Bobcats dial it up from long-distancePublished 11:02pm Tuesday, February 5, 2013
When Brandywine starting dialing long-distance Tuesday night, the youth-laden Niles girls basketball team was unable to answer the call.
Ranked No. 2 this week in the Associated Press Class C poll, coach Josh Hood’s Lady Bobcats meshed four 3-point bombs during the third quarter to separate themselves from Niles and cruised to a 63-31 non-conference victory.
“With a team like Brandywine, with such great perimeter shooters, you really have to be focusing and concentrating all the time in your transition back to defense,” Niles coach Pat Touhey said. “If you lose focus against Brandywine, eventually they’ll make you pay. They can score in bunches.”
Niles (0-14) kept things relatively close throughout the first half, behind an aggressive defensive scheme that took Brandywine out of its rhythm.
A pair of 3-point baskets by freshman Maya Brookins pulled Niles to within six points, 22-16, just past the midway point of the second quarter, before a triple by sophomore Brooke Smith effectively opened the floodgates for Brandywine.
Senior Rachael Ort and Smith converted consecutive triples to open the second half, before freshmen Michaela Hartline and Emily Erwin meshed shots from behind the arc to push Brandywine’s lead to as many as 27 points on two occasions prior to the end of the third quarter.
Ort and Erwin each added a trey during the final eight minutes, and the Lady Bobcats (14-0) finished 10-for-27 from long-range.
“Defensively, we weren’t as aggressive as we usually are, but give Niles a lot of credit,” Hood said about his team’s sluggish start on offense. “They took us out of our rhythm on offense because they were physical.
“With the Class C basketball that we play most of the time, you’re not seeing a lot of aggressive man-to-man (defense). They just did a really good job of being physical and it took us a little while to adjust. I thought our girls did a really good job of adjusting and they played a very good second half.”
Despite his team’s 14th straight loss, Touhey expressed his pride in a team that started five freshmen against the talented Lady Bobcats.
“I thought our kids came out tonight with a lot of energy and played a great first half,” he said. “The lesson we have to learn is that we can’t be satisfied with that. There are two halves to the game and we have to be just as focused and energetic about our assignments in the second half as we were in the first half.
“We lose focus and we pay for that. That’s all part of the learning process for these kids, but until there was 0:00 on the clock, these kids never stop playing and I’m just so proud of them for that.”
Brandywine got a game-high 13 points from Mackenzie Shelton, while Smith and Erwin chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively. After converting just three of their first 16 floor shots, the Lady Bobcats shot 37.3 percent afield (22 of 59) and outrebounded Niles by a 48-37 margin. Smith had a game-high 11 caroms.
Niles got 10 points, apiece, from freshmen Libby Moody and Elyse Zimmerman. Moody, also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, drawing the praise of Touhey.
“This was a very personal game for her after transferring over from Brandywine,” Touhey said. “I thought she really stepped up and played well tonight. I am really proud of what she did. Hopefully, she will build off of that.”
The Lady Vikings shot a chilly 24.5 percent from the field (12 of 49) and committed 24 turnovers.
The effort by Niles was not lost on Hood.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Touhey and what he’s doing,” Hood said. “They’re working extremely hard. You can tell the girls are putting in the time and coach Touhey is doing a great job with them. They are playing fast, they’re playing physical and that says a lot about coach Touhey and what he is doing with the program.”
“I have the utmost respect for Josh Hood and his program and what he does over there,” Touhey said. “He’s a great coach, his schemes are wonderful, his kids execute very well and he’s a great teacher. I am trying to do some of those same things over here.”
(Complete box score available at www.leaderpub.com)
Mackenzie Shelton 13, Rachael Ort 8, Victoria Knight 6, Brooke Smith 12, Tammy Lee 6, Tiarra Hullinger 1, Michaela Hartline 5, Emily Erwin 10, Makenna Hartline 2. Totals: 22 9-20 63
Khalilah Abdullah 3, Elyse Zimmerman 10, Maya Brookins 6, Kylee Myer 0, Jazmin Brann 2, Jaiden Rolan 0, Libby Moody 10, Antonia Palmer 0. Totals: 12 4-12 31
Brandywine 11 29 49 63
Niles 8 16 24 31
3-point goals: Brandywine 10 (Ort 2, Smith 2, Lee 2, Mi. Hartline, Erwin 3), Niles 3 (Abdullah, Brookins 2). Team fouls (fouled out): Brandywine 15 (none), Niles 17 (Brookins). Varsity records: Brandywine 14-0, Niles 0-14