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Girls basketball: Penn’s defense stifles Lake Central

Updated: December 25, 2013 6:47AM



ST. JOHN — Penn coach Kristi Kaniewski-Ulrich knew she needed to find a way to keep Lake Central’s outside shooters from feasting on 3-pointers.

In Saturday’s nonconference game, the Kingsmen (3-0) made sure the Indians (3-1) were left starving.

Utilizing multiple defenses that covered, smothered and basically suffocated LC’s dangerous 3-point shooting duo of Gina Rubino and Tara Zlotkowski — while virtually eliminating the Indians’ inside game — Penn recovered from an 8-0 deficit to earn a 39-27 win.

“I told them to just stick to our gameplan and hopefully things were eventually going to go our way,’’ Kaniewski-Ulrich said. “We knew we had to limit their 3-point attempts. One of their strengths is to drive and kick it outside — a number of their girls can really knock it down — or get it inside to the big girl (Lindsay Kusbel).”

Rubino, the state leader in 3-point shooting with a dozen treys in LC’s first three games, had one in the first quarter and finished 1-for-3 with only three points (she entered the game averaging 17 points per game.

Zlotkowski, meanwhile, missed both of her attempts, as LC made only 3-of-12 shots from behind the arc and scored 12 points in the last 24 minutes.

“They do a good job of running multiple defenses at you and they do it very well,’’ LC coach Marc Urban said. “It was tough to score. They did a real good job of pressing our guards hard. The drive and kick really wasn’t there. They were able to keep us in front of them and they really didn’t have to help much.’’

Trailing 15-10 after one quarter, Penn held LC to 4-of-27 shooting the rest of the way. The Indians shot 25.6 percent overall, and only 16.7 percent (3-of-18) the second half.

Despite its shooting woes and Penn’s suffocating defense, LC was trailing only 29-25 when Urban was whistled for a technical with 6:02 left.

Caroline Buhr, who led all scorers with 14 points and snared 11 rebounds, hit both free throws, making it 31-25.

A driving basket by Buhr made it 33-25, before her sister, Camryn (nine points, 10 boards) scored for a commanding 35-25 lead.

Penn guard Kaitlyn Marenyi added 10 points and five steals and scored five of her points in the final quarter when Penn — which shot only 33 percent — outscored LC, 12-2.

“This is a big win for us on the road,’’ said Kaniewski-Ulrich, whose team played without starting guard Jessica Alexander and Maya Solomon — the team’s best defensive player and a starter last year, who’s out with a torn ACL. “Lake Central is a very good team and very much improved. Marc has done a great job with them. They’re tough defensively and really fundamentally sound.’’

As for LC, it’s back to work.

“I think this was a good measuring stick for us,’’ Urban said. “Our girls will learn from it and we’ll get better from it, too. Their defense is good, but I think our girls did a good job of guarding them, too. We just have to do a little bit better job of finishing, but I thought our defensive intensity was good.’’



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