Girls basketball: Whiting loses first game at Hanover tourney
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent December 27, 2012 11:22PM
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:40AM
CEDAR LAKE — The value of playing a difficult and challenging schedule finally paid off for Knox center Kaitlin Zachary and her teammates.
The Redskins who’ve played three 4A schools and a trio of 3A teams already this season, overcame an 13-point, first-period deficit and stunned previously unbeaten Whiting, 72-61, in the opening round of the Hanover Central Tournament Thursday.
“It definitely felt good to play a team that was 11-0 and beat them,” Zachary said. “It’s pretty outstanding, actually.”
Zachary, a senior, scored a game-high 21 points and snatched 18 rebounds to help lead the Redskins (2-10) past the Oilers (11-1) and into Thursday night’s second round game against Griffith (8-3), which cruised past Beecher (Ill.) 52-24.
Whiting coach Kevin Moynihan was disappointed with his team’s first loss.
“I don’t know what it was; we just weren’t ready to play,” he said. “They (Redskins) came out and played hard. They got every loose ball, rebounded well and came up with steals. We got out-hustled and out-played. We’d seen Knox a couple times and knew they were a good team. They don’t play any patsies.”
Blackwell led Whiting with 19 points. Abby Bondi and Citali Lopez each had 16. Zachary, though, came up with a huge game for Knox.
“I felt I did it on both ends of the floor today,” she said. “As a team, I think we played good defense on help side, which is usually one of our weaknesses.”
One of the Redskins’ strengths might be their schedule.
“I think it has helped us a lot,” Zachary said. “Sometimes we struggle with it early, but it usually seems to pay off for us in the end.”
While Zachary’s play was key, guards Nikki Frasure (20 points) and Sarah Goad (16) combined for 36 points.
“We thought all along that if we could make ‘em play for quarters, we’d have a shot,” Knox coach Dan Huizenga said. “Once we switched out of the zone and to our man defense and then finally started rebounding about midway through the second quarter, it made a big difference.”
The Oilers swished seven of 10 3-pointers in the first period to take a 25-12 lead.
“They knocked down nearly every one of their threes against our 1-2-2,” Huizenga said. “(Brianna) Blackwell was just getting too many open looks against the zone. We thought we’d have trouble matching up with them in the man, but we did. Once we started rebounding, and limiting them to one shot, we were able to get some run-outs, too.”
Huizenga credited Chelsea Collins and Tori Elliott for their defense on Blackwell after the first quarter.
And the play of Zachary?
“That’s the best game she’s played at both ends in four years,” Huizenga said.