Whether it’s by forcing an errant pass or forcing a difficult shot, Greenon’s girls basketball team has one goal on defense. Get the ball, go the other way in a hurry and score an easy basket.
The Knights did that for at least a dozen points Saturday at Northwestern and even missed a few fast-break shots they could have made. But the fast-break points the Knights did score were more than enough in a 49-35 victory to stay in first place in the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division.
“When we get out and run we’re pretty good,” Greenon coach Gary Falkenbach said. “That’s what we’ve been doing.”
Junior point guard Lianne Masquelier orchestrates the break, and Falkenbach said she is seeing the floor well. Her steal and deft pass to Jennifer Miller for a layup put the Knights up 15-4 late in the first quarter.
“We try to see if we can get teams worn out and keep pushing it so we can get easy layups,” Masquelier said. “I just make sure that everyone’s in their spot, and we communicate really well as a team.”
The Knights (9-3, 5-0) are dominating their division with an average victory margin of 15.6 points the first time through. Only Kenton Ridge has gotten out of the 40s against the Knights.
“These kids have believed the last four years that it starts on the defensive end,” Falkenbach said. “I think we’re the best defensive team in the CBC. We’re pretty good when we run set stuff, and we usually get what we want out of it. But we’re better when we run off the defense.”
The open shots that came in transition and half-court plays led to balanced scoring. Center Heather Slaughter scored six first-quarter points and finished with a game-high 14. Jenna Robertson added 11, Masquelier 10 and Jennifer Miller nine.
Greenon’s aggressive man-to-man half-court defense and full-court pressure forced 13 turnovers in the first half and led to a 29-16 lead.
“Execution and mistakes are usually the name of the game when it comes to a loss, and that’s what got us today,” Northwestern coach Drew Snyder said. “You can tell they watched us because that ball pressure definitely affects us. We’ve got to learn how to handle ball pressure or it’s going to come a lot more frequently.”
The young Warriors (3-9, 0-5) were hampered by the absence of post players Destiny McMurtry and Kelsey Crooks because of illness. Freshman forward Katelyn Partlow led the Warriors with 12 points.