You never know what you are going to get from a young basketball team from quarter to quarter, much less game to game.
On Monday night, Peters Township head coach Chris Lebakken experienced all the highs and lows of coaching a very young team as the Indians erased a nine-point third quarter deficit and came back to defeat Washington, 53-42, in a non-section high school girls basketball game.
“This is a very exciting team to coach,” said Lebakken, whose team has eight freshmen and two sophomores. “We really don’t know what to expect, because we are so young. So when we do things well, it is very exciting.”
Nothing went well for Peters Township (2-1) early as Wash High (1-2) went on an 11-2 run to start the second quarter, extending its lead to 21-12. Mya Gordon scored eight of the Prexies first 10 points and finished with a team-high 17 points.
The Prexies got off to a good start in the third period as well but Lebakken ran subs in almost like a hockey game, constantly rotating fresh bodies and ultimately wearing Washington, playing its third game in three days, down.
“We ran out of gas midway through the third quarter,” said Washington coach Mike Maltony. “We didn’t have the legs and weren’t rebounding and getting to loose balls. We put up a fight against three very good team in a row, but we just hit a wall and that was it.”
Midway through the third quarter, Lebakken substituted for all five of his regulars and Peters Township took off.
Freshman Ally Wockley drained a three-pointer which gave the Indians life, and they turned up the intensity on the defensive end of the floor, forcing the Prexies into numerous turnovers.
“When I made that substitution, I put in four freshmen,” said Lebakken. “We had to try to get something going. Ally hit a big shot that gave us some life. She’s a freshman that hasn’t played yet this year, but stepped up and made some big contributions.”
After that, freshman Madison Kerr and sophomore Bridget Loether took the game over. Both scored several key fourth quarter baskets to help Peters Township pad its lead.
Kerr finished with a game-high 19 points, including knocking down 11 clutch free-throws and Loether chipped in 13.
All but six of the Indians’ 53 points came from freshmen and sophomores, including a big eight points off the bench from freshman Rachel Corrigan.
“When we play hard, the right things happen for us,” said Lebakken. “That fourth quarter, we played our hardest. We started attacking the basket and getting to the line more. That last quarter, our defensive intensity was outstanding, which made us better at the offensive end.”
Washington had trouble getting top scorer India March many looks at the basket as she finished with only four points, and also had to go without starter Andrea Sharp, who suffered a knee injury in the first half.
In addition to the 17 points from Gordon, Taylor Ellis finished with nine.
“India plays so hard, and I think she was a little worn down,” said Maltony. “Once Andrea went down it was a mental thing. Everyone wanted to see her back on the floor. I had to go a little deeper in the bench than I may have planned, but ultimately it was just a matter of having nothing left in the tank.”