Wildcats defensive pressure too much for Washington
Putting forth a strong defensive effort is something De Soto girls coach Dwight Spencer wants to be a benchmark of his team for two reasons.
The first obviously is to stop the opponent, and the second is to ignite his team’s offense.
At De Soto’s home opener against Washington, that combination proved to be too much for the visitors. The Wildcats used a full-court man press to create numerous turnovers that led to easy first half buckets by guards Tami Crow, Kelsey Fisher and Shelbi Petty, and De Soto cruised to an easy 61-38 win.
“We helped each other on press tonight and that’s a big thing,” Spencer said. “We need to be able to continue to do that and look for places to trap. We need to work together on it, even though it’s a man-to-man press.”
Washington dressed only eight players for the varsity game and was simply overmatched. De Soto continued to press until midway through the third quarter.
“When it’s working well, it sets up everything else well,” Spencer said. “And I like it because if you don’t get that chance to double team, you’ve still got everybody accounted for and you can still just play your solid defense.”
Crow scored 14 points and junior Katie Williams added 11 to lead De Soto’s scoring attack. Fisher scored eight points and hit two three-pointers and Petty added seven points for De Soto.
Spencer said Crow, Fisher and Petty complemented each other well.
“They’re a huge key for us,” Spencer said. “When they play well, we play well. And what they eventually will understand is that the better one of them plays the easier it’s going to be for the other two. And so they’ve got to keep each other involved and they did a really good job of that tonight.”
For a while, it looked like Friday night’s home game against league foe Paola would be a continuation from Wednesday. The De Soto girls opened the game by hitting three three-pointers. Petty hit two threes and Fisher hit one to give the Wildcats an early five-point lead with four minutes to go in the first quarter.
But after that, the Wildcats’ offense scored just 13 points combined in the next two quarters and eventually lost 62-38 to the visiting Panthers.
“Paola had a lot to do with it,” Spencer said. “They play very good defense and we didn’t get the wide open nice looks and it just wasn’t quite there.”
Petty and Fisher scored 14 apiece against Paola and Jordin Burford had four points. Crow, Williams and Jesse Spencer scored two points each for De Soto. The Wildcats had trouble getting position inside and when they couldn’t hit from the perimeter, it made for a long night.
“It’s hard,” Spencer said. “We don’t have the inside game that we can score when things aren’t going well from the outside. And we didn’t really ever get into our offense where we try to penetrate and get to the basket. It just didn’t happen tonight but that’s an excellent team.”
Paola was led by a pair of 5-foot-8 seniors in Rachel Hanf and Taelor Karr. Hanf had 18 points to lead Paola and Karr scored 12. Hanf is going to play basketball at Kansas State next year and Karr is set to play at Emporia.
“There is a lot of talent on that Paola team,” Spencer said. “I thought our kids played hard and I think if we play hard good things will happen to us over the course of the year.”
Tuesday at St. James, the Wildcats lost 59-18.
“We just got out played in every part of the game,” Spencer said.
Fisher led De Soto with six points. The Wildcats will play Eudora Friday night at De Soto and will play in the Tonganoxie Invitational next week.