Clinton Prairie downs Rossville: Strong first quarter propels Gophers to rivalry victory
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:00 am
BY JIMMY GILLISPIE firstname.lastname@example.org
JEFFERSON – Clinton Prairie’s gymnasium had all of the makings of a conference rivalry and county rivalry boxed into one package Tuesday night.
There were a high number of fouls, physical play on both ends of the court for 32 minutes, hard-working players giving 100 percent effort and emotional fans. However, the game itself wasn’t close after the opening quarter.
Clinton Prairie’s girls’ basketball team jumped all over Rossville during the first quarter and never looked back. CP improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play with its 57-24 win over its Hoosier Heartland Conference and Clinton County foe.
“Our girls have a goal every year of striving to be the best team in the conference,” CP head coach Jason Haid said. “Obviously, they want to be the best in the county, too. This was a good start.”
Rossville dropped to 1-4 with the loss. It was the second-straight defeat after winning its first game last week the Indiana Kitchen Classic.
“Once again, I thought our defense and our intensity was great,” Rossville head coach Michael Gick said. “(Clinton Prairie) did a nice job on the board and on their press. Once I got our girls to settle down and attack the press the way we wanted to, we didn’t have a whole lot of trouble with it late in the second half. Unfortunately we gave up 21 points in the first quarter trying to slow things down in their mind to attack the press.”
Players from both squads were knocked to the ground or undercut and no whistles were blown. Both coaches and fans were upset at the officials, but the coaches know that’s out of their jurisdiction and they must move on from the game.
“It was a very physical game,” Gick said. “I’m OK with a good, hard basketball game, but I thought there was a lot of pushing and shoving. It was a physical game. We’ll practice tomorrow and then we’ll take a couple days off over break. We’ll get back after it Saturday. We have a couple of girls who are a little beat up after tonight, so they could use a couple of days off. I love their heart and love coaching them, because if a team is going to play that hard for you, it’s fun.”
The physical play started early in the rivalry game. However, the Gophers’ hot-shooting began at the same time. Sophomore Madison Douglass gave the Gophers a 4-0 lead during the first minute. They never looked back as they maintained a lead for the remainder of the contest.
Rossville scored three buckets, two of which came from senior Megan Longenecker, during the first quarter. Prairie answered the first two with a 4-0 spurt, led by Douglass, who scored eight of the team’s first 12 points.
Prairie led 12-6 midway through the quarter before it went on an 18-0 run that extended into the second quarter. Sophomores Kayla Pearson and Kayleigh Pletch helped that run in the first quarter with five and four points, respectively. Senior Abby Clark converted a three-point play before Douglass made two more baskets in the paint to finish the 18-0 run.
“We hit our shots early,” Haid said. “A lot of that was due to our aggressiveness penetrating and pitching off to shooters, who were ready and waiting. We had good ball movement and we were able to get the ball inside. When you’re shooting from five feet away, your percentages are going to go up.”
Rossville junior Breanna Wainscott ended the 7:26 scoreless streak with a three-pointer. Both teams traded buckets before halftime as CP took a 33-11 lead into the break.
Both squads played evenly during the third quarter. The Gophers built the lead to 26 points soon after the Rossville bench was called for a technical foul. Back-to-back buckets by Rossville freshman Keely Criswell cut the lead briefly.
CP took a 45-20 lead into the fourth quarter. CP maintained a similar margin for the first four minutes of the quarter, but Rossville failed to score during the final 4:01. Meanwhile, the Gophers’ senior Katherine Wines scored six points off the bench. Wines grabbed offensive rebounds before scoring the final two baskets.
“It’s been a work in progress, but I think we got our transition game picked up a bit,” Haid said. “The girls are starting to get a little more comfortable with each other on what they can or can’t do in transition. We turned up the speed of the game. We turned it up a notch and really got after it on both ends of the floor. I was very pleased with our effort, especially early in the game.
“We really worked hard in practice on closing off driving lanes, pressuring the ball and rotating on dribble drive,” he added of his team’s defense. “It’s slowly starting to get there. There are still some things we need to work on, but I thought for the most part, we played well defensively. We switched some things up and changed defenses. I was pleased with how our girls handled that.”
Douglass led all players with 21 points Tuesday night. She also had 12 rebounds and five blocked shots
“She’s really flipped the switch and it’s really started at practice,” Haid said of Douglass. “This past week, she has been coming at people. She knows that you either let the defense dictate how you’re going to play or you dictate how you want to play. She’s been the dictator as of late and it’s nice to see. She’s going to see double and triple teams. As strong as she is, she is still going to be able to do good things for us, even if she is being double teamed.”
Also scoring for the Gophers were Clark, Wines and Pletch, who added 10, eight and six points, respectively. Pearson scored five while junior Mattyson Robison and senior Ivve Weflen added four and three points, respectively.
Leading the way for Rossville was Criswell, who scored eight points. Wainscott added six and Longenecker scored five for the Hornets. As a team, the Hornets committed 32 turnovers in the loss.
Both teams are off until next week. CP hosts Carroll on Tuesday and Rossville hosts West Lafayette on Wednesday.