ROSSVILLE – Rossville’s switch from a zone to man-to-man defense to begin the fourth quarter provided an opening for Clinton Prairie.
Prairie’s 6-foot freshman and leading scorer, Madison Douglass, made two quick buckets en route to scoring 10 of her game-high 23 points in the final period, leading the Gophers past the Hornets, 41-26, in their Class A Sectional 54 opener Tuesday in Rossville.
“We kind of knew going into the game they were probably going to go to man late,” Douglass said. “It was a pump-up type of thing, so we were happy. It was a great advantage knowing that the height factor was better.”
Douglass and senior Jasmine Hanna combined to score all of Prairie’s (12-9) points in the fourth quarter. Leading 26-20, Douglass scored two baskets sandwiching and Michaela Miller bucket to lead 30-22. Rossville’s Emily Virtue-Gamblin responded with a bucket to make it 30-24 but Hanna delivered the big blow with a 3-pointer to make it 33-24.
“When you try to take something away, you’ve got to give something up,” said Rossville head coach Jeff Henley. “They hurt us a little bit inside when we were in a zone. They did an excellent job finding Douglass, and she did a good job catching the ball and squaring up before she shot it.”
Hanna’s triple ignited an 11-0 Gopher run to lead 41-24 late in the contest.
Hanna finished with nine points.
Rossville (3-18) and Prairie played an extremely close game in the regular season, with Hornet seniors Hannah Alling and Emily Virtue-Gamblin combining to hit nine 3-pointers. It took a Hanna bucket with 12 seconds left to lift the Gophers to a 44-43 win.
But the Hornets couldn’t generate that kind of success Tuesday, only making 3 of 14 3-pointers – all coming in the first half.
Prairie came out in a man-to-man defense, the opposite of the zone it relied on the first time around, and heavily contested most Rossville 3-point attempts.
Henley said they expected the Gophers to play man-to-man.
“We worked all week on man-to-man but we had trouble penetrating, getting the ball to the basket and Prairie did a real nice job with their defense. They were very patient on defense,” he said.
The Gophers, in defending the Hornets’ 3-point shooters, decided to call a switch on every screen, which led to CP defenders not allowing much space to get off 3-point shots.
“The girls were well aware of what happened last time, it’s hard to forget that,” said Prairie head coach Jason Haid said. “The focus since the minute we saw the draw was we’ve got to stop (Alling) and (Virtue-Gamblin). Jasmine and Stephanie (Schrock) did an outstanding job on those two early on. The girls executed the defensive game plan the way we needed to.”
Rossville finished the game 9 of 31 from the field and turned the ball over 14 times.
Only three other Gophers scored. Abby Clark had four points, Schrock three points and Katherine Wines two points. Schrock had a solid all-around game, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Senior Kelsey Dunham dished out five assists.
Miller led Rossville with eight points while Alling and Brittyn Oliver scored six points apiece. Virtue-Gamblin tallied four points and seven rebounds.
The two teams were tied 13-13 for a three-minute stretch late in the second half, with Wines breaking the tie on a pair of free throws with 30 seconds to go. It was part of a 9-0 Gophers’ run that extended into the second half, in which they would never relinquish the lead.
“We were able to pick up ball pressure up full court instead of letting them get to half court, and we stopped their ball screens,” Douglass said.
Prairie only turned the ball over seven times overall, and only twice in the second half.
Prairie plays Faith Christian (10-10) in the semifinals on Friday. The Gophers beat the Eagles in overtime in the second game of the season.
In the other quarterfinal contest, third-ranked and undefeated Frontier lost to Lafayette Central Catholic, 48-44.
Clinton Prairie 41, Rossville 26
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Clinton Prairie 5 10 11 15 - 41
Rossville 7 6 7 6 - 26
Clinton Prairie (12-9) 41
Schrock 1-3 0-1 3, Hanna 4-8 0-2 9, Clark 2-6 0-0 4, Dunham 0-3 0-1 0, Douglass 10-15 3-7 23, Schoonveld 0-1 0-0 0, Pearson 0-1 0-0 0, Wines 0-0 2-2 2, Weflen 0-1 0-0 0, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Sabens 0-0 0-0 0, Humrickhouse 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-38 5-13 41.
Rossville (3-18) 26
Alling 2-8 0-0 6, Virtue-Gamblin 1-8 2-2 4, Memmer 0-2 0-0 0, Miller 2-5 3-4 8, Fife 0-0 0-0 0, Longenecker 1-2 0-0 2, Oliver 3-5 0-0 6, Hrdlicka 0-1 0-0 0, Wainscott 0-0 0-0 0, Hughes 0-0 0-0 0, Hopkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 9-31 5-6 26.
3-point field foals: CP 2-9 (Schrock 1-3, Hanna 1-4, Dunham 0-1, Weflen 0-1), RV 3-14 (Alling 2-6, Miller 1-2, Virtue-Gamblin 0-4, Oliver 0-2). Rebounds: CP 25 (Schrock, Clark, Douglass 4), RV 25 (Virtue-Gamblin 7). Assists: CP 13 (Dunham 5, Schrock 4), RV 3 (3 with 1). Steals: CP 6 (Schrock 3), RV 5 (Miller 3). Blocks: CP 3 (3 with 1), RV 1 (Oliver 1). Turnovers: CP 7, RV 14. Total fouls: CP 10, RV 15. Fouled out: None.
Clinton Prairie freshman Madison Douglass (44) goes up for the lay-up as Rossville’s Megan Longenecker (left) and Danielle Memmer (right) defend her in Tuesday’s Class A Sectional 54 contest.
Rossville freshman Brittyn Oliver blocks the shot of Prairie’s Abby Clark in the first half of Tuesday’s Class A Sectional 54 contest.