KANSAS – Prior to Monday, Genoa had not played a game since Jan. 6.
It looked that way early before the Comets regrouped to score 20 consecutive points in a 49-25 non-conference victory over Lakota.
“It’s been a circus with practice and school closings,” Genoa coach Mike DeStazio said. “It was important we played. We couldn’t go into Otsego (on Thursday) with nine days off. We needed to play. We weren’t sharp but that happens. We missed some shots and they stayed in it early.
“Our press impacted them in the second quarter.”
The Comets (10-2) led 15-10 after Lakota’s Paige Alloway canned a 3-pointer in the second quarter. Genoa scored the next 20 points.
“Our full-court man press pressured them and forced them to turn it over and we got some easy buckets,” said the Comets’ Erica Harder, who scored 13 points.
Genoa forced 18 turnovers in the first half and outscored the Raiders 24-1 from Alloway’s bucket until Haley Pickard scored four straight points late in the third quarter. Pickard had a game-high 17 points.
The Comets also deployed 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones, and a diamond press.
“It gives us different options,” Harder said of playing multiple defenses.
In addition to the layoff, Monday’s game started early so people could watch Ohio State play in the national championship game (although Genoa’s Carly Gose and Emily Edwards were rooting for Oregon).
“Warmup was a little different with no JV before us,” Harder said. “That could be one of the reasons we started slow without the regular routine.”
The majority of the Comets’ points in the third quarter came off assists.
“These kids distribute the ball well,” DeStazio said. “We’re unselfish. We play hard. We didn’t reward ourselves early by making layups. I don’t say much. I let this group play.”
Bree Long-Meyer, who has been consistently productive this season, scored 12 points for Lakota (1-9). The Raiders scored 10 consecutive points bridging the third and fourth quarters, including six from Long-Meyer but still trailed 39-21.
“Her strenths are speed and aggressiveness,” Raiders coach Mike Miller said. “She does nice things when she goes to the basket hard under control. She’s our best ballhandler and she’s been shooting well from the outside. We’re at our best when all five are playing together.”