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November 16, 2012

H.S. GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Jeff forces 30 turnovers in 47-37 win over Dragons

JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville’s girls’ basketball team forced 30 Silver Creek turnovers and held the Dragons to just seven field goals in a 47-37 win on Friday at Johnson Arena.

The Dragons had at least five turnovers in each quarter, including eight in the opening period and nine in the final period in falling to 1-1.

“Ball pressure and heating people up has to be one of our M.O.’s this year,” Jeff first-year coach Matt Pait said. “I think we have a lot of girls who are good at that. That was part of our game plan tonight, to keep them out of their offense. When Silver Creek runs sets, they’re pretty good at what they do.”

“We have great guards who pressure the ball,” Jeff junior center Haley Vogen said.

Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen said he knew the Devils would bring pressure. He was hoping his experienced ballclub would handle it better.

“We knew coming into the game we had to be ready for the press,” Schoen said. “They’re quick. They’re very good on the ball. It’s hard to turn the corner on them.

“Mentally, we had a couple breakdowns. We weren’t real sharp, but credit goes to Jeff. They brought it to us. We were on our heals the whole game.”

The win gives Jeff a 2-0 start after starting 0-3 and 1-6 a year ago. The win over Silver Creek, which went 16-5 last season, should give the Devils confidence going forward, Pait believes.

“I think this team has the talent to win a lot of ballgames,” Pait said. “I think their biggest thing is confidence. They’ve got to believe in themselves.”

“We have a really good coaching staff and we’ve come together a lot more as a team,” Vogen said. “It gives us confidence. I’m really happy we have coaches who have faith in us.”

“It feels great to prove ourselves,” senior Nichole Midgett said. “This is a bounce-back year. We’re out to show people what we’re made of. But we have a lot of games ahead of us and a lot to work on.”

Last year, the Dragons scored 56 points on Jeff. Silver Creek’s Emily Clayton scored 20 of them. On Friday, the Devils held Clayton scoreless on five shots.

“We had a hard time getting her the basketball,” Schoen said. “We had a hard time getting into anything. We had a hard time getting Emily the ball. We had a hard time getting Alex [Tinsley] the ball. We’ll get better at that.”

“We didn’t concentrate on any one player,” Pait said. “They’re a good team and we knew we had to come out and put on the pressure and make them worry about getting the ball up the court and not worry about running their offense.”

Silver Creek opened the contest on a 5-0 run. Tinsley, who led all scorers with scorers with 14 points, hit a 3-pointer and Kelsi Scott followed with a putback on her only field goal of the night.

Jeff got within 5-4 at the end of a low-scoring first quarter.

In the second quarter, Jeff took its first lead on an Aurreeshae Hines steal and bucket. Teammate Chelsie Marshall then hit a 3 to push the advantage to 9-5.

Silver Creek followed with a 6-0 run to take the lead back. But Hines scored seven points in the period to get the Devils even at the half, 16-16.

Hines led Jeff with 12 points. She also had five steals and three rebounds.

“Shae is one of our better scorers,” Pait said of Hines. “She didn’t play very well, scoring-wise, early in the first half. She kept playing, she kept plugging along and finally some of the shots she normally hits started falling.”

Jeff took the lead for good in the third quarter. Freshman Taylor Sykes, who wasn’t even listed on the Jeff varsity roster, scored nine points in the third quarter to help Jeff to a 13-7 advantage in the period.

Sykes scored on two three-point plays and hit a 3-point shot in the third.

“That was huge,” Pait said of Sykes’ performance. “We have high hopes for Taylor. We think she can be a very good player for us as she gets older. She’s got a lot of talent. The more experience she gets, she’s going to keep getting better and better.”

“Taylor really did step up,” Midgett said. “Some of us weren’t playing very well. But she stepped up, especially as a freshman.”

Jeff had its best shooting period in the fourth quarter, knocking down six of its 14 shots and the Dragons never got closer than three points.

Jeff can continue its turnaround season tonight when it hosts Class 4A No. 5 Bedford North Lawrence (2-0) in its Hoosier Hills Conference opener at 7:30.

“[Tonight’s] a great test for us,” Pait said. “I told the girls there aren’t many opportunities you get No. 5 coming into your home court. Bedford’s a great team and we’re going to have to play a really good ballgame.”

Silver Creek will host 3-2 Henryville tonight.

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