GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lake-Lehman’s Zone Defense Shuts Down Northwest

January 15, 2019
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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lake-Lehman’s Zone Defense Shuts Down Northwest

LEHMAN TWP. — One shot pretty much summed up the night for Northwest.

The ball left the shooter’s hand on a floater near the foul line. It rolled around the basket at least three times, teetering toward falling through the cylinder on several occasions.

Instead, it rimmed out and landed into the hands of Lake-Lehman center Madison Borum.

That was the night for the Rangers.

Borum and Savannah Purdy combined for 30 points as the Black Knights’ zone defense was stifling, holding Northwest to single digits in three of the four quarters. The end result was a 44-25 Lehman victory in a WVC girls basketball crossover Monday night.

“We just move constantly in our zone,” said Purdy, who finished with a game-high 16 points. “We always know where everyone is going to be. We are constantly talking, covering each other’s backs. We have been playing this zone for a long time. We kind of know what each other is going to do.”

While the Black Knights’ offense was a little sluggish in the first half, Lehman’s 2-3 zone was just suffocating.

As a matter of fact, Northwest (4-2) — which only had two buckets inside the paint through the first three quarters — couldn’t quite make headway as to how to attack a zone with two aggressive guards up top and post players Borum and Claire Dougherty guarding the paint.

And it makes for a long, long night when you are constantly settling for 15-foot jumpers and long trifectas.

Northwest shot 2 of 11 in the first quarter, missing four wide-open 3-pointers in the first four minutes, and followed it up by connecting on just 2 of 12 in the second.

“We were passive, trying to figure that zone. They are so long and so big, and their guards are active at the top,” Northwest head coach Scott Miner said. “As I told them at halftime, we got some good looks, but couldn’t find a way to put it through the basket. That really slowed our aggression offensively. We tried to stay with it, but it was difficult to go against their half-court defense constantly. It’s brutal. They are just so good defensively. They are a handful because they have a lot of athletes. Tonight was just one of those nights where the ball didn’t go in.”

It didn’t get much better for the Rangers in the third quarter, sinking just two shots from the floor. Now, add to the fact Lehman’s offense was starting to click into gear. Corinna Scoblick dropped a 3-pointer from the wing, and followed it up with a driving layup on the baseline as Lehman jumped out to a 22-8 lead not even two minutes into the second half.

The Black Knights (7-1) used a 16-6 edge in the third quarter, hitting 7 of 13 from the floor. A Purdy old-fashioned 3-point play and a Borum offensive rebound and putback gave their team a 31-13 lead near the end of the period.

“We work really hard on our defense. And we needed it tonight because I thought we were too herky-jerky offensively. We were fortunate that we got it together in the second half,” Lehman head coach Charlie Lavan said. “We communicate so well in that zone, and we move pretty well on the ball release. That’s so big when you are playing a zone.”

Lehman’s offense didn’t click to start the game.

Borum and Purdy combined for all eight points in the opening quarter after the Knights hit just 25 percent in the period. The two seniors netted 12 of the team’s 15 first-half points to take a 15-8 lead into halftime.

But defensively, the Black Knights were on fire.

“We were just forcing bad passes in the first half,” Lavan said. “We were more patient in the second half, and we got some good cuts toward the rim. Everyone picked their game up.”

In addition to Purdy’s 16 points, Borum finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Brenna Babcock finished with a team-high seven to pace the Rangers.

“We had to pick it up after halftime,” Purdy said. “This has been a little bit of a rivalry for us because we are familiar with a lot of their girls. Last time they were in our gym, they beat us. That left a pretty bad taste in our mouth.”

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