Wolves stymie Highland in second half
WINFIELD — Winfield-Mt. Union held Highland to just two points in the second half of Monday’s Southeast Iowa Super Conference North Division contest on its way to a 44-18 victory.
“Our focus in the last two games has been defense,” Winfield-Mt. Union head coach Mitch Wachs said.
On the night, the Wolves forced 34 turnovers in 32 minutes of play, leading to a lot of high-percentage shots. Yet their shooting percentage wasn’t quite as high as they’d have liked it to be.
“We missed a ton of easy shots,” Wachs said. “The good news is, we got a ton of easy shots. We made a lot of good passes in transition.”
Winfield-Mt. Union junior Shelby Therme, who scored a game-high 13 points, credits those good passes — and the points that came with them — to the Wolves’ rebounding.
“When the defense steps it up, it helps the offense get going,” she said. “We were focused on boxing out, and it really helps us in transition.”
Winfield-Mt. Union finished with 25 rebounds on the night, a slight advantage over the Huskies, who had 22. Highland took nearly as many shots as the Wolves, as well — but made only six of them.
“We were really struggling with the mental aspect of the game,” Highland head coach Jody Fink said.
Though the Wolves took a lead early, the Huskies stayed competitive in the first half and trailed 27-16 at halftime.
In the second half, however, they couldn’t put anything together, scoring only one basket — a jumper by junior Jordan Rath in the fourth quarter.
Highland slowed down the Wolves in the last two quarters as well, as Winfield-Mt. Union posted only eight points in the third quarter and nine points in the final eight minutes of the game.
“They were making us uncomfortable in the second half, too,” Wachs said of the Huskies’ defensive efforts.
But the Highland offense just wasn’t there to back it up.
Sophomore Sam Dutton scored five points to lead the Huskies (4-3, 3-3 SEISC North).
Winfield-Mt. Union senior Cassie Kingery joined Therme in double-figure scoring, putting up 12 points. The pair also led the Wolves (5-3, 5-2 SEISC North) in rebounding with five boards apiece. Kingery also dished out five assists.
Highland hosts Wapello tonight, and Fink is looking for a little spirit from the Huskies when they return home.
“I just want to see some intensity, some desire, some heart,” he said.