Wonderful Wentlings lead Carey past?Seneca East

ATTICA – Good things come in threes and that proved true in a couple different ways for Carey’s girls Thursday night.

Freshman Sydney Wentling knocked down 23 points, including four baskets from 3-point range for the Blue Devils. Meanwhile, Makenzie and Gwen Wentling were doubling down at the defensive end of the floor.

The Wentling combination was a winner as Carey downed Seneca East 57-41 in a Midland Athletic League showdown.

It took Sydney Wentling just eight seconds to get her scoring act in gear as she knocked down a 3-pointer off the opening tap. Carey had the lead for good at that point, but an equally big reason could be found in what the other Wentlings were doing.

Either Makenzie or Gwen drew Seneca East’s Ashton Daniel as a defensive assignment in the Blue Devil man-to-man coverage.

Daniel, the league’s top scorer and the school’s fourth leading scorer all time, finished with 16 points, one short of her average. But she went scoreless in the first half, the portion of the game when Carey laid the foundation for its 11th win against just one loss. The Blue Devils are 5-1 in the Midland Athletic League, one game behind league leader Calvert.

“Absolutely, that was the game-plan,” Carey coach Phil Vaughn said of the defensive effort. “You look at the league stats and she’s leading the league and scoring almost 18 points a game. We went Tuesday and watched her score 25 or 27.

“She’s not a one-person team, but I think it was a key part of stopping them,” he said. “The rest of the team did a good job. When you don’t help off somebody, it puts pressure on their other players.”

The pressure took hold as Seneca East managed just four points in the first period. At the same time, Sydney Wentling was off and running. She hit another 3-pointer and had 12 first-quarter points as the Blue Devils opened leads of 11-2 and 19-4.

“We knew that was Phil’s plan all along,” Seneca East coach Dave Stallings said after his club fell to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the league. “We knew he was at the Edison game and that they’d come out and try to stop (Daniel). I don’t blame him.

“We’ve just got to start better,” he said. “All four of our losses this year, we just didn’t start those games well at all. You have a 10-1 team and an 8-3 team, it should be a good game. And it was a nice back-and-forth game. We just spotted them too much in the first quarter.”

Daniel got on the board 18 seconds into the third period, but by that time, the Tigers were trailing 27-17. Brittany Brookes hit a 3-pointer to pull SE to within eight at 31-23 midway through the quarter and it was 34-26 at the 2:39 mark after a basket by Seina Adachi.

But Carey’s Hannah Tong hit a couple inside baskets to push the margin back to 38-26 at the quarter break and the Blue Devils expanded from there.

Hannah Draper scored 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, to back Sydney Wentling. Tong added eight points and 13 rebounds to the winners to a 38-22 advantage on the boards.

“We had a little bit of a height advantage, but rebounding comes down to effort, too,” Vaughn said. “I would hope we’d be able to get an edge in rebounding most nights.”

Daniel’s 16 leaves here 11 points short of joining Annette Kessler, Erica Cramer and Kelly Elmlinger as 1,000-point scorers in Seneca East girls basketball.

“I think she might have been a little nervous early, but she’ll get there,” Stallings said. “I can’t fault the girls’ effort. I’m not disappointed. They played hard.”

Hannah Hahler had eight points and nine rebounds for the Tigers. Brookes and Adachi each scored seven.