MIDDLETOWN — The Shenandoah Lady Raiders rode through a rough patch in their schedule as they dropped three straight games to close out January, but have bounced back with two consecutive in the “W” column.
The latest came in Thursday night’s regular-season finale against Daleville, 51-24.
The back-to-back wins gives Shenandoah (14-4) some momentum heading into IHSAA sectional play that begins next week.
“We knew January was going to be tough, we had a pretty tough stretch of games there,” Shenandoah coach Chelsea Kilian said. “With a young team I thought it was important to get on the winning track before sectional.”
The Raiders get a first round bye in next week’s sectionals. They will take the court on Feb. 14 in the second round of Class 2A Sectional 40 to face the winner of the Lapel-Winchester first round game that will be played on Tuesday.
Daleville will visit Cowen on Tuesday in Class 1A Sectional No. 55, with the tip scheduled at 6 p.m.
But, the task at hand for Shenandoah was Daleville (4-14), and it didn’t take long to see that the Broncos were overmatched by the Raiders’ size and skill.
Shenandoah jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the game’s first five minutes. Eight of the points were a result of off five Daleville turnovers — a problem that plagued them all night.
Daleville ended with 26 turnovers, Shenandoah committed half that amount.
“That was part of the gameplan,” Kilian said. “I think our kids put a lot of pressure on the ball. We wanted a quick start and converted on offence and defense quickly.”
Daleville’s turnover issues were not just about bad passes or Shenandoah’s pickpocket skills, but the Raiders’ full-court press caused the Broncos to be called for three, 10-second backcourt violations.
“It was defensive pressure,” Shenandoah’s Rachel Krathwohl said was the reason for the high number of forced turnovers. “ We have pretty good guards that can get out there and do stuff.”
The junior center led the way for the Raiders with 16 points, five in the first quarter, and eight rebounds. Junior guard Micah Kimball added nine points.
Shenandoah kept Daleville from reaching double-digit point totals in each of the four quarters. It also took the Broncos an average of 3:35 to record their first bucket of each quarter.
Senior point-guard Brandi Granger led the Broncos with nine points, all from beyond the arc. She is the teams leading scorer, averaging 14.3 points, but was not in the starting lineup due to team rules according to Daleville coach Jeff Wickersham. Junior guard Hannah McKinney was also not in Wickersham’s starting five.
Both came into the game with 6:39 to play in the first.
“Anytime you can get on the court and work on things you can work on is good for the team,” Kilian said. “Daleville gave us a good look with some man-to-man, and some things we need to work on, and that defiantly helped us.