MAIZE — When Goddard senior Shelby Zoglman is at the top of the Lions' zone defense, she's moving with her arms spread wide. She's got long limbs, just like teammates Kjia Hart and Hannah Puthoff, and they use them well.
That defense was key as the Lions defeated host Maize 37-36 to improve to 11-3. Puthoff ended the game with a steal.
"Oh, a perfect ending, a perfect ending," Goddard coach Lee Keller said.
Goddard got five steals from Zoglman, three from Hart and one each from Puthoff and Ashley Foss.
The Lions' defense often frustrates opponents, and they embrace the zone.
"We don't like man (defense)," Zoglman said. "We are more comfortable in a zone."
Hart added: "Our wingspan really helps. We have really long arms, and we seem to get touches on the ball. Just any kind of touch on the basketball throws off their offense."
Keller had considered using a man-to-man defense because Maize has dangerous three-point shooters in McKenzie Hartzog and Paige Lungwitz.
"But (Maize is) really quick, and we're not real quick," Keller said.
Maize was patient against the zone, making smart passes and refusing to jack up three-pointers simply to get a shot off. It paid off as Jurnee Reid scored a team-high 18 points in the lane. She also had eight rebounds.
Hartzog hit the game's only three early in the fourth. Maize was 1 of 11 from beyond the arc.
This was a defensive battle, though. Maize had a 15-14 lead at the half, and in the final period, there were seven lead changes and three ties.
Maize's defense was especially strong in the first half as it forced 11 Goddard turnovers. Lisa Tomasu had three steals, Lungwitz had two.
"They put a lot of pressure on us," Keller said. "We had trouble getting into our offense.... I thought we did a better job in the second half of relieving some pressure on (point guard) Ashley Foss."
Goddard took a 35-34 lead on Puthoff's short baseline jumper over Erin Roeser. But Roeser answered 44 seconds later with her own jumper over Puthoff.
Hart put the Lions up for good when she drove inside for the 37-36 lead.
Maize had eight seconds to try for the lead, but Puthoff snatched that away.
"They were dribbling to the corner, and I saw the girl behind me pop out," Puthoff said. "As the pass went out, I stuck my hand out. God willing, I got the ball."
As for Hart, she finished with a game-high 22 points, hitting 14 of 16 free throws and blocking a first-half Maize shot. She had missed the past two games with bronchitis and isn't 100 percent yet.
Her return was a boost for Goddard.
"I feel like all of us felt a weight with (Hart) gone," Zoglman said. "She's not 100 percent, but she still kicked butt."
Goddard (11-3) 6 8 11 12 — 37 Maize (10-3) 3 12 10 11 — 36
GODDARD: Hart 22, Puthoff 3, Zoglman 8, Foss 4. Totals 10 17-22 37.
MAIZE: McCreath 1, Hartzog 3, Roeser 5, Lungwitz 3, Reid 18. Tomasu 5, Parks 1. Totals 13 (1) 9-15 36.