Northwestern coach Drew Snyder faced the team Wednesday night that he regards as a model for his girls basketball team.
The Warriors drew top-seeded and always tough Carroll in the first round of the Division II sectional at Tecumseh High School. And the Patriots dominated the Warriors with full-court defense and superior shooting for a 64-38 victory.
The Warriors improved from one win last year to 7-15 this year with a young team and no senior starters. The next step is a winning season.
“If we can get more dedication out of the girls in the summer and they can put as much intensity and work into this sport as they do their main sports, we’ll turn into a much better team,” Snyder said.
Forward Katelyn Partlow, who scored eight points, was one of two freshman to start and four to play. A sophomore and two juniors also started, and senior Destiny McMurtry led the team with 12 points. Partlow said she plans to prepare well for next season.
“We need to have effort and care a little more,” Partlow said.
Carroll (18-5) is a No. 1 seed again and plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals at Tecumseh against the winner of tonight’s game between No. 7 Ben Logan and No. 8 Urbana. Getting the No. 1 seed and playing on the first night in favor of taking a bye is the way Patriots’ coach Rob Berry likes it.
“We feel like the game conditions are more valuable for us,” Berry said. “We’d rather play against somebody else. We go pretty hard in practice, and it gets old beating on each other.”
So the Patriots took it to the Warriors early for a 16-2 lead that grew to 35-16 at halftime, but Berry wasn’t quite satisfied with the defense. The Patriots pressed the Warriors hard to start the second half and scored 14 straight points in under three minutes.
“I knew that if we couldn’t break the press that it was going to be an uphill battle,” Snyder said. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year. When we got into the half court with them it was a different game, but the press stifles us.”
Susan Wollenhaupt led the Patriots with 13 points, Ciara Poppa and Madison Schroeder had 11 each and Carolina Austria came off the bench to score 10.
“Our starters didn’t play that many minutes tonight,” Berry said, “but when they did they did a real good job of controlling tempo.”