Mohawk gets back to work beating St. Joe

FREMONT – Mohawk had a few things to work on coming off Saturday’s loss to Arlington, but there just wasn’t the time to practice.

It’s tough to have practice when it’s illegal to go outside.

Mohawk had a total of one hour of gym time between Saturday’s loss and Thursday’s trip to Fremont to take on St. Joe. The results, according to coach Mike Beck: “Wasn’t quite as ugly as I thought it would be, actually.”

The Warriors shook off any rust that may have built up as a strong defensive effort and a balanced offense keyed them to a 62-39 win over the Crimson Streaks.

“For us it was really good to get back in the gym,” Beck said. “We had Sunday, Monday, Tuesday completely off. Then yesterday … our kids did get to go in and shoot for about an our. Other than it, it felt great to get back in the gym.”

“It feels a lot better after that loss on Saturday, but those four days off, we thought we’d come in a little bit uglier than that,” Kasey Adelsperger added. “But I guess we had so much energy built up we can just go with it.”

While the roads may have been a little clearer Thursday, the lanes in Fremont were full. Mohawk’s defense seemingly had a hand in the passing lanes at all times, leading to 33 St. Joe turnovers, 19 of which were Warrior steals. Clara Adelsperger led Mohawk with six swipes and Taylor McClain added four.

“We made some changes defensively during the game. I think that helped us,” Beck said. “Our trapping defense tonight seemed to work. We’ve been trying to get better at getting in the passing lanes. We work on that a lot in practice no matter what defense we’re in.”

Adelsperger, who tallied a game-high 17 points, said the key was the way her team communicated with each other.

“We were talking really well tonight, telling each other where the cutters were and just helping each other out,” she said. “We did really well on help defense, I feel, and our backside rebounding didn’t hurt us either.”

However, Mohawk had trouble getting much separation from St. Joe early on. The Streaks’ Ashley Burns scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half as the teams went into the break with a 27-18 Mohawk lead.

St. Joe scored the first six coming out of the locker room to get within three. But from there, Mohawk went on a 19-1 run that turned out to be decisive.

“We realized that we needed to kick it in gear after halftime,” Mohawk’s Megan Cleveland said. “So we basically just did, and it seemed to work mainly through transition. Getting up and down the floor and pushing ourselves really hard.”

Cleveland came off the bench to score 13 points while pulling down seven rebounds.

According to Beck, it was easy to see how the run started.

“I think the defense started it,” he said. “We were in the trapping defense, basically backed it up, was just playing quarter-court, but the girls kept wanting to extend. (Julie) Adelsperger on top, she’ll really get after it. She’s almost like a one-person press at times with her enthusiasm.

“We were trying to back it up a little bit, she kept wanting to come out. That worked out well for us … we had some transition baskets real early in the quarter that I think helped spark our offense.”

Mohawk thrived in the transition game as many of the St. Joe turnovers turned into points on the other end of the floor. As a team, Mohawk dished out 14 assists, led by McClain and Julie Adelsperger each with four.

“We did a really good job of communicating today,” Cleveland said. “We did very well in transition and we seemed to really connect today.”

“Everyone was really chipping in tonight,” Adelsperger added. “We were really pushing the ball up the court, so that got us many options out of that, and transition worked really well for us. We really didn’t have to set too many plays with the transition.”

Julie Adelsperger was the third Warrior scoring in double figures with 15 points. She also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

St. Joe played without two injured starters. Coach Dennis Martin used a lineup consisting of three freshmen and two sophomores in its top eight. Despite the loss, he said he was pleased with the progress his young team is making.

“Our kids are finally just letting it go and not dwelling on the negatives and just playing,” he said. “And that’s all we can do at this point because we’re so young. They’re starting to have fun. …

“It is what it is at this point. I just told them down there, ‘I’m not displeased at all.’ This is what we have, but they play hard for 32 minutes. That’s all you can ask.”

Mohawk improves to 7-6, 3-2 in the Midland Athletic League. St. Joe falls to 3-7, 1-3.