Friday, December 16, 2016
Dominating from Opening Tip
But when you get it for an entire quarter to start the game, it sets a great tone for the rest of the game. The Highlands Ladybirds basketball team did not allow a point until 20 seconds into the second quarter. By that time, Highlands put 19 on the board and continued to roll forward to its most complete game of the year in a 77-21 thrashing of the Bishop Brossart Lady Mustangs on Friday.
Highlands has won four in a row to improve to 5-2 overall and Bishop Brossart fell to 5-3. The Ladybirds have held opponents to 39 points and fewer in four of those victories.
"I'm super proud of the 13 girls I have on the varsity team," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "Even in the JV and freshman programs, they're buying into the team concept. They're buying in that defense is very important. The girls are doing a great job."
Things started with the full-court man-to-man pressure defense. Highlands used its quickness to trap Bishop Brossart at various locations all over the court forcing 23 Lady Mustang turnovers including 18 steals. Highlands had 11 turnovers and yielded just four steals to go with 20 assists.
"Defense for our team is key, especially we are small," said Brooke Dill, Highlands junior forward. "We have to be aggressive and quick with the ball getting in the passing lane and things like that. We have to make sure everyone is communicating and know what they're doing at all times. It creates team chemistry for us as well. We are having so much fun. The energy we have as a team is incredible."
The dynamic guard duo of Zoie Barth and Jenna Martin led Highlands in that department with four steals and recorded three assists. Emma Little led the Ladybirds with four assists with sophomore Ashley Hayes and Olivia Gessner also recording three assists.
Barth and Martin came near their scoring averages with 16 and 14 points respectively. Barth made 5-of-6 shots including all three three-point tries and 3-of-4 free throws with Martin making 6-of-9 shots including 2-of-4 from three-point land. Barth and Martin came in averaging 18.2 and 15.5 points per game respectively.
"We just did a little press against them," Richey said. "We knew what we could do and the girls came out, executed and got the steals we talked about before the game. We were looking to steal passes while they were dribbling and I thought we did a great job."
Highlands saw all 12 players score at least one point. Senior Taylor Baioni raised the roof in the gym nailing 3-of-4 three-point tries on her way to 15 points. Baioni also had three assists and three steals.
Highlands also made things happen in transition off rebounds. The Ladybirds won that battle by a convincing 31-10 margin. Eleven Highlands players recorded at least one rebound. Gessner and Morgan Coffey led the way there with five rebounds each. Barth and Hanna Buecker followed with four each.
"The key is for everyone to rebound and push everyone to shoot the ball and pass the ball to get everybody open shots," Hayes said. "Communication is key because it allows easy shots for everybody. The passing and cutting makes the defense shy away from the (leading scorers)."
Highlands wound up making 30-of-46 shots for 65 percent including 9-of-18 from three-point range for 50 percent and 8-of-12 free throws for 67 percent. Bishop Brossart hit just 9-of-36 shots for 25 percent and 2-of-10 three-point tries for 20 percent. The Lady Mustangs attempted just two free throws making one for 50 percent.
Megan Seiter led Bishop Brossart with eight points. She came into the game averaging 11.3 points per game. Maddie Flaugher averaged 12.1 per game and Mariah Frommeyer averaged 11.9. Highlands held Flaugher to seven points and Frommeyer to one.
Bishop Brossart did put up 14 points in the second quarter. But Highlands held the visitors to just seven points in the second half.
Highlands led 38-14 at halftime and 58-18 after the third quarter. The Ladybirds hit the running clock with a 36-point lead with 4:20 left in the third after Coffey made a three-pointer. They used a 29-0 run to go up by its largest lead of 57 points at 75-18 late in the game.
The Ladybirds take on Bellevue on Thursday in 36th District action. Game time is 7:30 p.m.