Smithton girl’s basketball began practicing a zone defense near the end of December – the first look of its kind under head coach Bryan Werner.
The Lady Tigers (7-7) introduced the scheme Tuesday, Jan. 17 hosting La Monte with glowing results, separating from the Lady Vikings early and ballooning its lead to 30 points in a 56-28 victory at Smithton.
Jenna Snapp led Smithton with 15 points, while Hannah Eisenbarth and Audrey Williams scored 12 points each. All but two of Williams’ points came in the third, when the Lady Tigers outscored La Monte 25-8.
The Lady Tigers made a point to disrupt, interfere or swat La Monte entry passes to the paint, producing more than a dozen turnovers.
Werner said he was proud of the Smithton defense Tuesday, and said turnovers were the key that started its engine on offense.
“Our defensive intensity leads to our offense,” Werner said. “We’re just one of those teams … We got some turnovers on defense and were able to finish on the other end.”
Madison Brown broke a 7-point tie with a midrange jumper in the first quarter. She finished with six points and said the Smithton defensive pressure prompted the offensive outburst.
“I think once we put a lot of effort into our defense, it pumps us up,” Brown said. “We moved the ball more and it came naturally. Instead of trying to force things to happen, we didn’t think about it.”
In the second quarter, Smithton’s starters returned with a 12-8 lead after a 3-minute break. The Lady Tigers extended the lead to 22-8 before an Elanor Oehrke three ended the La Monte scoreless streak.
Oehrke led La Monte with 14 points on four 3-pointers.
Lady Vikings head coach Donnie Mayes called timeout trailing 30-11 and 41-17 in the third quarter, but the gashes in La Monte’s defense failed to clot.
Entering the fourth quarter, Smithton led by 30 points.
Smithton hosts Sacred Heart 5 p.m. Friday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2