By now, Katie Shields and Kaylan Coffman are so in sync with each other that defenders basically have no chance.
West Lafayette’s defense stifled Benton Central’s girls basketball team early on Thursday night in Arena Gymnasium, but the Bison block took over in the second quarter and Class 3A No. 3 BC earned a hard-fought victory over the Red Devils, 59-47.
“Playing together since fifth grade has helped us and we’ve gotten closer every year,” said Coffman, who finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. “It’s nice having her on my team and knowing we’re both looking for each other no matter what.”
Together, they orchestrated poetry in motion out of the high post, Coffman with her 6-foot-2 towering presence and Shields with her physicality and strength packed into a 6-foot body.
Coffman and Shields combined to shoot 12 of 15 for 30 points and together grabbed 18 rebounds.
In the second quarter, they took turns catching the ball at the free-throw line and dumping it to the other under the basket for easy layups, leading to a combined seven assists.
“(West Lafayette coach) Jane Schott did a great job of doubling down, so we took that person they were doubling and threw them in the high post and it left one on single coverage,” BC coach David Baxter said. “The touch passing is just beautiful to watch. They are very unselfish and they are each other’s biggest fan. That is good to see.”
On an evening where BC’s perimeter players had uncanny off nights, going just 2-for-10 from 3-point range, the post players picked up the slack.
“It goes vice versa and sometimes the posts aren’t hitting and we kick it out to the guards,” said Shields, who had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. “There are going to be nights where they don’t hit, but the posts are open inside.”
When Coffman was charged with her third and fourth fouls in the third quarter, though, West Side fought back after the BC senior post tandem led an 18-4 spurt in the second period.
The Red Devils (8-3) used a 12-1 run with Coffman sidelined to pull within 35-33 in the middle of the third after trailing by 14 at halftime.
Coffman scored immediately upon returning and the Red Devils would get no closer than three the rest of the way.
Bayley Goodman scored seven of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Bison (10-0) remain unbeaten.
West Lafayette led 6-0 early and was even at 14 after the first quarter thanks to Abby Martin’s two 3-pointers. Martin finished with 10 points, Maggie Wodicka had 11, including eight during the 12-1 third-quarter run, and Kaia Harris provided a double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
Benton Central used a six-player rotation, but its staring lineup provided 58 of the 59 points, with Maddie Tolen scoring seven points and Betsy Marquie contributing seven points and seven rebounds.