Council Rock North 40, Council Rock South 35
For those who thought Rock North would roll to another lopsided win when the Indians traveled to CR South on Wednesday night, guess again.
The Golden Hawks – whose trademark has been their defense - had other ideas and rallied from a 16-10 halftime deficit to take a 23-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Indians came roaring back to outscore the Golden Hawks 20-12 in the fourth quarter, riding the deadly foul shooting of the Gold sisters – Lauren and Devin, who connected on a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe in the quarter. Lauren was 6-for-6 while Devin, who had 10 points in the quarter, was 4-for-4. Overall, the Indians buried 13-of-14 from the foul line.
“Everybody in the gym expected us to lose,” Rock South coach Monica Stolic said. “We actually had a chance to win.
“The effort was definitely there.”
Rock North coach Lou Palkovics – whose teams has been averaging close to 60 points a game in its first seven wins – tipped his hat to the Golden Hawks.
“I give them the credit,” the Indians’ coach said. “When a coach is a little confused on what he should run, you’ve got to give credit to the other team.
“Nothing was working real well for us on offense. We are a team that expects to get a high percentage of our offense off our defense, and when you’re not scoring, you’re not pressing, you’re not doing a lot of things that we usually do, and that was a problem for us.”
“I was worried because they’re such a high-scoring team,” Stolic said. “They get layup after layup after layup on their press.”
That certainly wasn’t the case on Wednesday night as the Indians connected on just 1-of-11 shots from the field in a third quarter that saw the Golden Hawks go on a 13-4 tear.
“We actually scored on our first possession of the quarter, so it was 18-10, and I’m thinking, ‘Okay, here we go. We’ll put them away now,’” Palkovics said. “We were definitely paying more attention to Wheatley, and (Brooke) Beidler stepped up and hit a couple, and a girl off the bench (Taylor Dillon) hit a big three.”
Beidler, who averages four points a game, scored nine points on Wednesday - seven in the third quarter.
“She’s one of those players that sets the screens and helps with the leadership, but she really did a good job shooting the ball,” Stolic said.
The Indians undoubtedly heaved a sigh of relief when Tuesday’s game was postponed until Wednesday since Lauren Gold was battling an injury.
“I have to hand it to Lauren Gold,” Palkovics said. “By all accounts, she probably shouldn’t have played tonight. Up until yesterday, she wasn’t playing until maybe this weekend.
“She was on crutches Saturday, Sunday and Monday. She finally got off the crutches on Tuesday, and they ran her through some cuts, and she said she could stick it out. She battled.”
Lauren Gold finished with 8 points while her sister Devin led the Indians with 17 points.
“It’s a warm feeling for a coach – even if you are down three or four heading into the fourth quarter – to look at Devin and Lauren’s faces when you come into the huddle,” Palkovics said. “They get everybody going. They really played well in the fourth quarter.
“Helena Gemmel played great, and Alyssa Dumont came off the bench and played great.”
Gemmel had eight rebounds to go along with four points while Dumont had six points off the bench.
For the Golden Hawks, Alex Wheatley was once again a dominant force under the basket, scoring 17 points and hauling in 19 rebounds. She also had six assists. The junior center is averaging around 18 boards a game.
“They were double teaming her, and she still did that well,” Stolic said.
Wheatley – who helped bring the ball up against the press - also kept the Indians from getting anything going on the inside.
“It was one of our poorer shooting games, but I think it was because of the great defense they were playing,” Palkovics said. “You don’t get a lot of things going to the basket when you have 6-3 with seven-foot long arms hanging around in the middle.
“You have to hope the shots fall. I don’t so much blame it on missing shots as I blame it on their game plan and how well they played defensively.”
While the Golden Hawks fell to 3-2 in league play (6-3 overall), the Indians improved to a perfect 5-0 in league play (8-0 overall).