LUCASVILLE, Ohio — The Jeeps turned up the pressure Monday night, allowing eight first-half points and creating 11 turnovers. The result was a 46-26 road victory over the Valley Indians.
“I’m a defensive coach and we like the pressure defense,” Jeeps head coach Kristie Johnson said. “We want to make people uncomfortable. Everyone absolutely hates for a defender to be on them tough. It makes it hard. It makes you think. It makes you make crazy passes, especially when you’re not used to that pressure.
“So lets not stand back and let them make the easy pass. Lets be stronger defenders and our girls have really taken to that logic. Kacie Hall says it all the time, she loves defense, she loves to apply ball pressure and allow our defense to create our offense. I think the girls did a good job of that tonight.”
South Webster (5-0, 4-0) created 21 turnovers on the night and held Valley to 31 percent from the floor.
“You can’t throw lackadaisical passes against South Webster,” Indians head coach Mark Merritt said. “Their speed and their length is going to hurt you. We worked on it as best we could. Mark this down as a learning experience. I don’t think we gave the effort we should have gave. When you make a mistake, you need to turn around and hustle down the floor but give South Webster all the credit, they deserved the win.”
Kacie Hall led the Jeeps with a game-high 17 points. Five of those came in the first quarter when Hall and Maddie Stamper combined to score 10 of the 12 points. Stamper finished the game with nine points.
Both teams struggled to begin the game. South Webster only hit 4-of-18 and only connecting on two shots from behind the arc on eight tries.
“Our last couple of games, we’ve been settling for threes and we can’t be that kind of team,” Johnson said. “I love shooting threes more than anybody but we’ve got to be a versatile team. If they play off of us, then we’ve got to take the three. If they play up on us, we have to be able to drive the ball
” … Once we started not settling for the threes, attacking and getting higher percentage shots, things were better.”
Valley (3-3, 2-2) only managed to score two points in the opening eight minutes. The Indians went 1-for-7 from the floor and had five turnovers.
“South Webster came out here and took the game to us,” Merritt said. “We were prepared but we weren’t mentally prepared. Our zone did a good job for the first four or five minutes, but we missed some shots and we turned the ball over several times. From there on out, it was all South Webster.”
Hall finished with nine of her 17 at the half, while Stamper scored seven of her nine in the first 16 minutes. Valley was led by Hannah Conley who scored 11 points, including five of the eight first-half points scored by the Indians.
“She was in the right place at the right time. She worked hard for her position,” Merritt said. “She’s been sick, she’s normally a starter. She missed Saturday’s game, so we didn’t start her. So, we knew she could play.”
Both teams are scheduled to return to the court Thursday. South Webster returns home to face West while Valley travels to Waverly.
South Webster — Hall 6-2-17, Stamper 3-2-9, Weakley 3-0-6, K. Johnson 2-0-4, E. Johnson 1-1-4, Hadinger 1-0-2, Zempter 1-0-2, Blanton 1-0-2.
Valley — Conley 3-5-11, Hettinger 2-2-6, Hickerson 2-0-5, Duduit 1-0-2, Conaway 1-0-2.
3-point field goals — South Webster 5 (Hall 3, E. Johnson, Stamper); Valley 1 (Hickerson).
Records — South Webster 5-0 (4-0); Valley 3-3 (2-2).
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.