 1A White Hall North Greene Girls Basketball Sectional.

In addition to being a force on the offensive end, Williams and Coonrod also made it difficult for the Yellow Jackets with their defense.

"They're big, and that was our concern to begin with,'' New Athens coach Erik Hager said of the 5-foot-11 Williams and 5-foot-8 Williams. "They're big and they're physical, and that caused of a lot of problems. It caused us to hurry some shots and it pushed us away from the basket a little further than we normally would like to be.''

Alina Lance was the top scorer for the Yellow Jackets. She also keyed the Yellow Jackets' 1-3-1 zone defense that forced the Hawks into 25 turnovers.

"One thing we wanted to do is pressure up, and we thought we could cause some turnovers,'' Hager said. "Alina Lance out front, what a game she had tonight. She was a (ball) hawk tonight.''

The Yellow Jackets end their season at 23-3. They'll lose only one senior -- Mallory Warnecke -- from a squad that claimed the school's first regional title in girls basketball.

Many of the Yellow Jackets' players were on the volleyball team, which placed fourth in the state.

"This is a special group,'' Hager said. "They won in volleyball and now in basketball. Heck, maybe they can do it in softball. We'll see.''

The Hawks (22-6) advance to play the Winchester West Central Cougars (21-9) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the championship game of the White Hall North Greene Sectional.

The Hawks led 19-9 in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets closed the gap to 23-19 by halftime.

"We felt confident only down by four at halftime having not played particularly well and having made a lot of turnovers,'' Hager said. "Give it to the Carrollton, they;re a strong team, and they forced a lot of turnovers.

The Hawks used a 9-0 run that was highlighted by Maddie Struble's 3-pointer at the buzzer ending the third quarter to go up 37-22 with 6:37 left to play.

Anisa Al-Bori, who chipped in eight points in the game for the Yellow Jackets, hit a 3-pointer to trim the Hawks' advantage to 37-25.

Despite forcing plenty of turnovers, the Yellow Jackets were unable to mount a rally.

"We haven't seen that type of pressure up front, that zone pressure,'' Hawks coach Brian Madson said. "That kind of got the best of us at times, but we settled in. We attacked when we are supposed to, so that really opened things up.

"They were giving us the underneath points, but we just struggled at times penetrating out of that top pressure to get it down low. I think every time we got it down low, we either scored or got fouled. It doesn't surprise me that those two (Williams and Coonrod) got those points.''

Winchester West Central 50, Lebanon 36

Abby Lashmett scored 16 points, including 10-for-13 from the free-throw line, as the West Central Cougars beat the Lebanon Greyhounds.

The 5-foot-9 Lashmett's presence on the inside helped make up for the Cougars' struggles shooting from the outside.

The Cougars were 2-for-21 from 3-point range in the game.

The Greyhounds were led by freshman Casey Berberich with 10 points, Kiera Wagner with nine points and Mallory Schmitt with seven points.

The Greyhounds ended their season at 16-11. They couldn't overcome a combination of foul trouble, turmovers (19) and West Central's aggressive rebounding, especially on the offensive end.

"We didn't follow the game plan at all, but they're a great group of girls and I can't complain,'' Lebanon caoch Melody Evans said. "It's been a great ride, a fun ride. No one expected us to be here. We surprised every one, and we just have to keep it going next year.''

The Greyhounds will lose only two seniors -- Ellie Krumsieg and Kiera Wagner -- to graduation.

"It's very bright because we have four girls from the junior high that just won the Class M State Tournament,'' Evans said of the Greyhounds' future.

It was a tough game for both of the Greyhounds' seniors as Krumsieg fouled out with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter and Wagner limped off the court after being injured with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter.

"You take our two seniors out, we're in trouble,'' Evans said.

The Greyhounds trailed 26-16 at halftime, but drew within 33-28 after back-to-back layups by Berberich in the third quarter.

The Cougars scored the final seven points of the third quarter, including a three-point play by Lashmett with seven-tenths of a second remaining in the period.

The Cougars retained at least a 10-point cushion throughout the fourth quarter.

"We died a little bit,'' Evans said of her team's attempt at a comeback. "It was very physical and we weren't quite ready for it.''

Kayla Moore added nine points, Mehgan Lashmett had eight points and Sydney Rock and Kennedy Sorrell each had seven points for the Cougars.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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