GBB NECC TOURNEY: 3A #8 Angola downs West Noble for title
January 14, 2013Hoosier Authority
By Mike McGraw
TOPEKA – Class 3A eighth-ranked Angola won the Northeast Corner Conference Tournament title Jan. 12 with a 69-58 victory over West Noble.
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That simple statement, however, tells very little of what was an intense battle before a large crowd at the Westview gymnasium as the Hornets used their balance and poise to overcome a stiff challenge from the Chargers.
The contest was fast paced from the outset as Angola surged to a 20-15 lead after one quarter. Through those early minutes, the breakneck tempo seemed to favor the Hornets, who took advantage of West Noble turnovers to score easy points in transition.
That story would change drastically in the second quarter.
West Noble’s half-court zone began causing Angola trouble. The turnovers now were suddenly being generated by the Chargers, and they proved every bit as effective at turning them into points.
The early Angola lead quickly disappeared as West Noble tied the game 33-33 entering intermission.
The hectic first half seemed to be a battle of talented guards. Angola senior Rachel Rinehart poured in 14 of the Hornets’ first-half point total, while West Noble junior Kelsie Peterson repeatedly led the Chargers’ fast break and was a general pain in the neck to the Hornets over those first two periods.
But good teams make adjustments, and Angola did just that at halftime. Third-year coach John Berger insured there was always someone in the high post versus the Charger zone, and the turnovers suddenly stopped. Meanwhile, West Noble did a much better job of limiting opportunities for Rinehart.
The pace slowed but the intensity didn’t as Angola fought to a 45-42 edge entering the final stanza.
Any coach will tell you if you want to pull an upset, you must eliminate runs by the favorite. Great teams, you see, become irresistible forces. They keep applying pressure until they find a small crack in the opponent, and then the flood gates open.
In this game, that moment came in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Rinehart, who had been held scoreless in the third period, went on a personal 5-0 run to start the final eight minutes, and suddenly the Hornets were up eight and completely in control.
West Noble fought valiantly down the stretch, but never seriously challenged again.
There is another quality shared by most good teams: They are usually very balanced. Sometimes, in fact, you don’t even realize where all the damage is being generated.
That was the case on this night.
It appeared Rinehart was the absolute key to the Angola attack, and she finishes with a game-high 25 points. It was all the help she received along the way, however, that spelled victory for the Hornets.
Angola finished with four players in double figures for the contest. In addition to Rinehart, sophomore Claire Grubb netted 14 points, senior Ericka Rinehart added 13, and senior Kylie Bidlack contributed 10.
West Noble showed more than a little balance of its own. Peterson and 6’2” senior post Haley Richardson both scored 16 points, while sophomore Ashley Shepherd added 13 to the cause for seventh-year coach Dale Marano’s Chargers.