Classic in the Country

A switch in time leads to Lady Knights CitC win over Chipps

Kylie Leppla handled the pressure and Lady Knights get a huge win

In olden days, a switch was used to provide some guidance and discipline to youngsters who exhibited wayward tendencies.

In Lisa Ogi’s game scheme, the switch was used in a very different way, but her Lady Knights proved that using a good old-fashioned switch can be extremely useful still today.

In employing an amazing switching scheme on defense, West Holmes ground out a 44-40 victory over Chippewa in game two of Classic in the Country.

When Ogi’s West Holmes Lady Knights play a good team, they want to slow everything way down, employee grind-it-out, hard-nosed defense and keep things on the low scoring side. They were able to do just that by having their guards switch at a relentless pace to shut down the high-scoring Chipps.

It led to a pace and a flow to the game that was very inductive to their style, and kept things close.

“It was pretty evident. Their physicality hurt us a lot,” said Chippewa coach Denny Schrock. “They disrupted our defensive flow.”

It was a sluggish first quarter in which West Holmes couldn’t hang onto the ball and Chippewa couldn’t throw it in the ocean. Sammie Hall’s and-one gave West Holmes a 3-2 lead, and the Lady Knights led 5-2 when Kacie Leppla scored inside. Chippewa got to within 5-4 at the end of the first quarter on a pair of free throws by Maddie Pappas, and the pace of the game was all West Holmes.

“They were taller than us at every position, so we felt like we had to be physical with them,” Ogi said.

Chippewa continued to zone press West Holmes way out on top, forcing more turnovers in the second quarter, but West Holmes began to inch ahead. After Celina Kontz gave the Chipps a 7-5 lead on a 3-pointer, West Holmes went on 7-0 run when Hall hit a three ball and scored inside and Jess Marmet scored on two free throws. But Chippewa came roaring back on a 7-0 run of its own to take a 15-12 edge.

Kaylor Perone scored inside to ebb the tide, but the Chipps got a free throw then a bucket from Grace Lindquist to go up 18-124 before Hall drove for two. Hall’s blocked shot at the end of the half left the Lady Knights trailing 18-16 at the break.

The Lady Knights came out on fire at the break, and it was Kaylor Perone who shot them out to an 8-0 run. Alexis Hunter hit a trey for West Holmes but Chippewa came back to within four at 28-24. The teams traded hoops until Hall canned a triple before the end of the quarter to give West Holmes a 33-26 lead with eight minutes left.

What was truly impressive is that West Holmes’ defense, or, more specifically Hall and Perone, held Div. I-bound Taylor Richardson to just two points on the game, a monumental achievement.

“I have played against Taylor in AAU ball, and I knew some of her tendencies, so that helped defend her on-ball,” Hall said. “But it was a really great team effort defensively that was the real difference.”

“I just tried to give Sammie as much help as I could whenever we switched,” Perone said. “We really worked hard as a team to shut them down and take away their shots.”

Hall scored on a put-back and Kylie Leppla it two free throws to push the lead to 11 at 37-26. With three minutes to play, West Holmes would take the air out of the ball and run clock, but when it got to the free throw line, it was ice cold, making just 5-of-16 free throws down the stretch.

That allowed the Chipps to creep back in, and when Samantha Storad drilled a 3-pointer with 1:24 to play, the Lady Knights’ lead was down to 41-36. The two teams traded turnovers and missed free throws, before Hall and Kylie Leppla both split a pair to make it 43-36.

Maddie Pappas eventually made a driving lay-up to trim the deficit to 44-40, but time had run out on the Chipps.

West Holmes continued its impressive display of switching on defense, and amazingly, it is a defensive deployment that Ogi’s group rarely uses.

“We really don’t do a lot of switching, because we like to try to fight over the top of screens,” Ogi said. “But they are so much longer than us at every position. It was more important that we had a hand in someone’s face because every one of them can shoot.”

Hall led all scorers with 19 points, added a team-high seven rebounds and added two blocks, but it was her defensive effort that reigned supreme in this effort. Perone added 10 points and four boards, while Kylie Leppla scored six points, recorded seven rebounds and astoundingly had just one turnover against Chippewa’s fierce trapping zone defense.

Celina Koncz scored 10 points to lead Chippewa, while Lexi Karaovic scored seven points and hauled down eight boards.

Hall said playing under the bright lights of the Classic was a treat and something that she looked forward to doing.

“This is such a great atmosphere to play in,” Hall said. “You can either crumble under the pressure or step up and face the challenge.”

The win improved West Holmes to 11-2 on the year, as it ran its current win streak to seven games.

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