Highland’s defense leads them past Lady Indians
By ROB HAMILTON
Entering this season, the Highland Lady Scots weren’t particularly experienced at the varsity level.
Losing senior Heather Thacker (an All-Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference pick) to injury recently definitely didn’t help the team in regards to that lack of experience, so head coach Galen Chapman was looking for something to provide a positive spark for his players.
In the form of a good defensive showing, Chapman might have gotten that spark on Friday, Dec. 21 at Mount Gilead. The Scots held the Indians to under five points in each of the opening three quarters, as they claimed a 36–24 victory.
“We’ve been struggling a bit,” said the coach. “But the one thing I keep stressing is to work hard It’s kind of nice to have them play hard and build their confidence a bit without Heather. It’s good for morale.”
While the Scots weren’t particularly sharp from the field against the Indians, they were able to stifle the MG offense in the contest. In the first quarter, the home team was only able to hit one shot from the field — a three-pointer by Christin Sweeney. That shot scored all but one of the team’s four first-quarter points, as Highland opened up a 10–4 advantage.
Both Abby Garcia and Katie Davies drained threes of their own for the Scots in the early going to help stake their team to the early lead.
After a basket by Lexi Winklefoos opened the second quarter, Mount Gilead responded with a basket and free throw by Sweeney to close within a 12–7 margin. Unfortunately for the Indians, those three points would be the only ones they scored in the period.
Highland would fire back with another basket by Winklefoos and a shot from Nichole Carter to open up a 16–7 lead at the half.
Kayla Davies would then boost the team in the early stages of the third quarter, getting a three-pointer and a shot from further inside to help the Scots take a 21–9 lead. After Jennifer Brey gave the Indians two points on a steal and lay-up, Highland then got back-to-back baskets by Winklefoos to boost their lead to a 25–11 margin.
Chapman was pleased that so many players on his team stepped up to hit shots at different times. While the team only scored 36 points, six different players contributed offensively — something he feels is important with a young team.
“Part of being young is that you’re going to make a couple and then miss a couple,” he said. “I need everyone to keep their heads up and keep plugging away.”
The Indians would battle back in the fourth quarter to get within single digits. Trailing 27–13, the Indians went on an 8–2 run highlighted by three-pointers from both Bailey Gompf and Sweeney.
Highland would get two points from Addie Franklin, but the Indians got another three from Gompf to close within a 31–24 margin with 1:31 to play.
Mount Gilead would get the ball back with the chance to whittle more points off their deficit, but the Scots got a steal from Garcia, who scored to get the Highland lead back up to nine points.
The Indians then missed a pair of free throws on their next trip down the floor and Highland would be able to ice the game from the foul line, hitting three over the game’s final 37 seconds.
Mount Gilead’s Sweeney led all scorers with 11 points, while Winklefoos paced the Scots with 10 and Katie Davies added eight.
Chapman was pleased with the win, noting that while his team has a lot of things to work on, most of those issues are based in their inexperience.
“It’s just working on the little things,” he said. “It’s just learning those ‘in-the-game’ things when you’re young and you can always make up for that with hard work.”