For some teams, it’s run and gun and light up the scoreboard. For others, substitute in waves and wear down an opponent.
For the Heights boys, it’s an active zone defense. And the Falcons clearly believe in it.
“We have faith in our coach,” Heights senior Semaj Hervey said of Joe Auer. “He’s been coaching longer than we’ve been breathing. We have faith in what he says, and we just do it.”
Now any basketball foe can chip away at a team’s trust in what it’s doing defensively by making shots. But Andover Central failed to do it Saturday, hitting just nine field goals as Heights cruised to a 47-28 victory at Koch Arena.
Heights, No. 3 in the Class 5A coaches rankings, improved to 6-1 by handcuffing Central and one of the state’s top scorers, Darraja Parnell. The Jaguars (5-2) shot 23 percent from the field and were 4 of 25 from three-point range. Parnell, who came into the game averaging 23.8 points, was held to six on 2-of-10 shooting.
“Our (modus operandi) is Darraja getting it and going to the basket, and hitting open shooters,” Central coach Jesse Herrmann said. “Both of those things didn’t work real well tonight.
“We didn’t make shots and D didn’t have his best game.”
Heights didn’t play much zone when it featured Perry Ellis and racked up four consecutive state titles from 2009-12. But the post-Ellis Falcons are using it to carve an identity. Central was the second Heights opponent that failed to reach 30 points this season.
“We don’t just stand around in it,” Hervey said. “There are a lot of rules and regulations.”
The Falcons, who got 13 points from Hervey and 10 from junior Davon Gill, also struggled early. The score was tied at 5 after the first quarter.
But by mixing one- and two-guard fronts, and occasionally trapping on the perimeter, Heights kept the heat on the Jaguars. Central shot 14 percent in the first half (3 of 21) and trailed 18-10 after the Falcons scored twice in the final 20 seconds of the second quarter, including a shot by Hervey at the buzzer after a Jaguar turnover.
“Neither team shot it very well,” Auer said. “But the big thing for us was limiting them to one shot. It reminded me of a typical game at this place when the kids aren’t used to playing here.”
Parnell, who had two first-half dunks, didn’t score in the second half. And Heights pulled away with an efficient, 21-point third quarter in which six players scored. Chris Lowe, Davis Bahner and Marquis McCray hit three-pointers during the quarter as Heights stretched its advantage to 39-20.
Cole Taylor led Central with 11 points, hitting 3 of 11 three-pointers. Heights, meanwhile, lowered its season defensive scoring average to 40.1 points.
“We have never really coached zone until the last 2½ years,” Auer said. “We’ve done it a little bit periodically. But this team, it fits us.”
Wichita Heights — S. Hervey 13, D. Gill 10, C. Lowe 7, M. McCray 7, C. Ellis 5, D. Bahner 3, J. Barnes 2
Andover Central — C. Taylor 11, D. Parnell 6, R. Maddex 4, C. Taylor 3, B. Schaffer 2, I. Anthemides 2
Kapaun 52, Andover 36 – Thomas O’Connor made four three-pointers and scored 14 points as Kapaun shook off a slow start to improve to 6-1.
Paul Patton added 10 points for the Crusaders, who trailed 6-3 after the opening quarter. By halftime, Kapaun had five threes and a 26-16 lead.
Austin Brown scored eight points and Dante Butler added seven for Andover (2-5).
|Kapaun Mount Carmel||3||23||8||18||—||52|
Kapaun Mount Carmel — T. O’Connor 14, P. Patton 10, J. Hickerson 8, A. Cherne 6, B. Monty 5, C. Hope 3, L. Singer 2, C. Ocker 2, M. Lickteig 2
Andover — A. Brown 8, D. Butler 7, J. Wilson 7, E. Renoux 5, Z. Seabrook 4, C. Oberg 3, D. Short 2
Salina South 54, North 44 – Jacob Yarochowicz made two three-pointers and scored eight points in a pivotal second quarter as Salina South improved to 3-4.
The Cougars outscored North 24-5 in the second and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game. Andrew Sanders led North with eight points, all in the second half.
Wichita North — A. Sanders 11, K. Champion 10, K. Vongsakda 8, P. Hatter 6, E. Randleas 6, E. Shaw 3, K. Childress 0
Salina South — D. Hilt 13, J. Marcotte 11, T. Kochevar 11, J. Yarochowicz 10, J. Foster 5, M. Berneking 2, D. Becker 2