Sentinel used a smothering defense and received a strong performance from junior Maddie Keast in cruising to a 68-14 victory over the Southwestern A Blue Devils.
Keast, a chiseled 5-foot-8 transfer from Loyola Sacred Heart, dropped in a game-high 16 points and snagged a team-leading eight rebounds on a night when the Sentinel defense reigned supreme.
The Spartans (4-0) forced the overmatched Blue Devils into 35 turnovers. After allowing 10 points in the first quarter, Sentinel pitched a shutout in the second and surrendered just two points in both the third and fourth.
Sentinel also got the job done at the free-throw line, finishing 8 for 11 at the charity stripe as a team.
Despite the lopsided numbers on the scoreboard and the scoresheet, Corvallis head coach Jay Jessop had nothing but positive things to say about his ballclub after it dropped to 1-2.
“I think these girls are building and learning,” Jessop said. “It’s a great group of girls. I couldn’t ask for better. They work really hard, they’re fun, energetic and they have a great attitude. We’re much better off now than we were at this point a year ago.”
Coming off a hard-fought 39-29 victory on the road over Great Falls Russell on Tuesday, Sentinel head coach Karen Deden was pleased with how her team corrected some of the mistakes it made just two days prior.
“At CMR, it was a tough game and their 2-3 zone hurt us a little bit,” she said. “So we came home and really focused on the movement of our offense. Corvallis ran a 2-3 zone tonight and we had practiced against that a lot and worked on our cuts and our movement. I thought our kids did a great job tonight of seeing each other and executing our offense.”
Senior guard Elly Jones scored 10 points for Sentinel, while senior forward Liz Harper and junior wing Olivia Roberts tallied nine apiece.
The Spartans held a 33-21 advantage on the boards and limited their own turnovers to a total of seven.
It didn’t take long for Sentinel to establish the tone for the evening. The Spartans bolted to a 7-0 lead by using pressure defense to cause turnovers on Corvallis’ first three possession.
And though Corvallis senior forward Carlie Jessop scored six of her team-best eight points in the opening period in helping the Blue Devils pull within 7-6, Sentinel closed the first quarter on a 13-4 burst. By halftime the Spartans held a 41-10 advantage.
Though Deden believes the Spartans are still learning to play as a unit early in the season, she was more than pleased with the effort her team displayed on defense.
“Defensively I saw a whole lot of good things tonight,” Deden said. “They’re still getting used to playing together and they’re still trying to get used to each other. We had a bunch of different groups playing together tonight, so they’re all just trying to fit together. But you see moments where they show their potential and you start to think that if they can play like that, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
|CORVALLIS – Lakyn Connors 1 0-0 2, Bryce Davis 0 0-0 0, Courtney Albright 1 0-2 2, Jordan Miller 1 0-0 2, Carlie Jessop 3 2-3 8, Amanda Luhman 0 0-0 0, Jessica Moore 0 0-0 0, Chelsi Clark 0 0-0 0, Kayla Lewis 0 0-0 0, Breann Luedecke 0 0-0 0. Totals 6 2-5 14.|
|SENTINEL – Elly Jones 4 2-2 10, Liz Harper 3 3-5 9, Lexi Steele 3 0-0 8, Olivia Roberts 3 2-2 9, Maddie Keast 7 1-1 16, Amanda Bearmedicine 0 0-0 0, Brianna Olson 3 0-1 6, Nikki Schurg 0 0-0 0, Sam Harper 1 0-0 2, Darbi Anderson 3 0-0 6, Haley Rogers 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 8-11 68.|
|3-point goals – Corvallis 0, Sentinel 4 (Steele 2, Roberts, Keast). Total fouls – Corvallis 9, Sentinel 7. Fouled out – none. Rebounds – Corvallis 21 (Miller 6), Sentinel 33 (Keast 8). Turnovers – Corvallis 35, Sentinel 7.|