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Almendinger pushes Bears back

December 17, 2012
Danbury High School

Almendinger pushes Bears back

Danbury tops Gibsonburg in girls basketball conference showdown

8:22 AM, Dec 14, 2012   


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GIBSONBURG — Katie Almendinger insisted that Danbury have a little breathing room throughout Thursday’s 43-36 victory over Gibsonburg in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference.

Almendinger connected on consecutive soft short jumpers before banking in a three-pointer for a 36-23 margin late in the third quarter.

“I’m getting more comfortable shooting outside the key. It’s getting better. My role is to play strong aggressive defense. I love defense and the little things. I like to be aggressive and scrappy and into the game.”

Almendinger sank another midrange jumper off an assist from Erin Lavelle and added a steal before crashing into the scorer’s table saving the ball. The effort led to two free throws from Megan Stephens during a 10-0 run for a 22-11 advantage in the second quarter.

“She’s aggressive on offense and defense and when she’s open she looks to score,” Lakers coach Joe Fetzer said of Almendinger. “We want her to slow down sometimes. (Her points) came in rapid fire and she was feeling it. (The third-quarter sequence) was key.”

Almendinger, who had three steals, finished with a team-high 13 points.

“Our defense got better and our rebounds were up,” she said. “We’ve been working hard at practice nonstop.”

Danbury (2-3, 2-0) outrebounded the Golden Bears (3-3, 1-1) 39-20 and Gibsonburg scored no more than 10 points in a quarter.

“A league win on the road is important,” Fetzer said. “To win here was huge for the strides we’re trying to take. That will be the story for us all season to be successful -- defense and rebounding. We did a better job (Thursday).

“The defense was better in the first half but when Alyssa (Almendinger) got hurt we went more zone. The offense will take some time. It’s new to the kids.”

Stephens had 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals while Tori Wright added 11 rebounds for the Lakers. Both were very active anticipating in passing lanes, chasing rebounds on both ends and playing with energy.

Stephens scored off an assist from Wright for a 41-28 lead in the fourth quarter. Stephens put her hand up as though it was a roadblock for a steal, Wright followed with an offensive rebound and steal of her own, and Lavelle then scored for a 24-17 lead early in the third quarter.

Lilly Kennedy then drew a charge and hit a jumper to cap a hectic spurt.

“They are both very athletic posts who have good instincts,” Fetzer said of Stephens and Wright. “All our posts did a good job rebounding (Thursday) and not giving up second-chance points. We’ve preached the importance of one shot and they anticipated how the ball would come off the rim.

“I’m proud of their effort and growth and they have a ways to go to reach their ceiling. They work hard to improve.”

Lavelle scored six points in transition and added a late three.

“Erin’s three was the basket that gave us the lead (39-28) to hold onto,” Fetzer said. “That was a huge basket.

“She’s made great strides. Post, point guard, wing ... she plays every position and really has to think on the court.

“She’s developed that understanding what to do depending on her role — she’s the only one that plays all three positions.

“If she can up her concentration level, she’s the type of kid that can score 25.

“She’s unbelievable at times.

“She’s big, she’s long, she’ll shoot, she’ll drive ... she’s a threat and if we get her in space in transition she’ll do good things getting to the rim.”

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TAAC Conference • Tagged
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