Macie Fleming drives past a defender for a layup in a 44-26 win against St. Theresa at home.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion girls basketball team split their week’s games last week with a win against St. Theresa and a loss against Tolono Unity.
Against St. Theresa, the Braves started in control offensively and defensively. Denver Anderson set the tone offensively, grabbing two offensive rebounds in the opening minutes before getting fouled and nailing two free-throws to take the lead for the Braves. A few possessions later, Anderson grabbed two more offensive rebounds and then made the layup to make the score 4-0.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard when Joella Livingston found Grace Lees for a layup to make the score 4-2.
Anderson then turned into playmaker dishing off two assists to Kalliana Becker who finished her layups to make the score 8-2. The Braves defense started their control when Bracie Barnes blocked a shot and then Abby Scharf blocked one a possession later that set up a scoring play.
Scharf then found Anderson for a driving layup with the foul. Anderson made her free-throw and then seconds later got a block of her own and made the driving layup to finish with 11 first quarter points and made the score 15-6.
The Braves finished the second quarter up 21-11.
“Outside of the second quarter, I think we scored double digits in every other quarter,” Head coach Steve Marvel said. “Which is a goal that we have. And even though we only scored six points in the second quarter, we still won that quarter, which was a plus for us. We’ve to focus on finishing inside better. We were in the second quarter, I believe we were one of 10 in the pain. We can’t let that many points stay off the board for us against any team and they’re a solid team, they’ve competed against some good teams and beat some good teams. It was nice for us to come out and we established ourselves. I think pretty well in the first quarter, we met our goal. I told him our goal was, you know, asked to be up 15 -6 and that’s exactly what it was.”
The Bulldogs picked up some momentum to start the third quarter scoring five straight points behind a Lees’ layup and a Livingston three-point play that made the score 21-16.
The Braves and Bulldogs traded baskets and then Barnes found Anderson for a driving layup to make the score 25-18. The Bulldogs got within five points once again, but the Braves pushed their lead when Becker found Anderson for a three-pointer that made the score 30-20. A few plays later, the same sequence happened as Becker found Anderson for another three-pointer to make the score 33–20.
The Braves finished the quarter up 35-20. In the fourth quarter, the Braves finished the game up with a 44-26 win. Anderson led the way for the Braves with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
“One thing we really had been wanting to try to do and we’ve been focusing on is trying to get in our transition,” Coach Marvel said. “We want that to start on the defensive end. We had a height advantage on them and so we had to take advantage of that. And we did a great job. I think we had blocks by three or four different play five blocks in the first quarter. We got out, we pushed the ball, we were diving, we were getting after loose balls, not just bending over. And that is stuff we have to do.”
Against Tolono Unity, the Braves lost 45-43. The Braves are now 9-15 overall and. 2-5 in Apollo conference play. The Braves will face Mahomet-Seymour, MacArthur and Taylorville this week. The teams focus will be working on their new offense they are putting in which is the triangle offense.
“Against Mahomet the first time I was without two starters in Denver and Bracie,” Coach Marvel said. “We were behind the eight ball to begin with, but then we just stopped and did not play well. And we played scared and I think we’re past playing scared. MacArthur had a really tight battle with Glenwood and some things I watched and I think we can come in and compete and hopefully just be in a position to surprise them and at least be there in the fourth quarter.”