Munster can’t keep up against Merrillville
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent December 19, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: January 21, 2013 4:01PM
MERRILLVILLE — It doesn’t matter how you slice it, there isn’t any way to simulate Merrillville’s quickness and athleticism.
Munster coach Matt Backs undoubtedly had to be frustrated watching his Mustangs (3-9) hustling and battling in a futile attempt to stay with the lightning-quick Pirates. Wednesday night’s game was definitely a mismatch as Merrillville (10-0) rolled to a 65-23 victory.
Merrillville led by as much as 43 points after scoring the game’s first 11 points and building a whopping 37-10 hafltime lead.
“They’re a really good team,’’ Backs said. “They’re just so quick and athletic. You could bring boys in to practice and try to get ready for a game like this and I don’t think it would matter.’’
Victoria Gaines led the Pirates with 13 points. Amber Sturdivant and Darian Patton each scored 11, while Anjelica Peppers contributed a career-high 10 off the bench.
“Peppers played well,’’ Merrillville coach Amy Govert said. “She brought us good energy off the bench. She’s such a great athlete and one of our better defensive players.’’
In addition to her 10 points, Peppers collected five rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Besides a non-existent defensive presence in the third period, which Govert let her players hear about before the start of the final eight minutes, the Pirates made only 9 of 21 free throws.
Govert said her team is still making too many unforced turnovers and not making very good decisions at times.
“We need to improve in that area,’’ she said. “We need to do a better job of finishing, too. We’re missing way too many layups and free throws. There are times when we play with focus, but then we seem to lose focus for a while, too.”
“We need to do a better job of staying focused. I don’t know if they’re looking at the scoreboard — and we they shouldn’t be — because we still must do what we need to do.’’
Bernadette Grabowski led Munster — which shot just under 20 percent (7 of 36) — with a game-high 19 points.
“I just can’t say enough about my girls,’’ Backs said. “They never give up. They’re always battling. They’ll fight to the end. All year it’s been like that. I’m very proud of them. These girls have stuck together. We’re very young. I have five freshmen and two sophomores. It’s tough.’’