By Christopher Tenpenny
The Harrisonville girls’ basketball team’s defense was relentless as the Lay Cats forced 29 turnovers in a 53-44 win over Adrian Dec. 7 at Adrian.
“I would love to see how many of those turned into points,” Harrisonville head coach BryAnn Middleton said. “That’s my favorite stat to see. That’s what we try to do, we try to create turnovers to get points on offense.”
There was no better example of turning defense into offense than Madison Johnson who had a game high eight steals and 27 points. In the third quarter, Johnson went on a 10-0 run by herself and scored 19 straight points for the Lady Cats.
“It was just like the game was slower for her tonight,” Middleton said. “That’s how she plays, that’s her. We hadn’t seen it yet this year but that’s who she is. It was so awesome.”
Johnson was not the only Madison to have a good game as Maddie Lalman added eight points and two steals. The junior is normally one of the fastest players on the court and uses her speed to her advantage on both offense and defense.
“She’s our little firecracker,” Middleton said. “We can always count on her on defense and running the floor. She always gives it her all.”
The Lady Cats led by double-digits for most of the fourth quarter, but Adrian was able to mount a comeback and cut it to six late in the fourth quarter. The Lady Cats have had a few instances this season where teams make it close at the end. Middleton said a lot of that has to do with the up-tempo basketball they play for most of the game.
“We keep doing scenarios in practice and I don’t want us to be in this position but we do better when we are behind,” Middleton said. “We win more of those possessions. We have to be able to shift gears. We are always playing up high but we need to down shift and still be confident in our ball-handling and passing.”
The Lady Cats win over Adrian gives a glimpse of how far they have come over the past season. Last year, the Lady Cats lost to Adrian 64-48. Both teams returned four starters from last year. For Adrian, head coach Shaun Bruto said it all started with the turnovers.
“We didn’t play our game,” Bruto said. “We have experienced guards who got flustered tonight and didn’t handle the ball well.”
The Blackhawks played four full-court-press teams to open the season and went 1-3.
“We’re not gelling right now,” Burto said. “We are playing as individual instead of as a team. We play in spurts and you see those spurts when we play well, but then we go into checkout mode. We’ll get it fixed and figure it out at some point.”
The Blackhawks were led by Baylie Pitts who finished with 11 points. Braylen Ford and Elise Evans each had 10 points while Lauren Sams had eight.
The Blackhawks will try to get back into the win column as they will compete in the Western Missouri Conference tournament (WEMO) this week at Archie.
For Harrisonville, they will travel to Clinton and play in their tournament.