Lancaster’s girls used a suffocating defensive effort and consistent offensive penetration to rout visiting Jonathan Alder 54-18 in a nonleague game Saturday.
The Golden Gales (4-3) forced the Pioneers into two consecutive turnovers to start the game, and held Alder without a field goal for the first 9:20. Lancaster recorded seven steals by six different players in the first eight minutes and the strong first-quarter lead to a 17-3 Gales lead.
Coach Sarah Chevalier praised her team’s ability to get in passing lanes and create transition opportunities, which she said had been a missing piece in the team’s first six games.
“Defensively, we played very well. We finally started making them work to get the ball,” Chevalier said. “It definitely paid off. We just told them to get after it and they did. Our defense led to some good offense, we would definitely like to get out and run and push it down the floor.”
Lancaster forced 24 Pioneers turnovers and recorded 18 steals, led by four from senior Cassie Hennesy. The team effort extended to the scoring column, as 11 Gales scored.
“We are capable of having anybody scoring in double digits any given night, but to get something from everybody is awesome,” Chevalier said. “We need everybody thinking: ‘Hey, I’m going to score tonight.’ Even if it’s just two or four points, those points add up if everyone contributes.”
Lancaster went out to a 25-7 halftime led by Katie Harris and her eight first-half points. Katie Miller took charge in the second half, scoring eight in the third quarter and 12 for the game. The senior scored the Gales first six points after halftime.
“If teams focus on one person, we have someone else who can takeover,” Miller said. “Katie (Harris) started us off and then other people picked it up and I picked it up. We just go off of each other.”
The second half started just like the first as Lancaster forced Alder into consecutive turnovers. The Gales consistently attacked the interior of the Pioneers’ 2-3 zone in the second half, resulting in 29 points in the final 16 minutes. With such a big lead early, Chevalier said she was pleased with her team’s consistent effort.
“Something we have struggled with this season is playing down to the other teams we’ve played,” she said. “Today, we didn’t. We came out and played our game, and that made all the difference. I wasn’t sure after halftime, (but) they kept coming and coming.”
Lancaster’s Saturday effort came after the team had combined for just 55 points in their previous two losses. Miller said the team effort was just what the Gales needed.
“It really builds our confidence,” she said. “It lets us know that we can do those things and we just need to keep playing like that in every game.”