Girls basketball: Whiting’s defense delivers silent second half
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org December 14, 2012 11:20PM
Updated: January 16, 2013 6:11AM
WHITING — A tradition copied from Taylor University might stick for Whiting girls basketball games after Friday night’s effort.
The college located between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis in Upland started its “Silent Night Game” in the 1980s. In the Friday night contest before final exams and Christmas, the crowd in the campus’ 10,000-seat gym would not cheer for anything until Taylor scored its 10th point. Then it would go crazy.
According to Whiting head coach Kevin Moynihan, his assistant and former player Abby Gazda suggested to have the crowd do that in the Oilers’ last Friday home game before Christmas.
It only took about four minutes on a basket by another Abby (Bondi). The Whiting student section and band erupted, and so did the Oilers, on offense to start the game and on defense to finish a 54-13 rout of North Newton in Greater South Shore Conference play.
Bondi’s hoop was part of a 19-2 first quarter advantage for Whiting (9-0, 4-0 GSSC). But it was the defense that created its own version of Silent Night on the Spartans’ offensive end in the second half.
After holding that 17-point lead at halftime (30-13), the Oilers — No. 6 in the Class 2A state coaches poll — clamped down with sights set on improving its state-best defensive scoring average (23.63 points per game).
Holding North Newton (4-3, 2-2) scoreless in the final two quarters will drop that average even more.
The Oilers forced 18 turnovers in the second half alone, leading to multiple fast-break points.
“We’ve always been defense first,” Moynihan said. “This year we’re just trapping more and being more aggressive, and the kids have bought into it.”
Heck yes they’ve bought into it. Why not? All they needed was to be convinced that stout defense leads to transition points and more offense.
“Defense wins games,” said junior Brianna Blackwell, who led the offense with 24 points to go with four steals and four assists. “Coach wants us to come out with intensity.”
Bondi was also a catalyst on both ends with 17 points and six steals.
Spartans coach Bob Gonczy lamented Whiting still having some of its starters on the floor late in the fourth quarter after he emptied his bench. But he also understood the focus on defense.
“There’s pressure to stay (on top of the state),” he said with a smile. “It didn’t help that our best player (senior guard Morgan Lang) picked up her fourth foul quickly (middle of the third quarter).”