Girls basketball: Inside-out play lifts Merrillville past LaPorte
By Will Culbertson Post-Tribune correspondent January 11, 2013 11:40PM
Updated: February 13, 2013 6:12AM
LAPORTE — When you have a player that can dominate the paint and another who is a sharpshooter from behind the arc, you have a pretty good shot to win. That’s the formula that Merrillville utilized Friday night on the road to remain undefeated. The Pirates (15-0, 10-0 DAC) cruised to a 58-31 over Duneland foe LaPorte.
“We’ve emphasized working the ball inside-out in order to get better shots,” Merrillville head coach Amy Govert said.
The Pirates took control of the paint, thanks in part to 6-1 sophomore Victoria Gaines. Gaines scored seven of her 11 in the second quarter, more than the Slicers’ entire team in the frame.
In addition to playing down low, Gaines showed why she’s the complete package by playing out on the wing and dishing four assists.
“Victoria could score 30 points every night if she wanted to but she knows her role, she’s very unselfish and makes everyone better,” Govert said.
The Slicers (9-6, 5-5 DAC) had no answer for the dual threat offense that Merrillville boasts. If LaPorte overcommitted to stop Gaines in the paint, senior guard Dariyan Morris made the Slicers pay. Morris led all scorers with 24 points including five baskets from downtown.
“We just did a poor job of defending Morris. We knew she was a really good shooter but we lost track of her all night,” said Slicers head coach Skeeter Heath.
LaPorte’s offense struggled all night, shooting only 28 percent (12-43).
“When we start struggling on the offensive end, we let that carry over to our defense, and you just can’t do that if you expect to win,” said Heath.
Jaclyn Heath (11) and Kelsey Gushrowski (13) scored all but seven of the Slicers’ points on the night.
“We still need to communicate better, especially on the defensive side of the ball in addition to rebounding the ball more consistently if we want to have chance moving forward,” Govert said.