FRANKLIN FURNACE — Rocking their brand-new Jordan Brand home jerseys, the Green Lady Bobcats executed a performance His-Airness himself would have been proud of.
It may have been Green coach Melissa Knapp who picked out the new digs, but it was the Lady Bobcat players who donned the Jumpman logo — and rolled past new Southern Ohio Conference Division I foe Ironton St. Joseph 55-38 in their home opener to improve to 3-0 (2-0 SOC I), just like Mike.
“I picked those out on my own, I wouldn’t let them try to pick them,” Green coach Melissa Knapp said of the new uniforms after the win. “I’m a big Nike fan. They were blown away with them, so I must have done the right thing.”
Knapp’s taste in uniforms was a smash hit, but even more so were her players in their 17-point win over the visiting Lady Flyers.
Despite being forced to sit for the latter part of the first half due to foul trouble, Green’s Kame Sweeney played in the second half as Knapp hoped would have been the case in the first — by leading all scorers over the final 16 minutes with 11 points, finishing the game with 17 with nine coming in the third period when her team outscored Ironton St. Joe 16-4.
Sweeney also earned a double-double with her 17-point, 10-rebound performance in Thursday’s win over the Lady Flyers.
“We like to live by the three-ball, but sometimes you have to get it inside to open up your shooters,” Knapp said. “Kame’s just a strong, physical post player. She’s a junior now, but before her we hadn’t had someone like that for a long time. It’s nice to have the guard play and the post play.”
While it was Sweeney who stepped up in the second half after being sidelined in the first, sophomore third-team all-Southeast District guard Kasey Kimbler helped lead her team to a 28-22 lead at the half — thanks to her 11 first-half points, six coming on two-made threes, before finishing with a game-high 18 points.
Kimbler’s shooting touch transitioned from behind the three-point line to the free-throw stripe in the second half, as can be said for the Lady Bobcats team as a whole.
After going 20-for-35 as a team from the charity stripe in Monday’s win over Clay, with Kimbler and Sweeney going a combined 13-for-28 from the line, Knapp’s team adjusted their practice schedule to include more time getting in their rhythm.
Just as her fashion design instincts were correct, so was Knapp’s coaching acumen.
In Thursday’s win, Green as a team finished 17-for-21 from the free-throw line with Kimbler and Sweeney combining to go 12-for-13, a vast improvement from Monday’s free-throw woes.
“We changed our practice up a little bit so we can shoot more, that’s what had to happen,” Knapp said. “They’ve really been focused on improving that. A win’s a win, but there’s always things to work on. We want to take from each game what we need to do for that next game, and so far we feel like we’ve been on top of that.”
Aiding Kimbler and Sweeney in Thursday’s win were freshman guard Anna Knapp, daughter of Coach Knapp, who finished with eight points and a team-high 15 rebounds, Charli Blevins who finished with six, and Kimberly Brown, Kaylee Christian and Brelan Baldridge who each finished with two. Brown also finished with six assists in Thursday’s win.
Ahead of next week’s continued SOC I schedule with road trips to East and New Boston, Knapp says her Lady Bobcats will be fine-tuning each aspect of their game to try and continue their undefeated start to the season.
“We need to work on defense, we need to figure out how to score,” Knapp said. “I know they’ll be keying in on (Kasey) Kimbler, so we have to figure out our other options on offense. But we have some kids stepping up, three or four kids stepping up offensively. I think that’s the difference in why we’re winning games now as opposed to having just one kid who can score.”
Ironton St. Joseph 8 14 4 12 – 38
Green 17 11 16 11 – 55
IRONTON ST. JOE (2-1, 1-1 SOC I)
Kaitlyn Sheridan 1 1-2 3, Faith Mahlmeister 2 1-2 5, Chloe Sheridan 2 1-2 5, Bella Whaley 7 0-3 15, Emma Whaley 4 0-0 10, Gracie Damron 0 0-1 0, Audrey Sutton 0 0-1 0; TOTALS 16 3-9 38; Three-point field goals: 3 (Emma Whaley 2, Bella Whaley 1)
GREEN (3-0, 2-0 SOC I)
Anna Knapp 3 0-0 8, Kasey Kimbler 4 7-8 18, Kimberly Brown 0 2-2 2, Kame Sweeney 6 5-5 17, Charli Blevins 1 3-6 6, Kaylee Christian 1 0-0 2, Brelan Baldridge 1 0-0 2, Lori Brown 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 16 17-21 55; Three-point field goals: 6 (Kasey Kimbler 3, Anna Knapp 2, Charli Blevins 1)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved