By Corey B. Elliot
BEECH GROVE — The Danville Warriors (12-10) took the buzz out of the Beech Grove Hornets (3-18) with a 53-30 win last night, advancing them into Saturday night’s sectional final.
A persistent and pesky defensive effort by the Warriors led to 27 Hornets turnovers, 15 of which were Danville steals that resulted in 19 Warrior points. Having already beat Beech Grove in the regular season 62-37, Danville coach Terry Hammons was confident his girls would follow up with a repeat performance.
“When we played them earlier this year we got them to turn the ball over so that was something we used to set the stage to try and take any bit of their confidence out,” Hammons said. “A team like that you have to get them shaky early and we got them to turn it over so they weren’t getting any shots at the basket.”
When Beech Grove was able to shoot it, it was hardly a success. The Hornets went a meager 12 of 51 from the floor while Danville was a little bit better, hitting 24 of 60. At the end of a very sloppy first quarter, the Warriors led by six as both teams were still trying to settle down and get into a flow of the contest. Danville found its rhythm and clicked in the second quarter collectively outscoring the Hornets 19-6 and led 31-12 at half.
“That’s the way we’ve been all year,” Hammons said. “We may have one person that spikes up and scores 17 or 18 points in a game but that’s the way it’s been, by committee. Everybody has taken their turn being the leading scorer as opposed to having that one, main person that is our leading scorer.”
Junior Chelsea Gould led Danville on this occasion, finishing with 11 points to add to her five steals while sophomores Cami Collins, Morgan Bear and freshman Hannah Newby all contributed eight points.
By the end of the third quarter, the game was all but over as the Warriors led, 47-20. With a chance to do something special in Saturday night’s sectional final only one quarter away and the thought of playing at home as the regional hosts, coach Hammons knew his Warriors were still focused on the task at hand.
“When you get in the sectional tournament all that matter is that you win the game, not by how many, but that you win and now we are playing for something tomorrow night,” Hammons said. “We told them that every kid grows up dreaming about cutting the nets down and now we are in that final game, be proud of your efforts but be sure you’re ready to go tomorrow night.”
Danville will certainly enjoy its victory tonight but not for long. Hammons will have his Warriors up and at it tomorrow preparing and following the one-game-at-a-time motto that has fueled this tournament run.
“We will watch this second game and see what both teams are doing so that we can be ready and anticipate what they’re going to be doing,” Hammons said. “We’ll probably do our walk through later in the afternoon and then we will talk about things before getting on the bus to head over here and play so hopefully they are excited tonight but ready to go tomorrow.”