By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
It didn’t take long for the Elwood girls basketball team to figure out Liberty Christian as it used a 37-2 run during a span of about 14 minutes on the way to a 69-17 win Friday.
After only scoring two points in the first quarter, the Lions (1-2) didn’t feel too bad knowing that Elwood had only scored 10 points of its own. But with 6:34 left before the half, the Panthers started their run.
Up just 12-7, they went on a 9-0 run to take a 21-7 lead, but they were far from done. A Michaela Levell bucket around the three-minute mark of the second quarter marked the last time Liberty Christian scored for awhile.
As a matter of fact, the Lions not only went the rest of the second quarter without scoring, but they also went the entire third quarter without a point. By the time the fourth quarter started, the Panthers (3-0) were cruising 49-9 and well on their way to their third win of the season.
Elwood coach Tom Kessinger said that one of the keys to his team’s extended run was depth. The Panthers also started sharing the ball, which was something he had preached in practice.
“Depth is good, we have girls that I have no question in putting them in at any point of the game,” he said. “Sharing the ball, one thing I kept preaching today (and) getting through their heads is enjoy others’ success.”
The Panthers’ depth was never more evident than the final stat sheet. In a game where they scored 69 points as a team, their leading scorers — Jessie Noone and Tenasha Stephens — had but 12 points each.
Kessinger said that despite the fact that he didn’t really have a whole lot of scouting material on Liberty Christian, he went with his philosophy to do the things that they do well in the game.
“We just tried to shore things up, just take care of the ball and push the ball,” said the coach. “The main thing I think for us is just do what we do better. That’s my philosophy on coaching.”
The Lions coach wasn’t happy with the loss but, ever the optimist, he was able to find positives in an otherwise dismal game.
Liberty Christian had the same number of shots in the first half as its counterpart, it just couldn’t get them to drop.
“I told them in the locker room that they were getting the shots,” said Lions coach Paul Jessup. “Everyone knows, who’s been around long enough, knows that sometimes, some nights you just can’t hit shots. We were getting them. We were getting the 10-footers and layups. I was extremely proud of them.”
Jessup said that his team knows that they aren’t always going to shoot such a low percentage. He added they were upbeat and taking the loss in stride.
“We were laughing and joking (after the game), and not that we were happy with the loss but we understand we did things better tonight,” he said. “We grew tonight. We had our effort tonight, and we knew that shots just weren’t going down.”
Liberty Christian was led in scoring by Briana Ayers with seven points.