Though heading into their consolation matchup with Cassadaga Valley they had won just one of their first seven games, the Southwestern Lady Trojans weren't your typical 1-6 team.
Just ask Mark Petersen.
"That's the best 1-6 team you've seen," the Lady Cougars' coach said. "They're going to win some ball games; they sure are."
Southwestern’s Alex Sullivan, right, is about to block a shot by Cassadaga Valley’s Heather Ames in the consolation game of the Jock Shop Holiday Shootout. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J?photo by Rob Tucker
Petersen, in fact, knows first hand; Southwestern got the ball rolling against his squad on Friday night.
Thanks to a pressure-heavy, full-court defense and a balanced offensive approach - six different players scored in the first quarter alone and four ended up with at least nine points - Southwestern captured a third-place finish in the Jock Shop Holiday Shootout behind a 57-31 victory at Jamestown Community College's Physical Education Complex.
Leading the balanced attack was Southwestern's lone returning starter, Jenna Yuchnitz, who earned all-tournament honors with a game-high 19 points, including 13 in the second half. Along with Yuchnitz, who also had six steals, Emily Wuebbolt continued her solid play in the paint with 12 points and seven rebounds and Alex Sullivan hit 13 points with four steals and three rebounds.
"That's good," Southwestern coach Anne Beck said of her team's offensive performance. "They've all got the green light, so whoever is hot, we try to get them the ball."
On Friday that was nearly everyone, and combined with the way the squad was playing defense, there was little chance Cassadaga Valley - now without two of its original five starters due to injury - could overcome.
The Lady Cougars struggled in the face of Southwestern's full-court pressure defense and managed just two points - a bucket by Shawana Miller at the six-minute mark - in the opening quarter.
"I wanted something to energize them a little bit," Beck said of the press. "Sometimes when you do that you can make mistakes, but we wanted them to play a little more upbeat."
Southwestern, certainly upbeat, tallied 16 points in the first quarter, and then maintained that 14-point advantage all the way to the break, 26-12.
"Turnovers. Turnovers. I mean, a lot of them unforced, too," Petersen said. "I counted (quite a few) at halftime alone. I've just got a lot of kids that don't quite have the experience ball-handling, and (with the two injuries) some of the kids that filled in aren't battle tested yet."
Four points by Miller, who bounced back from a foul-plagued performance on Thursday to lead the Lady Cougars with a near triple-double (16 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals), and a basket by Ashley Carroll over the first four minutes of the second half cut the deficit to 13, 32-19, but tallies by Wuebbolt and Yuchnitz in the paint, and then Yuchnitz once more from beyond the arc, pushed the lead back to 14 with only a period remaining.
Southwestern cruised to victory the rest of the way, outscoring its opponents 17-5.
"In the second half (Cassadaga Valley) switched to a man and our screens were getting our girls wide open," Beck said. "I was really happy with the way we ran our offenses today because we ran a bunch of (different ones)."
CASSADAGA VALLEY (31)
Miller 6 4 16, Ames 1 0 2, Burch 2 1 6, Carroll 1 0 2, Holley 1 0 2, Johnston 0 1 1. Totals 12 6 31.
Wuebbolt 5 2 12, Sullivan 4 5 13, Agarwala 2 5 9, Kubinski 0 2 2, Yuchnitz 7 4 19, Schutte 1 0 2. Totals 19 19 57.
3-point goals: Burch, Yuchnitz.
Cassadaga Valley2 10 14 5 - 31
Southwestern16 10 14 17 - 57