Defense making up for shooting woesWashington has a lot of depth and balanced scoring to complement stingy defense
Sharing the wealth hasn’t been an issue for the Washington girls’ basketball team in its season-opening win over Eddyville-Blakesburg or the 47-25 scrimmage win over WACO, Saturday.
The were 11 players who dressed and nine got on the scoring column.
“That is pretty balanced scoring,” said head coach Phil Long. “We just haven’t shot the ball very well. I don’t know how much we would be scoring if we shot the ball better. We have won by playing solid defense and that is what has carried us these past two games.”
Washington hasn’t shot well from the floor; and while it has made a habit of getting to the charity stripe, it hasn’t been able to capitalize, shooting close to 50 percent.
Against WACO it shot free throws 15-for-33.
“Once again, not very good,” Long said. “Our shooting percentage had to be in the upper 20 —two games in a row that we weren’t able to shoot it very well from the free throw line or floor, but still won by 20.”
Success from the line in practice hasn’t translated to games.
“We are making the back end but not the front,” Long said. “We aren’t getting it done. The good news is we are getting a lot of opportunities.”
Senior guard Dema Giardino had a team-high 11 points.
Senior Grace Redlinger had 9 points and junior Sydney Hoffman netted 9 points.
Junior Rachael Hall had 6 points.
Sophomore Amber Salow had a team-high seven boards. Hoffman was second on the team with six rebounds.
Junior Elle VanGundy had six rebounds.
Redlinger led the team with four steals. Senior Stephanie Fishback and Hall each had two steals.
Washington led by just one point after a quarter but quickly built up a lead in the second quarter. Three minutes after the start of the second it was 19-10 during a 10-2 run.
From there the lead was stretched to 15 at the break.
By the third quarter the game was well out of reach.
“We scored 14 quick points in the first four minutes of the third period to get them down 22,” Long said. “From there we stopped pressing and we are not a very good half-court team. We like to turn the tempo up.”
Long had his players back off from pressing once the lead swelled to more than 20 points.
“There is no rule on that —we just have a gentlemen’s agreement,” Long said. “It is a Hall of Fame game. It doesn’t count on our record. I have a lot of respect for coach (Shannon) Rugg and that program. We weren’t trying to embarrass anybody.”
After the box-and-1 defense didn’t work in the opener, it effectively shut down 5-foot-11 junior Aaliyah Brown, who on paper was a matchup problem.
The tallest player who sees the floor for Washington is Hoffman at 5-foot-8.
“We were pretty effective; we only gave her four points with the rest coming from the free throw line,” Long said. “The kids did a good job between Hoffman, Addisen Shive and VanGundy.”
The box-and-1 defense is set up with four players playing zone and another playing man-to-man.
The defense is creating a lot of scoring opportunities, but taking care of the ball was an issue with 21 turnovers against WACO.
“Defensively we are pretty solid,” Long said. “We only gave up 25 points to a quality WACO team. We are turning the ball over too much.”
After Eddyville was held to 45 points after four quarters and an overtime, in the season opener against Washington, Eddyville exploded for 77 points against Pleasantville, Tuesday.
Washington has a full slate of games this week. The Demons host Mid-Prairie at 6 p.m. Tuesday, play away against No. 6 Williamsburg at 8 p.m., and play at Solon at 5 p.m. Saturday.