By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
LINDSBORG = Outside of a second quarter funk, the Smoky Valley girls held command for most of their game at home on Tuesday and took down Halstead by 20, 51-31.
The Lady Vikings came out hot and took an early nine-point, 15-6, lead by the end of the first quarter before Halstead seemed to right their offensive ship for eight minutes as the Lady Dragons chiseled the lead down to just two points at 24-22 heading into the halftime break.
Smoky Valley came out hot again in the final two quarters, outscoring the visitors 27-10 to gain the final 20-point victory.
“The girls did a great job adjusting to some early adversity as it almost appeared to be a different Halstead team compared to the team we played before the Christmas break,” explained Lady Viking head coach Jason Drouillard. “They deserve a lot of credit for how hard they played and gave us a good run. When we went into the half the key was to get back to focusing on the defensive end and slowing things down offensively. We were a bit too sped up and never settled in. We switched some things up defensively.”
Coach Drouillard gave much credit for the second half changes to Coach Lindshield for making some key observations about how they needed to adjust after which the Lady Vikings came out totally different and focused in the second half.
Neither team had a great game shooting as Smoky Valley only hit on 31% of their shots while Halstead connected on a meager 24%. The Lady Vikings had a huge advantage at the free throw line where they stepped up 16 times and made 12 while the Lady Dragons only made six trips to the stripe and only made one.
While Keira Mullen led the Lady Vikings in scoring with 13 points, it was the yeoman work of both Adrian Hazelwood and Breanna Priddy that pushed the team to the commanding win as they both recorded double doubles as Hazelwood had 12 points and 10 rebounds while Priddy reached double digits scoring with 10 while leading the team on the boards with 13 rebounds grabbed. Hazelwood used many of those rebounds to gain second chance opportunities as she dished out a team leading seven assists.
Coach Drouillard concluded his post-game reflections by adding, “Breanna (Priddy) was once again a matchup nightmare for the opposing team as she put in some really big-time buckets and was a glass eater all night. Keira (Mullen) and Abby (Rose) switched duties on a very skilled offensive player and did a marvelous job. Give Keira a lot of credit because she played a high number of minutes while having to be extremely intense on the defense end but also by leading us in points. I liked the production we got across the board. This team is certainly at its best when we are playing together as a team and a tough team to beat. It’s the best start for the program in well over a decade, which the girls should be proud of, but we know as a team we have far more work ahead of us.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR the LADY VIKINGS?
With the win the Lady Vikings are now 6-1 on the season and ranked #9 in Class 3A as they prep for a road trip on Friday to Hesston.
Halstead at SMOKY VALLEY LADY VIKINGS
SCORING: 1 2 3 4 FINAL
Halstead 6 16 6 3 31
LADY VIKINGS 15 9 15 12 51
Halstead = FG 13/55 (24%); 3-PTRS 4/25 (16%); FT 1/6 (17%); ASST 7; REBS 30; TO 17; STLS 5; BLKS 0; PF 20.
LADY VIKINGS = FG 18/58 (31%); 3-PTRS 3/19 (16%); FT 12/16 (75%); ASST 11; REBS 53; TO 18; STLS 11; BLKS 0; PF 7.
SMOKY VALLEY LADY VIKINGS INDIVIDUAL SCORING & STAT LEADERS:
Scoring (51 Total Points): Keira Mullen – 13; Adrian Hazelwood – 12; Breanna Priddy – 10; Abby Rose – 9; Gracie Lambert – 5; Katja Blanchat – 2.
Three-Pointers Made (3): Gracie Lambert, Keira Mullen, Abby Rose – 1.
Rebound Leaders: Breanna Priddy – 13; Adrian Hazelwood – 10; Gracie Lambert – 7; Abby Rose – 6; Keira Mullen – 5; Katja Blanchat – 4.
Assist Leader: Adrian Hazelwood – 7.
Leader in Steals: Breanna Priddy, Gracie Lambert, Keira Mullen – 3.
Leader in Blocked Shots: None