BY MITZI THOMPSON
It started out rocky and didn’t get much better for the New Washington girls’ basketball team, which suffered a 51-29 loss to defensively brilliant Jeffersonville Saturday night in William S. Johnson Arena.
The Class A Mustangs (6-5) were immediately stunned by the 4A Red Devils’ pressure, turning the ball over six times in the first two minutes and were only able to move the ball past half court one time before senior Brooke Abbott found teammate Ashley Johnson on the perimeter for a 3. By then, Jeff had already scored 11.
At the end of the quarter, the short-staffed Mustangs — playing without two seniors - had compiled 10 turnovers and trailed 17-5.
“We just didn’t compete the way we should have competed,” said Mustangs coach Terry White, whose starting post-player, Caroline Ricks, was glaringly absent from the game due to medical issues. “Jeffersonville took us out of everything we wanted to do both defensively and offensively. We didn’t do a good job adjusting. It’s really a shame because the team that was on the floor tonight is not the team that we are.
“One of our goals every time we go out is to keep our turnovers to 12 or less. Good grief, we had 16 by halftime.”
Jeffersonville, meanwhile, played beautifully during the first half, using a scrappy, in-your-face full-court press then capitalizing on the errors that it created.
“We wanted to press and dictate the tempo from the beginning,” said Jeff coach Mike Warren, who cited the play of his junior guard Chelsea Lewis. “She is the best defensive player in Southern Indiana. We can pencil her in on any night against any given player and she will shut them down.”
Saturday, her assignment was New Wash senior guard Ashley Johnson, who is the team’s biggest offensive weapon most nights. Saturday, she had two field goals and finished with seven points.
“Coach told us that [Johnson] was a big scorer and that the last game they played, the team wasn’t able to keep her scoring down,” said Lewis. “I kind of took that as a personal challenge.”
The Red Devils (9-4) also owned the boards, out-rebounding their visitors 39-28. Junior forward Emily Gray collected 14 of those for Jeff — eight on the offensive end. Abbott led the Mustangs in rebounds with 11.
Jeff, which led by double-digits the entire way after going up 13-3 six minutes into the game, averted an early second-half New Washington threat with a 7-0 run for a 35-13 advantage.
The Devils were led in scoring by Taylor Sykes’ 12, which included three 3-pointers. Haley Vogen added 10, and Aurreeshae Hines grabbed four steals and dished out three assists.
Courtney Amick scored 10 for the Mustangs, who return to action Tuesday against 8-4 Scottsburg. Jeffersonville hosts Charlestown on Thursday.
JEFFERSONVILLE 51, NEW WASHINGTON 29
New Washington 5 6 6 12—29
Jeffersonville 17 11 7 16—51
New Washington (6-5): Amick 10, Johnson 7, Haymaker 6, Abbott 3, Holloway 3.
Jeffersonville (9-4): Sykes 12, Vogen 10, Gray 7, Lewis 7, Hines 7, Haleem 5, Ford 3.
3-point field goals: New Washington 2 (Johnson, Holloway); Jeffersonville 5 (Sykes 3, Hines, Haleem).