Girls Basketball: Maine South’s defense stifles Grayslake Central
Updated: November 21, 2011 7:14PM
It’s hard to find fault with a couple of 30-point wins to open the season. But Maine South has bigger goals than just looking good.
No. 4 Maine South (2-0) overcame a so-so offensive performance by clamping down defensively on Grayslake Central, limiting the Rams to just nine first-half points on its way to a 55-21 victory Saturday at the Bison Classic hosted by Buffalo Grove.
“Our top four guards are too good to be cold for a long period of time, and if one girl starts making shots we try to feed her,” Maine South coach Mark Smith said. “We wanted to take advantage of our high-low early in the game and we turned it over about three times and missed a couple layups.
“I thought we executed well, we just turned the ball over a little bit and didn’t shoot particularly well,” he added. “But we played really well all night defensively. We take a lot of pride in getting on the floor for loose balls and we don’t blow the whistle at practices until somebody wins the basketball.”
Leading 5-4 midway through the first quarter, Maine South went on a 21-5 run to close the first half. A three-pointer by Mackenzie Duffy (seven points) and her putback with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter gave the Hawks a 26-9 halftime lead.
“In our first game, our offense was so fast and going really, really well,” Maine South’s Michelle Maher said. “But in this game, our defense really picked up. What did we give up? Nine points in the first half? When we put offense and defense together, we’ll be really, really good.”
Maher scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the third quarter as Maine South opened with 12 unanswered points. 6-foot-3 junior Jacqui Grant (eight rebounds, four blocks) also added 14 points. Regan Carmichael came off the bench to chip in seven points and five rebounds.
“We have a seven-girl rotation, so when the game is a little lopsided we try to go deep on the bench,” Smith said. “We’re looking for an eighth girl to step up and be part of our eight-girl rotation that we might need when we get into conference play.”
Claire Brennan led Grayslake Central (0-2) with eight points and Skyler Jessop and sophomore Carson Sparkman both had four.
“We got some kids who are inexperienced and are learning,” Grayslake Central coach Steve Ikenn said. “That’s OK. We’re learning a lot about what you need to do when you play a team like that. They’re (Maine South) a very, very talented, well-coached team.
“I thought we played very tentatively, very passively in the first half, and you can’t do that against a good team,” he added. “In the the second half, I thought we played with a lot more aggressiveness. I’m never pleased with a loss, especially one like that, but I’m pleased the way we responded at halftime.”