It was supposed to be "the girls basketball game of the year" according to one Wichita news website, but all the hype going around really didn't pan out as the #3 ranked in 1A (div. I) St. John Lady Tigers dismantled the #2 ranked in 1A (div.II) Norwich Eagles 46-17 Tuesday evening at St. John.
From the start, the Lady Tigers were in complete control, taking a 11-1 lead, the St. John gals "doing their thing" on defense, especially on Norwich's main scorer keeping her scoreless. And while the Lady Tigers' defense did its part by forcing five Norwich turnovers, St. John's offense did miss a few wide open layups which could have put the game away early on.
Norwich scored their first basket with 26 seconds left on the clock.
In the second quarter leading 11-3, starting out, St. John did not have a good four minutes, the Eagles scoring eight straight and foul trouble plaguing the Lady Tigers - their two big men, Teresa Christie and Alexis Witt whistled for three fouls each.
The Lady Tigers' defense recouped, forcing eight Eagle turnovers for the quarter, widened their lead and went into half-time leading 21-12.
When asked what he told his players during half-time, St. John's head coach Danny Smith said, "I really didn't have much to say to these girls. They were mad at themselves at the way they played, the number of fouls they had, and I knew they would take care of business coming back out on the court. And they did, and played hard. We had two girls hit two quick three's. Our players played defense really hard and stayed on them - that seemed to wear them down a little. We had planned it that way going into the game."
The Tigers came out in the second half playing much better ball, St. Johns's defense allowing just five Norwich points for the half.
The Lady Tigers came out and quicklly canned two, 3-pointers, Jessica Hanson and Tia Smith each making one. Morgan Osborne also canned a three and two more baskets. Jamie Waters made a basket and free throw - the score going into the final quarter, with the Tigers leading 37-14.
Teresa Christie started things out in the fourth quarter getting St. John's first points. Osborne hit her second 3-pointer, and Witt and Waters each made a basket. With 1:29 left on a running clock, St. John head coach Danny Smith emptied his bench.
St. John won the game going away 46-17.
"We don't care all that much about rankings, but its nice to get the win after having our first loss last week," said Smith. We lost to a good Wichita South team. It was tough going into overtime and losing by two, but coming out here, playing better in the second half and getting the win was what we wanted to do. We didn't play our greatest, but we did play hard."
Osborne had a good night shooting, making 9-13. As a team, St. John made 48 percent of their 2-point shots.
"Scoring doesn't really matter to me," said Osborne. "Its the end that matters. Defense is "the name of our game' and if we don't play it well, its hard for us to score. Good defense really improves our offense, then everybody comes around and scores. It gives us the opportunity for really good, open shots."
"After this we'll get back to the gym and start working even harder. We just came off a loss, and getting this win motivates us even more. That loss (to Wichita South) is still in the back of our minds. We're going to come out in practice and work hard to improve. We'll focus on taking the little things in mind and perfecting them."
And while the Eagles made 26-26 free throws in a game last week, they went 7-15 for 47 percent playing the Tigers. Could have been they were a little tired keeping up with the Tigers.
Scoring for St. John: Osborne 22, Waters 10, Witt 4, Teresa Christie 4, Smith 3, Hanson 3.
Free throws: 4-11 for 36 percent - Osborne 2, Waters 2.
Three point goals: 4 (Osborne 2, Smith 1, Hanson 1).
Turnovers: St. John 12 - Norwich 28.