Girard’s experience pays off against LaBrae in 46-39 win
LEAVITTSBURG — In a battle between youth and experience Monday night, experience won out.
Led by three seniors and six juniors, the Girard girls basketball team utilized its experience to ease past a young LaBrae team 46-39.
“Last year, we played a lot of young kids and we were .500,” said Girard head coach Andrew Saxon. “Basically the majority of our kids are back and when you have kids coming back from the previous year, they have experience and they can do things that you don’t even have to practice, but they know how to do since they know how to play.”
For LaBrae, the loss provides head coach Mandy Rowe and her staff with things to work on and practice with her squad, specifically defensive rotations she said, which hurt her team against the Indians when Girard extended its lead to double digits in the third quarter.
“It’s early in the season,” Rowe said. “We told them we’ll get better. They really hurt us on their back cuts and we got lost in the rotation. We’ll work on that tomorrow and just use this as a learning tool.”
Girard’s 2-2-1 extended full-court trapping zone wreaked havoc for LaBrae’s offense all evening, causing turnovers and forcing errant passes and loose balls.
Saxon said the pressure was intended to get the ball out of Vikings junior Laura McCoy’s hands. McCoy still managed to finish with 19 points to lead LaBrae in scoring.
“We wanted to set the tempo of the game,” Saxon said. “We always made sure we had a person on (McCoy). We basically played nine girls, so we like to try to tire other teams out a little bit and force them to play baseline to baseline.”
Even when the Vikings did break the pressure, they struggled to finish in the paint. Outside of McCoy’s 19, the rest of the team combined to score just 20 points. Junior Jahnya Dorsey finished with nine points, while Kearston Brewer, Labrae’s lone senior, added seven.
“At the beginning of the game, we were very patient with the ball,” Rowe said. “We would break the press, but we had a couple turnovers here and there that they got easy baskets off of and that kind of got us into a little bit of a hole. Then we went into a bit of a scoring drought.”
However, even after Girard had built up a double-digit lead by the end of the third quarter, LaBrae managed to hang around and close the deficit.
Despite Girard junior Sieasia Triplett matching McCoy with 19 points, the Indians struggled to find points in the fourth quarter. With LaBrae’s increased urgency offensively, they slowly chipped away at the Indians’ lead.
Girard’s lead was cut to six with 1:25 left, but senior Seyhan Dede finished at the rim and drew a foul. The basket and ensuing free throw ended LaBrae’s hopes of completing the comeback. Dede finished with 10 points for Girard, while sophomore Mia Milito tallied 11 for the Indians.
“We need to clean up our defensive pressure,” Rowe said. “We need to play with more urgency defensively and that’s what we talked about in the locker room. We did get a couple baskets late in the game, but it just wasn’t enough.”