SPEEDWAY — Trailing 30-16 at the half, the Danville Warriors girls’ basketball team appeared to still be on holiday break. But the Warriors turned up their defensive intensity and exploded for 27 points in the third quarter on the way to pulling out a 65-57 win over host Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Danville erased the 14-point deficit using less than half of the time in the third quarter to pull ahead. By the end of the period, the Lady Warriors had fully turned the game around and held a 43-38 lead, an advantage that held up the rest of the way.
First-year Danville coach Kaley May was much happier with the intensity her team showed in the second half.
“I thought we just looked asleep in that first half,” May said. “I kind of got on (the girls) a little bit to wake them up. And they responded to perfection. I was especially pleased with rebound put backs and defensive pressure.”
One key to Danville’s victory was switching defensive strategies on Speedway’s all-time scoring leader, Allison Nash, who finished with 31 points, following a 19-point first half.
“Instead of just playing man-to-man, we face-guarded Nash to keep the ball out of her hands,” May said. “Obviously, she makes their team go, but by doing the work before she got the ball, we were able to stop their offense quite a bit.”
Danville was down 30-14 as the first half clock expired, but Warriors guard Robin Ford was fouled just before the buzzer and hit two free throws to end the first half. Those two points started a 20-0 scoring run for the Warriors.
It was evident May’s halftime talk had been effective with the way the Warriors went on the attack after the break.
Senior guard Haley Lynch ignited the Warriors with four points and three steals in the rally, while Allie Lake kept the momentum rolling as she converted a 3-point shot and a three-point play at the end of the run.
“Haley’s quickness and grit really showed as she stepped up wanting the ball,” May said. “And, Allie (Lake) face guarded Nash and shut her down, that was the key.”
Despite her extra defensive duties guarding Nash, Lake still paced the Warriors’ offensive total with 21 of her 24 points coming after the break. Maleha Motter was close behind with 19 points, 16 coming after halftime. Motter was the top force on the boards, leading everyone with 14 rebounds.
Nash added 11 rebounds to her 31 points for the Sparkplugs. Regan Hubbard recorded 11 points for the Sparkplugs.
Danville improved to 5-5 with the win. The Warriors are now off until Jan. 8th when they head to Tri-West to open the Hendricks County Tournament against Cascade.
“This (win) was a huge morale boost for us,” May said. “We had really been on a downslope lately. To see us really put it together and play team basketball was huge and gives us some confidence going into the ccounty tournament.”