Girls basketball: West Side cruises past Marshall to regain Gary tourney crown
By Tommy Williams Post-Tribune correspondent December 28, 2012 11:44PM
Weast Side's Jerrica Neil makes a breakaway layup over Marshal's Tyisha Saunders (right) during the Gary Holiday Tournement girls final game held at West Side High School in Gary on Friday December 28, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 30, 2013 6:11AM
GARY — The beginning of a high school basketball game can be so misleading. There are so many momentum swings that can take place in the space of 32 minutes of playing time, especially when two good teams are going at it.
Case in point: Friday’s West Side-Marshall girls Gary Holiday Tournament final. On the very first play after the opening tip, Marshall forced a West Side turnover and ran as perfect a fast break as ever run. Three passes — not one of which would touch the floor — and finished off with an uncontested layup. So nicely executed. And for West Side, so nicely misleading.
The next momentum swing went to West Side and it was be the last one as the Cougars forced 32 Marshall turnovers in a 57-42 win.
“You just said it right there — when you turn the ball over that many times, you’re not going to win many games,” said Marshall coach Dorothy Gaters.
Of course, Gaters, winner of well over 900 games in her career, can tell you about blowout wins, but more often then not, her Commando’s were the one’s adminstering the beating. Not Friday, though as the Cougars used the knowledge they picked up from watching Marshall the day before (a blowout win over Chicago Lindbloom) in taking home the tournament title.
“We keyed on the two players who we saw could score from yesterdays game,” said West Side coach Rod Fisher. “We extended our 2-3 zone defense to put more pressure on their guards.”
It was all hands on deck offensively for the Cougars (10-1) as well, who put Marshall in a 16-4 strangle hold after the first quarter and didn’t let the lead get under eight for the rest of the game. Guard Amari Ferguson led the Cougars in scoring with 12 points.
“This feels great because we haven’t won this tournament in a long time,” Ferguson said. “We played well on defense and just outhustled them. Everyone stepped up tonight. When I got hurt (in the fourth quarter), everyone picked their game up.”
And that includes the Cougars bench with Lexus Fox (who made the all tourney team along with Ferguson) and Dejah Joshua adding 10 points each for the Cougars who have now won seven straight.