The Lady Trojans executed their battle scheme to perfection, while their talent and depth also became too much of an obstacle for Madison to try and overcome on its home floor Tuesday.
While scoring the game's first 10 points following tip off, Community R-VI's relentless pressure on ball handlers limited the Lady Panthers to release no more than two field goals in the first quarter of play as the Class 1 No. 3 ranked Lady Trojans marched out to a solid 24-2 lead and unknowingly at the time, they scored all the points they would have needed to secure victory.
The battle plan led to a running clock in the second half, with Community cruising to a convincing 63-13 triumph in Central Activities Conference play.
“I thought we shared the ball really well and that most everybody scored from top to bottom of our lineup. Our full-court defense was very effective in the first half creating a lot of tips and steals to give us a sizable lead, and we just went on from there,” said Community R-VI senior Natalie Thomas.
Thomas was part of a well-balanced scoring attack and netted all of her 12 points in the first half while finishing with four assists and steals during the three quarters she spent on the hardwood floor.
Halftime score was 36-4 and a running clock was executed for the fourth quarter having Community (11-1, 2-2 CAC) enjoying a 57-9 cushion at the start.
“Our girls have been doing a much better job pressuring ball handlers without fouling or sending the other team to the foul line a lot in the first half especially. We've talked a lot about us trying to put much pressure on the ball as we can defensively for the first 12 to 16 minutes of a game as we feel that plays a strength and gives us an early advantage over other teams,” said Community R-VI girls coach Bob Curtis. “This showed tonight as our pressure was good and we were not fouling. We forced a lot of turnovers and rushed Madison into making mistakes.”
Sophomore forward Alexis Welch muscled in 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and also came away with four of Community's numerous steals on the night.
Others were senior Dalaney Bowers and junior Brianna Beamer with nine points each, Kaley Diesel and Sarah Angel both came off the bench to provide seven and six points respectively. Sadie Hoyt added four and Emma Hombs made one free throw.
“Alexis Welch was really good for us around the rim. I think she scored most of her points on second chance opportunities. We were able to score a lot of our points off the dribble to the rim. We have some girls who are pretty good about attacking the basket like that,” added Lady Trojans coach Curtis.
Community girls shot well from the field making 24 of 42 attempts and went 2-for-7 from behind the arc. They made 9 of 11 free throws as well.
The Lady Panthers made 5 of 22 field goals in the game and 1 of 7 threes.
“Their ball pressure on us was good. I think we turned the ball over 25 times in the first half as they were getting many deflections and steals off of us and turning them into buckets, and the game just got away from us,” said Madison girls coach Dalton Armontrout. “Community is very talented and deep basketball team and are ranked No. 3 in the state for a reason. We saw that tonight. We knew it would be important for us to take care of the basketball and win the 50/50 battles but we did not do well with either one of them.”
Rylee Thomas, a junior, had four points for Madison (6-4, 2-1 CAC). Lexi Wolfe scored three points, and both Annika Salmons and Emily Buck chipped in two.
Due to pending wintry weather Friday, Community rescheduled its home game with New Franklin for Thursday, Jan. 16. Madison is scheduled to host Slater on Friday.