Lady Bulldogs earn win with physical play

By Zach Gregory Staff Writer

January 28, 2014

YELLOW SPRINGS — The Yellow Springs Lady Bulldogs overcame some poor first-half shooting with a strong defensive effort against Metro Buckeye Conference opponent Middletown Christian, Monday night at Yellow Spring High School, to earn a 43-28 win.

The Bulldogs (8-7, 5-3 MBC) opened with aggressive play on defense. Their 2-3 zone defense was doing a good job of closing on shooters and not allowing the Lady Eagles to penetrate to the basket. Yellow Springs was getting in passing lanes and creating turnovers. They unofficially caused 16 on the night, giving them many more possessions than Middletown Christian.

“Our game plan was to focus on their two scorers,” said Yellow Springs coach Jack Hatert. “We wanted to match up with them up top, and we wanted our three people on the bottom to just be reading their eyes and jumping passing lanes.”

The problem, at least in the first half, was that Yellow Spring wasn’t getting the ball in the basket. They shot a combined 6-of-26 from the court in the first half, and only led 14-8 at the break despite their aggressive defense.

Luckily for the Bulldogs, things started clicking in the second half and they started hitting their shots. Freshman Elizabeth Smith, who leads the conference in points with 15 points per game, had a game-high 16 points on the night. Junior Shanice Wright also had a good night, scoring all 10 of her points in the second half to go along with eight total rebounds and three blocks.

The Lady Eagles have the top rebounder in the MBC in Hope Ethridge, who is averaging 16.6 rebounds per game. She is on a mission trip and was not able to play in the game. Yellow Springs was able to take advantage of that with multiple second-chance opportunities from offensive rebounds.

“All season we’ve worked harder and harder to crash and get more rebounds, and we’ve got more aggressive with every game. I told the girls at the beginning of the game that, talent-wise, we would match up pretty well, but that we were going to out-hustle and outwork them and we did that tonight,” said Hatert. “Their defense picked up in the second half and when their defense picked up they were overplaying. So it opened up driving lanes and our girls did a real nice job of playing unselfish basketball.”

“The one thing I’ve told my girls from day one is that I didn’t care if we won or lost the game. But every time we walked out of the gym, I wanted the other teams’ fans to be impressed with how hard we play. And I feel like they’re doing that.”

Middletown Christian (10-7, 6-4 MBC according to the MBC website) also has the third-ranked scorer in the MBC in Mackenzie Tolson, who averages 14.4 points. The Bulldogs were able to hold her to just six points on the night by taking away her ability to drive to the hoop. Senior guard Mackenzie Walker had a team-high 10 points.

Yellow Springs is back in action when they play Miami Valley at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Miami Valley High School, in Kettering.