Crofton girls cruise past Battle Creek
BATTLE CREEK — Crofton’s girls basketball team continued to roll on Thursday with a relentless defense that created numerous transition baskets in an impressive 67-42 victory over Battle Creek.
Kaley Einrem’s layup gave Class C’s No. 3 Warriors a 2-0 lead to begin the game, but then neither team could score for the next two minutes.
But Lacey Sprakel’s basket in the post, followed by a 3-pointer and layup by Josie Sanger, all within a one-minute span, opened the floodgates.
“We did a nice job of attacking the type of defense that they throw at you, which is very aggressive and a defense that goes after lots of steals and tries to create turnovers,” Crofton coach Aaron Losing said. “The key to our game was making good passes and executing and I thought we did that for the most part. We shot the ball well.”
Make that very well as the Warriors finished the night 28 for 52 from the field, 53.8 percent.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming into it,” Battle Creek coach Kyle Schmidt said. “Then you start the game and you struggle offensively. We had a couple layups and a couple things where we could have got ourselves going and we ended up not converting those. It kind of snowballed on us for a little bit and it took us a while to get going again.”
Crofton led 18-4 after one period and opened the second on an 11-7 run. The Warriors’ defense forced Battle Creek into 11 first-half turnovers while outrebounding the Bravettes 20-16.
Even though Crofton led 33-17 at the half, Losing made some adjustments.
“We tried to do some things in the second half so they wouldn’t get layups and at times it went well. But they’re a very athletic team and very fast. If you’re going to be in the wrong spot against them, they’re going to make you pay,” he said.
The Warriors continued use the offensive glass to their advantage in the third quarter as three of the team’s four offensive rebounds resulted in put-back baskets.
“They were playing a zone,” Losing said, “It’s theoretically easier to attack the offensive glass against zones and we did a good job of that.”
Riley Seifert gave the home crowd something to cheer about midway though the third as she converted a three-point play, then followed it up with a steal and three-point basket.
That pulled B.C. to within 40-26, but the 14-point margin was the closest the Bravettes could get to the lead for the remainder of the game.
After opening the season with five straight victories, Battle Creek has lost three of its last four to a trio of solid teams in Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, Ponca and now Crofton.
Schmidt said his players are learning a lot about themselves.
“We’re learning that we’re not quite at the level we want to be at yet,” he said. “We’ve got some room to improve. I told the girls, ‘It’s a big challenge,’ and I know they’re going to accept it and we’re just going to keep getting better.”
Losing said his Warriors are preparing for a January grind. “We had seven days off with the moratorium and two days of snowstorms, so we should be rested up, but you also kind of have to play your way back into basketball shape,” he said.
Sprakel led the Warriors with game-high 18 points while Sanger added 11 and Einrem 10.
Seifert was the only Bravette in double figures with 14. Teammate BriAnna Zohner had nine.
Crofton was to have played Class B South Sioux City on Friday at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City while Battle Creek was to have played at Norfolk Catholic.
Crofton 18 15 19 15 — 67
Battle Creek 4 13 11 14 — 42
CROFTON (9-2): Alexis Folkers 1 0-1 2; Danielle Steffen 2 0-0 4; Josie Sanger 4 1-2 11; Kaley Einrem 4 0-0 10; Allie Dahl 0 1-2 1; Aubree Potts 1 0-0 2; Ella Wragge 1 0-0 2; Alexis Arens 3 0-0 6; Ryah Ostermeyer 2 2-2 6; Keirra Vornhagen 1 0-0 2; Ashley Tramp 1 0-0 3; Lacey Sprakel 8 2-2 18; Totals 28 6-9 67.
BATTLE CREEK (6-3): Shelby Obst 2 0-0 5; MaKenna Taake 0 1-3 1; Madeline Taake 0 0-0 0; Tessa Kruger 1 5-8 7; Riley Seifert 5 1-1 14; BriAnna Zohner 3 2-4 9; Cora Gillespie 2 1-2 5; Rachel Schlote 0 1-2 1; Totals 13 11-20 42.
3-point field goals: Crofton 5 (Sanger 2, Einrem 2, Tramp), Battle Creek 5 (Obst, Seifert 3, Zohner); Rebounds: Crofton 34, Battle Creek 28; Field goal percentage: Crofton 28 for 52, 53.8 percent, Battle Creek 13 for 44, 29.5 percent; Turnovers: Crofton 15, Battle Creek 19.