By GREG MENGELT
Jeffersonville’s girls’ basketball team appears to have a new identity in 2013-14 under first-year coach Mike Warren.
Unselfishness and passing are certainly a part of the new look.
The Red Devils had 19 assists on 23 buckets, including on all 12 first-half baskets, during Friday’s 61-52 Hoosier Hills Conference victory over Jennings County.
“We have dominant bigs, so we want to use them,” said sophomore guard Taylor Sykes, who had four assists on the night. “We want to make sure we get them the ball to get a kickout for the guards to shoot. We have strong guards and strong guards and good speed, so we want to utilize that.”
“I think we have a really good passing team,” Warren said. “We have the high-low working. Our bigs are doing a good job of kicking the ball out and our guards are doing a good job of finding each other. There’s no selfishness on this team and we’re going to take the best shot possible.”
Jeffersonville is now 4-1 after picking up its first HHC victory.
“It’s a big win for us,” senior center Haley Vogen said.
The Red Devils fell behind early at 6-3, but a 12-6 run to end the period put Jeff on top for good. Vogen and junior forward Emily Gray combined for seven points during the run.
Jeff withstood nine points from Emily Ertel in the second quarter. Ertel scored 15 of the Panthers’ 20 first-half points, but thanks to 13 points from Vogen, the Red Devils led 31-20 at the break.
The Devils adjusted their defense in the second half and held Ertel to one field goal attempt.
“We knew she was the best player,” Vogen said. “We tried to adjust to her. I think we ultimately worked together as a team [to slow her down].”
“We made an adjustment,” Warren said. “My assistants brought [Ertel’s first-half performance] to my attention. We adjusted and did a good job in the second half on her.”
It was Baylee Krueger who burned Jeff in the third quarter, going 3 for 4 and scoring 10 points to pull the Panthers within 40-35 at the break.
The fourth quarter began with the Devils going 0 for 3 with three turnovers and Jennings going 0 for 4 with a pair of turnovers.
That’s when Vogen, Gray and Aurreeshae Hines took over.
Vogen capped a 23-point performance with seven in the fourth quarter, Hines had four of her team-high five assists in the final period and Gray went 4 for 4 and finished with 12 points.
Warren said that’s the type of performance he expects from the athletic Gray in the future.
“She’s very capable,” he said. “As far as coming in and working her butt off, she’s as good as we have. Her work is paying off. She’s doing an outstanding job of making shots.”
“I have a different role this year,” Gray said. “I’m not posting up as much. Offensively, my role is to get open and look for open shots, and of course, get offensive rebounds and make good passes to Haley.”
The one negative in the game for Jeffersonville was rebounding. The Panthers out-rebounded the Devils 29-24. They had 14 offensive rebounds to Jeff’s 15 defensive boards.
“That’s something we addressed,” Warren said. “That’s something we’ll continue to address in practice. That will be our No. 1 priority. I don’t quite understand it. You don’t have to have any skill to get defensive rebounds and I thought our effort on defensive rebounding was poor tonight.”
“It’s something that [Warren] talked to us about at every break,” Vogen said. “We’re going to come in [Saturday] and hopefully get better at that.”
The Red Devils’ schedule gets tough in the near future. They go on the road for a pair of HHC games next week. They’ll be at Floyd Central on Thursday and Madison on Friday. After hosting Sacred Heart on Dec. 12, they go to Columbus East for another conference game on Dec. 14.
JEFFERSONVILLE 61, JENNINGS COUNTY 52
Jennings County 9 11 15 17—52
Jeffersonville 15 16 9 21—61
Jennings County (2-1, 0-0 HHC): Sydney Kirchner 1-4 2-2 4, Sidney Gerkin 4-11 0-1 11, Halea Petro 0-2 0-0 0, Kaylin Wilson 3-8 2-3 8, Emily Ertel 6-7 5-6 17, Baylee Krueger 4-11 2-3 12, Rayann Mull 0-2 0-0 0. Team 18-45 11-15 52.
Jeffersonville (4-1, 1-1): Chelsea Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Nycia Ford 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Gray 6-10 2-4 12, Taylor Sykes 3-7 2-4 11, Catera Stevenson 0-0 4-6 4, Hailey Lacy 1-3 0-0 2, Haley Vogen 10-13 3-4 23, Aurreeshae Hines 3-8 0-0 7. Team 23-42 11-20 61.
3-point field goals: Jennings County 5-21 (Gerkin 3-10, Krueger 2-5, Kirchner 0-3, Wilson 0-2, Mull 0-1); Jeffersonville 4-11 (Sykes 3-5, Hines 1-5, Lacy 0-1).
Rebounds: Jennings County 29 (Wilson 8); Jeffersonville 24 (Gray 7).
Assists: Jennings County 4 (Krueger 2); Jeffersonville 19 (Hines 5).
Steals: Jennings County 5 (Wilson 2); Jeffersonville 13 (Lewis 3, Vogen 3, Hines 3).
Blocked shots: Jennings County 1 (Krueger); Jeffersonville 0.
Turnovers: Jennings County 15; Jeffersonville 12.
Team fouls: Jennings County 19; Jeffersonville 15.
Fouled out: Jennings County — Ertel.
JV: Jeffersonville 42-34.