BLANCHAT, MULLEN, HAZELWOOD LED TEAM
By William for www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
LINDSBORG – It was a good day for the Smoky Valley Middle School girls’ basketball teams as all three took victories over the visiting team from Pratt-Liberty.
The Junior Lady Vikings ‘A’ team scored a decisive 44-21 win, while the ‘B’ team put up a 21-17 victory and the ‘C’ team won a low scoring nail biter, 14-12.
Overall, Head Coach Jason Drouillard seemed good with the day’s performance, saying, “We have done such a better job on the defensive end in all three levels. Coach Knopp and I are very proud that the girls have made it a focal point to improve on the defensive end in our pack-line defense. I remind the girls often that learning man-to-man defense now will better prepare them for high school basketball. Their future is certainly very bright.”
NEXT UP for the Junior Lady Vikings will be on Thursday, December 19, when they play host to Reno Valley.
A summary of all three games plus individual scoring:
JUNIOR LADY VIKINGS ‘A’ TEAM SCORES DECISIVE WIN
In the Junior Lady Vikings ‘A’ game, Pratt-Liberty gave them a punch in the mouth opening by going up 11-3 at the end of the first quarter.
While the defense held strong for most of the game, the offense finally got untracked and the Junior Lady Vikings put up 19 points in the third quarter to take charge of the game and gain the 23-point, 44-21 victory.
“The girls played well as a team and distributed the ball well,” explained Coach Drouillard. “They have done such a great job of buying into the defensive end and it has opened up our offense. Keira Mullen and Adrian Hazelwood led the team in scoring with 11 points each while Tinley Scott hit all three of her three-pointers in the third quarter to end up with nine total points in the game. Coach Knopp and I are very proud of how hard the girls played and their desire to be great.”
JUNIOR LADY VIKING ‘A’ TEAM SCORING (44 total points): Keira Mullen – 11; Adrian Hazelwood – 11; Tinley Scott – 9; Maliyah Koster – 5; Ava Broxterman – 5; Breanna Peters – 3.
‘B’ TEAM TAKES CLOSE SCORING VICTORY
In the ‘B’ game for the Junior Lady Vikings, the girls jumped out ahead early and took a 10-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter and parlayed that to a low scoring, 21-17, victory.
“Coach Knopp really stressed to the girls the importance of getting off to a good start,” noted Head Coach Drouillard regarding the ‘B’ team performance. “The defense was good for most of the game as well and they didn’t allow easy baskets. Katja Blanchat stepped up big in the fourth quarter to hit three-of-four from the free throw line and seal the victory on her way to finished with a team and day high 15 points which is also her season high.”
While only three other girls scored two points each, the coaches praised the defensive work of all the girls as to where they stepped up nicely throughout the entire game.
“They’ve done a much better job of taking away easy driving lanes and have bought into playing man-to-man defense,” concluded Head Coach Drouillard’s reflections on the ‘B’ team game. “Coach Knopp and I are very proud of how well they responded to the challenge we presented to them regarding getting off to a fast start.”
JUNIOR LADY VIKING ‘B’ TEAM SCORING (21 total points): Katja Blanchat – 15; Sophia Fruits – 2; Nevaeh Spitler – 2; Ciara Rawson – 2.
LOW SCORING WIN FOR JUNIOR LADY VIKING ‘C’ TEAM
Despite the low scoring, 14-12, win, the Junior Lady Vikings ‘C’ team used balanced offense to gain the victory as five players put point in the scorebook with Kelsee Adam leading the way with five.
“Once again, the focus was on a fast start,” said Head Coach Drouillard. “The girls focused on have good defense, which was huge as they didn’t allow a single point in the first quarter. The girls certainly played hard and made some big plays down the stretch to maintain the lead throughout the whole game. It was a great way to respond to Monday’s game and gain momentum going into a tough battle next week with Reno Valley.”
JUNIOR LADY VIKING ‘C’ TEAM SCORING (14 total points): Kelsee Adam – 5; Alyssa Holt – 4; Nevaeh Spitler – 2; Jaida Weis – 2; Anna Unrein – 1.
Coach Drouillard concluded his post-game reflections with a witty side note, adding, “I was welcomed this morning with another broomstick. This is in reference to a ‘sweep’ as all three teams won their games. This is the team’s second sweep of the season and I certainly enjoy carrying around a broom during the school day. It’s always rather enjoyable to watch a student’s confused look but a basketball girl’s big smile in knowing exactly what it’s for.”
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