By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
MADISON TOWNSHIP —
One way to win a basketball game is to prevent the opponent from taking any shots.
The Madison girls wern’t quite that dominating on Tuesday night, but it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration. Using the fullcourt press, the Blue Streaks forced a whopping 55 turnovers while allowing just 19 shots in an 82-24 home win.
Madison (2-0) stole the ball 32 times from the inexperienced Red Raiders. Julie Gavorski had eight thefts, followed by Taylert Gustin with seven, and Abbie Thompson, Ashley Duthie and Taylor Bland with four each.
“(With) our pressure, that’s what we wanted to do — come out and establish that pressure early,” Madison coach Mike Smith said. “I thought it was great; it was just that we didn’t shoot the ball well (in the first half).
“We want to come out and pressure. We did it against a good Warren Howland team (on Saturday). It caused them some problems, so we want to continue that. We hope to score off our defense. I thought the girls did a very good job of rotating.”
“We have a young squad,” Harvey coach John Sams, whose team fields no seniors, said. “And we know we don’t have a legitimate point guard right now. But we’re working on it. We work on it every day in practice.
“We have a young group. We have something to build on, and we get ‘em all back next year.”
Duthie also led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points. Bland and Gustin added 12 each, Gavorski 10, and Thompson and Kelly Duthie nine apiece. The Blue Streaks also took care of the basketball, finishing with just nine turnovers. Four of those came in the fourth quarter, and at halftime they had given the ball up just twice.
When the Red Raiders (0-1) did get off a shot, they usually made it. But obviously that didn’t happen nearly enough for them. Through three periods, they got off just 10 attempts, with eight of them good. They finished at 10 of 19 (52.6 percent), with the great majority coming from close range.
Allona Frame notched assists on seven of those baskets. Freshman Makenna Lilly had 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Chrerish Montgomery nine points, seven boards and three blocked shots for Harvey,
Julie Bruening led Madison with seven rebounds and tied Ashley Duthie for the team lead with five assists. Gavorski had six caroms.
“They were going to play us in a zone,” Smith said. “We assumed that was coming. I thought we’d be a little quicker than they were, so we really stressed that we were taking quick shots early in the game. In the second half I think we settled down.
“This is probably one of the most unselfish team’s I’ve ever coached. They pass the ball very, very well.”
After Harvey scored the game’s first two points, Madison ran off the next 14, as Harvey turned it over 12 of the first 13 times it had the ball. At the end of the quarter it was 16-8, but the Blue Streaks went on a 17-2 run to make it 33-10, en route to a 40-13 advantage at the break.
Madison’s outside shooting heated up in the third quarter, as Ashley Duthie sank two of its three 3-point field goals in the period. An 11-0 stretch pushed it to 53-12. Later, the Blue Streaks ran off 15 consecutive points to expand the margin from 61-22 to 76-22.
“I think we took one jump shot, and that’s because I told (my player), ‘We need at least one jump shot on our stats,’” Sams said with a smile. “We have to be a threat outside and inside. We know we have a game inside, but if that’s all we do, it’s easy to defend. So what we have to do is we have to be able to get the ball up the court, (and) we have to be an outside threat as well as an inside threat.”
“When they do get the ball inside, they’re big and strong,” Smith, who pointed out that Harvey had a size advantage, said. “But I didn’t want them to get it inside, so we pressured their guards into not getting it inside.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.