By Clyde Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org
LAFAYETTE – Clinton Prairie’s girls’ basketball team bounced back from a season opening loss to Harrison on Friday with a commanding 48-18 victory over Class A sectional foe Faith Christian on the road on Saturday, led by Madison Douglass’s 25 points.
There was little doubt from the start as Douglass scored in double-digits early as the Gophers grabbed an 18-6 lead after the first quarter. Then Clinton Prairie’s defense took over, limiting the Eagles to one point in the second quarter and two points in the third quarter to essentially put the game away.
“Our team improved by penetrating the gaps on offense and moving the ball around a lot better than last night,” said Douglass, who was the only Gopher in double figures. “We came out and jumped on them pretty quick.”
Clinton Prairie coach Jason Haid said in Friday’s 70-59 loss to Class 4A Harrison, he felt his teams stalled under the Raiders zone. After hashing it out with his squad, Haid said the Gophers (1-1) responded to the Eagles 2-3 zone much better this time around.
“When Harrison went to a zone on us in the third quarter, we got stagnant,” Haid said. “That’s one of the things we talked about attacking the gaps in the zone, moving the ball, hitting the high post and the little things we didn’t do well last night. It was good for us to see another zone and see if we could apply what we talked about.”
That aggressive often led to the Gophers penetrating the paint for easy baskets or kick outs back to the perimeter for open 3-point looks. Kayla Pearson knocked down two long-range shots and finished the game with seven points.
Haid said making those looks will be critical as the season goes along as stronger teams look to shut down Douglass in the middle.
“We’ve been preaching that so far this season,” the coach said. “If we can go inside-out with shooting with their hands ready and feet ready that’s the highest percentage 3-point shot we can ask for. We’re going to have to have our wings step up and make some shots because teams are going to pack it in on her, so we’ll have to be ready. We’ll continue to work on that.”
First-year Faith Christian coach Sheryl Borgman said Douglass was a major concern but despite the big night, she was happy with they were able do on defense with the Eagles tallest girl topping out at 5-foot-10.
“No one fouled out,” Borgman conceded, whose highest scorer Rachel Shockney tallied six points. “Marissa Boyer played her well underneath. Douglass is going to get her points. She’s a strong girl who knows the game well and moved on the floor well. I’m just pleased with our effort.”
Haid said one of things that he discovered in the Harrison opener was the effectiveness of his team’s pressure defense. He said after seeing it work against the Raiders, he wanted to open with it against Faith and felt it made a huge difference early.
“Our energy was pretty good tonight,” Haid said. “I think our pressure really bothered them. That’s one of the things we talked about after last night. Against Harrison we went to our full court pressure too late. This time I thought we’d get right into it and get in some passing lane and see what happens. I was pretty pleased with our effort.”
The Gophers spend the week preparing for their home opener against Fountain Central on Saturday.