Having that one “go to” player can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
From this season’s first practice, North Central girls’ basketball coach Mitch Lowder said his team would ride the shoulders of senior guard Morgan Bass, the school’s all-time 3-point shooting leader.
Last Monday, in preparation for the Lady Knights’ game with rival Andrew Jackson, Bass went down with an ankle injury prior to the start of that afternoon’s practice. In the first two games with Bass out, NC scored a combined grand total of nine points.
Things got a little better on Tuesday, but the result was still the same as Pelion came to The Castle in Boonetown and handed the hostesses a 51-16 setback with Bass dressed in street clothes and seated near the top of the bench.
“It changes everything about our whole team,” Lowder said of playing minus Bass. “Nobody was looking to step up and take charge because we had always been depending on (Bass.) We ought to depend on her, but we also need to depend on each other.
“We just can’t score. Luckily, tonight, we hit double-digits.”
NC scored more points in the first half of this game than it had in its previous two outings in trailing a resurgent PHS program, 36-10, at halftime of this Region 3-AA contest.
There was no trickery as to how the Panthers, which scored the first 14 points of the night, forcing Lowder to call two time outs in the game’s opening four-plus minutes of play. Pelion was deliberate on offense and waited until a girl sprung up behind the NC defense for an easy layin. It was the same strategy which Lowder and company saw from PHS last season.
“They were going back door on us; we knew they were going to do that,” Lowder said. “We lost sight of the ball and lost sight of the person and, there they go back door. We changed in the second half with a combination man-zone defense and tried to change up a little bit. But the first half killed us.”
NC’s first basket of the night came on a 3-point jumper from Takeshia Joe and were the hostesses’ lone points in a first quarter which ended with Pelion holding a 20-3 lead.
An Andrea Knight putback opened the second stanza as NC drew to within 20-5. Pelion answered by going on another 14-0 spree, leading 34-5 with less than a minute to play in the first half. The Lady Knights scored five points in 46 seconds with Nyasia Joe, who led NC with seven points, scoring on a trey before Shekee Drakeford scored on an offensive rebound to close the second quarter scoring.
“Nyasia Joe has been a bright spot for us in all this,” Lowder said. “She is starting to come along lately.”
Nyasia Joe accounted for four of NC’s six third quarter points, all from the free throw stripe, before Knight put home the final two points for the home team with 1:40 to play in a third quarter which ended with Pelion having extended its lead to 30 points at 46-16.
Lowder was hoping to have Bass back for Tuesday’s game before admitting he is unsure as to when she will return to the fold. Her absence, however, should not bring an entire team down, Lowder said, as was the case on Tuesday.
“I’m disappointed,” he said. “I didn’t think that we had a real good team effort tonight … and I’m talking about everybody … in the first half where we hurt ourselves. We played a little better in the second half but again, we just have to find a way to score some points.”
PHS (51): Ashley Bailey 2 0-0 4, Delerishia Phillips 2 0-0 4, Kayla Ennis 3 0-0 6, Ashley King 7 3-4 17, Alex Goodwin 3 0-0 6, Carrie Senn 1 1-4 3, Daphne Thompson 2 0-0 4, Moesha Green 1 1-4 3, Madison Hill 2 0-0 4. Totals: 23 5-12 51
NC (16): Takeshia Joe 1 0-0 3, Andrea Knight 2 0-0 4, Nyasia Joes 1 5-7 7, Shekee Drakeford 1 0-1 2. Totals: 5 5-8 16
Score by quarters: First: PHS, 20-3; Halftime: PHS, 36-10; Third: PHS, 46-16; Three-point goals: PHS none; NC 2 (T. Joe, N. Joe)