Early blitz pushes West Lafayette girls past McCutcheon
November 23, 2012West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School
After three games, two things stand out about the West Lafayette girls basketball team.
The Red Devils have more than one go-to scorer, and they like to share the basketball. Both themes were on display Tuesday night at the J&C Hoops Classic in McCutcheon’s Resler Gymnasium, where West Lafayette coasted to a 59-46 victory over the host Mavericks.
Kayla Jones sank a trio of 3-pointers during the 17-0 run in the first quarter that put the game away for the Red Devils (3-0). During that run, West Lafayette held McCutcheon without a basket for nearly six minutes while building a 17-6 advantage.
Seven players scored in the first half for the Red Devils (3-0), with the bench contributing 11 points to a 33-15 halftime lead. Anna Searle and Jones each finished with 14 points, and Shelby Mann added 11 for WL.
“That’s us,” West Lafayette coach Jane Schott said of her team’s balance. “We’ve had a different leading scorer the first two games, and we got another one tonight with Anna and Kayla. It was Shelby the first night, then it was Grace (Palmieri), and now Anna and Kayla. That’s why I like my team right now. We have a lot of weapons, and they share the ball very well.
“There’s not an ounce of jealousy out there on the floor. They just want to win.”
Jones, whose total included four 3-pointers, said the Red Devils’ patience against McCutcheon’s 2-3 zone eventually opened things up inside for Searle, who had 10 points in the second half.
“We just try to work the ball and make sure we get open shots,” Jones said. “The good thing about our team is we have a lot of different weapons. If someone is shooting well outside, then we have our inside doing well.”
The loss was another teaching moment for McCutcheon coach Jeff Knoy, who saw his team commit 17 turnovers while getting only 18 shots in the first half. Knoy spent three of his timeouts in the first half to not only keep the Mavericks in the game, but to give his inexperienced players a basketball lesson.
“West Lafayette played way harder than we did in the first half,” Knoy said. “I think our kids were shellshocked ... ‘Whoa, they play this hard?’ That’s what we’ve got to become eventually.”
“They got us going too fast and we had 17 turnovers at halftime. We haven’t had 17 turnovers in three years, I don’t think. We were better the second half. That’s what I told the kids at halftime. We’ve just got to win the first four minutes, which we did. Then we’ve got to win the third quarter, which we did. We’re getting there.”
McCutcheon began to show some of its potential in the second half, first by cutting down its turnovers (nine) and getting good shots from sophomores Kerstyn Lowery and Gabrielle Gary. Lowery finished with a game-high 22 points, shooting 7 of 10 in the second half. Gary came off the bench to score all eight of her points in the second half, helping the Mavericks close within 10 points on four occasions.
McCutcheon hosts Central Catholic on Thursday night in a losers bracket game, while West Lafayette advances to play tournament favorite Benton Central in Friday’s second winners bracket contest.