Solid defense sends Kickapoo girls to win over rival Glendale

Solid defense sends Kickapoo girls to win over rival Glendale

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Solid defense sends Kickapoo girls to win over rival Glendale

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From the opening tip on Monday, Kickapoo was determined to make Glendale handle its full-court press.

And the Lady Falcons never found an answer.

Kickapoo forced 23 turnovers, including 12 in the first half, as the Lady Chiefs rolled to a 53-17 Ozark Conference win at home.

“We alternated our defense and we played a lot of zone in the second quarter,” Kickapoo coach Jim Pendergrass said. “I think young teams struggle sometimes with switching defenses and if you’re able to press and then switch to a zone, it makes them constantly adjust.”

Kickapoo sophomore Natalie Closser got the Lady Chiefs going at the start with a pair of buckets in the post while freshman Laura Vierkant finished the first quarter with back-to-back 3s that gave Kickapoo a 14-2 lead after the first eight minutes.

“We wanted to play good defense and work the ball inside a lot,” Vierkant said of Kickapoo’s game plan. “Our press was effective tonight and we didn’t give up. We talked a lot, we communicated a lot, which helps.”

Kickapoo’s run continued into the next quarter where the Lady Chiefs (12-9, 4-2) outscored Glendale 7-2 for a 21-4 lead midway through the second period.

“I thought we got rattled tonight,” Glendale coach Renee Temple said. “I thought their pressure just caused us to turn it over a lot.

“We work every day on taking care of the ball and now we have to put what we learn in practice into games.”

Junior Keri Cook scored Glendale’s first field goal of the game at the 6:20 mark of the second quarter. Cook, Glendale’s leading scorer, was a big concern for Closser defensively in the post.

“I know that Cook is a good post player, so I knew I had to play her to the best of my ability and not let her get the ball, because when she gets the ball, she scores,” Closser said.

Cook, who was injured during the game along with freshman teammate Teaira Clancy, finished with five points for Glendale.

Vierkant, who is not only adjusting to playing at the varsity level, has been forced to change to a new position because of an injury to sophomore Bre Taylor.

“We’re asking Laura to do a lot of things,” Pendergrass said. “We’re asking her to guard the other team’s point guard and we’re asking her to be our point guard because of injury. Which is a lot of responsibility for a freshman and she’s been able to handle it and be consistent.”

Vierkant led all scorers with 19 points and Closser chipped in 12 in the win.

Temple praised her squad after the loss dropped her Lady Falcons to 1-16 overall and 0-4 in the OC.

“They’re gutsy kids,” Temple said. “They are fighters and they’re going to keep playing hard and continuing to do what I ask them to do and I’m proud of them for that.”

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