SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — The Indians knew coming in that they would have to use their press to their advantage.
They did just that in the first quarter as Shawnee forced 20 turnovers in the period and 29 for the game as it cruised to a 91-66 victory against Kenton in a Western Buckeye League girls basketball showdown at Shawnee’s Lappin Gymnasium.
Shawnee (7-2, 3-0 WBL) is now tied with St. Mary’s atop the WBL.
Kenton (7-2, 1-2 WBL) started to break the press late in the second quarter, as Morgan Tudor found a gap and her teammates hit her for several easy buckets. Tudor had 12 of her 16 points in the first half.
“We had to make adjustments,” Shawnee coach Jeff Heistan said. “We were rotating everybody with traps and rotation and they ended up getting easy layups. We went to a center fielder and it was more successful for us.”
On offense, Shawnee had four players in double figures and was led by Samantha Dervisevic’s career-high 29 points. Dervisevic was almost unstoppable from the field shooting 11-14 overall, including 5-of-5 on three pointers.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement,” Dervisevic said. “We played the press and they seemed to crack. We did a trap and rotate and we came up with easy steals and found easy buckets.”
The Indians’ Liz Aller also had a big night on the offensive end. Aller came off the bench and made 6-of-9 on three pointers to finish with 20 points. She knew if she hit one, she could hit a lot more.
“I know if I hit a few in a row, I get pumped,” Aller said. “The girls (Kenton) were coming out farther on me but I knew I had enough room to shoot.”
Despite the turnover struggles, the Wildcats kept it close as they were only down 48-37 at halftime. That’s when Shawnee got hot.
Kenton made the first shot of the third quarter as Jackie Stalder hit the layup. The Indians answered back as Hailey Griffo hit a shot to make it 50-39 with Shawnee on top. After another Kenton basket by Tudor, Shawnee kept attacking and outscored the Wildcats 19-13 in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Aller hit three of her six 3-pointers to keep Kenton out of reach. Shawnee outscored Kenton 24-16 in the final period to capture the victory.
Seniors Hailey Griffo had 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Jessica Evans also added 12 points.
“We knew coming in that Shawnee could flat out shoot the ball,” Kenton coach Ryan Miller said. “We tried to play up tempo like them but we aren’t quite run-and-gun like them, but we can learn from them.”
Kenton was led by Jackie Stalder’s 17 points. Tudor had 16 and senior Mckenzie Butterman added 15.
Heistan was impressed with Kenton’s improvement.
“I was tremendously impressed with Kenton’s staff and with their kids,” Heistan said. “They did a nice job and played hard.”
Kenton coach Ryan Miller knows that his team can learn from a loss like this.
“Our girls will learn how to dig down and keep playing,” Miller said. “In the locker room after the game we talked about life. You will always be dealt adversity. We need to find where the cracks are. They now know not to run from adversity.”