ANDALE — Andale's girls went back to the basics en route to a 45-34 win over Wellington on Friday night.
The Indians set the tempo early with their stifling defense and complemented their efforts by boxing out to secure the victory with rebounds and second-chance points.
"The girls rebounded big and really did it without much prep," Andale coach Mark Kershcen said. "We played last night and showed up and rebounded like that. We got to the free-throw line, which was what we needed to do."
Andale (9-5, 4-2) dominated Wellington on the offensive boards, scoring 16 second-chance points. To make matters worse, a majority of Wellington's misses were off of three-point shots, and Andale constantly found itself in position to grab a board. That resulted in a 19-12 lead for Andale heading into the second half. Wellington never recovered from that early deficit.
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"That was big," said Andale senior guard Denise Blasi. "This team you need to rebound against, because they are a great shooting team. Without all of those rebounds I don't think we would have been in the game."
Andale's Jill Ast provided big offense off of those offensive rebounds. She scored a team-high 14 points, 10 in the first half. Wellington's Erianne Adams tried to keep Wellington in the game with her game-high 16-point performance, but every time the Crusaders got within striking distance Andale pulled away.
Andale's defense forced Wellington to take shots out of its comfort zone in the first half. Wellington's offense is contingent on quick cuts to the basket and kick-outs to accurate three-point shooters like Dani Anderson and Ashlyn Whaley. Andale was able to anticipate, hedge on passes and cut off Wellington's drivers. The Crusaders (12-4, 4-2) had to take tough shots and they didn't fall.
Wellington coach Kevin Hackerott said his team's bad shooting night could have been due to tired legs after playing a makeup game against Buhler on Thursday, but he added that Andale's defense had a lot to do with it, too.
"We shot the ball pretty well last night but couldn't do anything here," Hackerott said. "But we have to give a lot of extra credit to Andale, though. They played pretty good defense. Once they got rolling on that side of the ball we couldn't get it going."
Andale has won two games in a row and looks to be coming together at the right time. Its next game is Monday against Rose Hill, and that one is followed by a Tuesday matchup against a tough Circle team that lost to Wellington earlier in the season.
"We're feeling pretty good about ourselves," Blasi said. "We've been doing a lot of team bonding and we're connecting better with each. That's why I think we've got our wins.
Wellington6 6 7 15 — 34 Andale11 8 10 16 — 45
WELLINGTON: Cornejo 6, Amrein 2, Kimball 3, Adams 16, Anderson 7. Totals 13 (7) 1-2 34. Totals 13 (7) 1-2 34.
ANDALE: Martin 7, VenJohn 2, Lies 3, Orth 1, Blasi 9, Hein 2, Macari 7, Ast 14. Totals 13 (1) 18-32 45.