BROWNSBURG — Despite 35 turnovers and an inability to inbound or break a full court press for prolonged stretches of its game against Faith Christian Thursday night, the Bethesda girls’ basketball team improved to 5-4 on the season.
Bethesda overcame several obstacles throughout the contest and came away with a 45-39 victory over the visiting Eagles; it’s first versus Faith in over three years. Faith also handed Bethesda two losses last year, each by over 20 points.
“Tonight, the resilience was really important,” Bethesda coach Shane Lightfoot said. “This is a group that needs to start learning to believe in itself and believe in each other and I think they are starting to do that. This is a really, really good win for us.”
Led by freshman forward Jenna Warrick, Bethesda pulled away in the fourth quarter. Warrick scored 14 of Bethesda’s 16 points in the fourth, including a perfect 10 of 10 performance from the line.
“I always used to be pretty bad at free throws, but then my brother spent some time with me on them and taught me how to shoot them right,” Warrick said. “I think that practice had a lot of impact tonight.”
Warrick finished the night with 20 points and 14 rebounds and proved invaluable down the stretch.
“Jenna really is probably our best athlete and the further we get into the season the more we depend upon her to do all the little things necessary for us to win,” Lightfoot said.
Faith opened on a 6-2 run sparked by senior Jayma Benda’s six points. Bethesda answered, as senior Lissie Busch capped an 8-0 run to end the first with a layup.
With Bethesda holding a 10-6 lead entering the second, Faith adjusted its strategy. The Eagles platooned five girls in with each substitution, giving their team fresh legs as they employed a full court press.
Bethesda had trouble getting the ball in on numerous occasions and turnovers ensued, but Faith could not convert and Bethesda went to halftime with a slim 16-15 lead.
Faith opened the third on a 4-0 run before Bethesda’s Emily Hayden stepped up and provided a boost with four consecutive baskets, giving the Patriots a 24-20 lead.
“Hayden was in here this morning working on shooting and I told her she’s my safety blanket,” Lightfoot said. “I feel more comfortable having her in the game, but she has to make lay ups and has struggled all year with that. She worked on it and it paid off.”
Heading into the fourth, Bethesda held a 29-24 advantage and Faith took a 30-29 lead before a basket by Warrick gave the Patriots a lead.
Faith again pulled away, but Warrick hit four consecutive free throws and capped the run with a basket for a 37-35 advantage with 3:35 remaining and did not relinquish the lead again.
Warrick led all scorers and Hayden dropped in 12 for Bethesda.
“We can’t continue to win and be fortunate enough to win with that many turnovers again,” Lightfoot said. “We continued to battle and didn’t quit and we have goals to reach and this is an excellent stepping stone to get there eventually.”
— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.