Life begins at 30
SYCAMORE – Hitting 11 shots and scoring 30 points would be an average night for a lot of high school girls teams. It would be a standard half of basketball for most college teams and would be a really good quarter for any NBA team.
When a girls varsity team can put those numbers up in a quarter, it’s going be nearly impossible to beat.
When Mohawk coach Josh Fortney was told about his team’s 30-point second quarter performance against Seneca East, the total even surprised him.
“I don’t really worry about the scoreboard; I don’t really worry about who scores the points or anything like that,” he said. “As long as we play as a team and we communicate, that’s the main thing. We’re a team more than individuals. I just worry about the score at the end.”
The score at the end reflected what was established during the second quarter, a dominating performance for Mohawk in a 72-42 Midland Athletic League win.
“We started off fine, then I don’t know if they wore us down or our effort lagged. It was probably a combination of both,” Seneca East coach Dave Stallings said. “Every time we made a little run, we let them score. We weren’t ready to play, bottom line. Mohawk’s a good team, well coached. We just weren’t ready to play.”
The way the first quarter went, it looked like it would be a back-and-forth affair all night. The lead changed hands four times in the period, but a small run in the final minutes left Mohawk with a 15-10 lead.
Seneca East’s Brittany Brookes opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to get her team within two. But from that point on, it was all Mohawk.
Sisters Kasey and Julie Adelsperger scored the game’s next eight points, four by each, as the Warriors began to take control. Mohawk (12-3, 5-2) was excelling on all areas of the floor with the Adelspergers, along with Sarah Parker, dominating inside, while guards Sarah Runion and Lynsey Trusty were controlling things outside.
“Tonight I think we played great as a team,” Kasey Adelsperger said. “We were looking at every position. we were kicking the ball in, and when that wasn’t working, we passed it out. Have our guards shoot the ball and that ended up working out very well for us tonight.”
“Some games we don’t do that,” Fortney admitted. “I can think of a couple games this season where we didn’t shoot well from the outside and things didn’t go our way on the inside. But when we click and were hitting on all cylinders, we’re pretty fun to watch. We make some 3s, they got to step out and guard us, then we have some people inside that can make some plays.”
Adelsperger said her team picked up the defensive intensity and it created more offensive opportunities.
“I think we stepped up on our defense a little bit,” she said. “We were pressuring them more. And I think we were kicking the ball around, finding open spots.”
As the quarter went on, Mohawk kept its foot on the gas. Runion knocked down three trifectas in the period, including one in the closing seconds that sent the Warriors into the locker room with a 45-27 lead.
“We just got away from the things that worked,” Stallings said. “That’s when I called a timeout I asked the girls, ‘what are you doing?’ We got away from the things we did well. They put some pressure on us at half court and we just melted. Mentally I don’t think we were into it, and I’ll take the blame for that.”
Part of Seneca East’s (9-6, 3-3) problem was that Mohawk shut down Ashton Daniel, who was leading the MAL in scoring with 18 points a game.
Daniel was held to seven points and was forced to sit out an extended period of the second quarter with foul trouble.
“I think we did a pretty good job on Ashton,” Fortney said. “We did something special at the beginning. we kind of focused on her, matched up man to man. But as the game went on we became more aware of where she was at. Her getting in foul trouble, getting three fouls in the first half, her sitting on the bench, that definitely helped not having her in the game because she’s a scorer.”
While Daniel struggled, Brookes picked up the scoring slack for the Tigers. She led the team with 15 points, 13 coming in the first half.
“Brittany had a heck of a game,” Stallings said. “Brittany’s probably one of the more nervous girls you’ll meet in your life, but she came out and played great in the first half. Jess Enders also played well coming of the bench. She played with no fear, despite being one of the smallest girls on the floor.”
But they didn’t have enough weapons to keep up with Mohawk. Kasey Adelsperger finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, Runion had with 12 points, and Parker, who Fortney said played one of her best games, ended with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Facilitating the Mohawk offense was Lynsey Trusty and her eight points and 11 assists.
“She’s just an unselfish player,” Fortney said. “Sometimes she drives in there and her only choice is to pass it … she can get around her girl and either kick it out for a shot, or lob it in to either Kasey or Sarah. When they finish, that’s good. I’m just happy with the way she plays. She doesn’t worry about points or rebounds or anything like that. Her job is to take care of the ball.”