SARDINIA — Rebounding and defense.
Eastern Brown head coach Kevin Pickerill credited his team’s prowess in those two aspects of the game as what made the difference in the No. 3 Lady Warriors 56-48 home victory over the Williamsburg Lady Wildcats.
The visitors didn’t go down quietly. Williamsburg trailed by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, only to cut the lead to five with 2:58 to play.
They would get no closer, as Eastern closed out a 56-48 win to improve to 17-0 on the season.
It was a back and forth contest early on. The Lady Warriors led 5-3 early and after a handful of ties, Eastern led 17-12 after one quarter.
Williamsburg’s Kiana Dauwe started the second quarter on a 5-0 run to bring things back even. She connected on another three-point shot late in the period to give Williamsburg a temporary 23-21 lead with 3:49 left in the half.
Eastern closed the half on a 10-2 lead, taking a 31-25 lead into the break.
The Lady Warriors’ defense clamped down in the third, forcing tough Williamsburg shots that didn’t drop. Those rebounds gave the hosts a chance to score in transition, and Eastern turned a four-point lead into a 12-point advantage in roughly two minutes.
By the end of the period, the Lady Warriors led 44-30.
The Lady Wildcats roared back in the fourth quarter thanks to a barrage of three-point baskets. Williamsburg connected on four threes in the period, two by Dauwe and two by Kirstyn Thomas. Ogden’s basket with 2:58 to play made it a five-point game.
Williamsburg had a chance to trim into the margin even further, but a missed three-point shot was rebounded by the Lady Warriors.
“We played hard,” Williamsburg head coach Mike Madsen said. “The girls made a valiant effort to come back. There’s no questioning their heart.”
Dauwe led the Lady Wildcats with 18 points. Thomas added 12 and Paige Fisher scored 10.
Fisher was one player the Lady Warriors keyed on, according to Pickerill, as Eastern Brown looked to limit Williamsburg’s second-chance opportunities.
“When they get two or three opportunities, they beat a lot of teams,” Pickerill said. “A lot of times, we were mismatched. Fisher is bigger than a lot of kids, and we were still able to box her off and keep her from getting it. She’s not one of those kids that when you box her off, she quits. She keeps going, she’s got a nose for the ball and she’s aggressive.”
Rylee Leonard led all scorers with 21 points, starting off hot with nine in the first quarter. Mackenzie Gloff closed the deal in the fourth, scoring eight of her 15 in the period.
The rebounds led to a lot of looks in transition for the Lady Warriors. That’s not always a strong suit of the team’s, according to Pickerill.
“We have a tendency to get out of rhythm and force a few things when we’re in transition,” Pickerill said. “I feel like, at the same time, we’re going to wear teams down so I try not to limit what we’re doing there. I always say, you have to have a money player, and I feel like we have a couple money players. I’m going to turn them loose, and they’ll have a few bad shots but for the most part, in the end, the outcome is going to be better.”
The victory improved Eastern Brown’s record to 17-0 this season. The team’s next two games are on the road. The Lady Warriors travel to Ripley on Thursday, January 23 and Lynchburg on Monday, January 27.
LADY WARRIORS 56, LADY WILDCATS 48
Eastern (56) — Wills 1, Pickerill 2, Frost 8, Leonard 21, Prine 5, Brown 4, Gloff 15
Williamsburg (48) — Hart 2, Thomas 12, McManus 3, Ogden 10, Fisher 3, Dauwe 18
Records: Williamsburg 11-3, Eastern Brown 17-0
Eastern’s Juanita Frost directs traffic for the Lady Warriors in the team’s win over Williamsburg on Monday, January 20, 2020.
Eastern Brown’s Mackenzie Gloff scored eight of her 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Lady Warriors.
Eastern Brown’s Rylee Leonard led all scorers with 21 points in the Lady Warriors’ win over Williamsburg on Monday, January 20, 2020.