Exploding over the middle two quarters, the Washington Lady Jays defeated Cuba Friday to capture the consolation title of the Peoples Bank Holiday Classic in Sullivan, 59-33.
“This was a total team effort by everyone,” Washington Head Coach Adam Fischer said. “We have had a full team together now for two games in a row (for the first time all year), and we are starting to develop our roles and play them well. This was a great finish to the 2012 part of our season.”
The Lady Jays held a slim 14-12 lead after one quarter before breaking out to lead 29-18 at the half and 42-24 after three quarters.
“Our girls played the best game of our season,” Fischer said. “We followed the game plan perfectly and played our best defensive game of the year. Defensively we developed a little bit of an attitude and refused to give in when they were patient and ran through their offensive. We put a lot of pressure on the ball and rotated well when they were throwing their passes out of the traps.”
Washington was able to change up its defense. Cuba scored its first 15 points, including all 12 in the first quarter, on three-point baskets. But after the early part of the second quarter, the Lady Wildcats did not hit another three-point basket in the game.
Washington hit three-point baskets early in the game as well. Junior guard Courtney Kedroski hit two in the first quarter and another in the second quarter.
Kedroski led all scorers in the game with 16 points. After missing the first game of the tournament due to illness, Kedroski’s performance helped to cement a place on the all-tournament team.
Also reaching double digits in scoring was senior Kaitlin Evans, who netted 13 points, including seven in the final quarter.
Junior Rachel Kackley scored nine points for the Lady Jays.
Senior Kirstie Leslie and freshman Paige Carpenter scored six points apiece.
Junior Megan Bauche checked in with four points. Sophomore Megan Freitag scored three points while senior Helena Ballmann closed with two points.
Also playing, but not scoring, were senior Hannah Leslie and junior Alex Ready.
“Kedroski, Carpenter, Freitag, Bauche and Ready handled their pressure great, and Kirstie and Hannah Leslie, along with Kackley, Ballmann and Evans controlled the boards and the paint all night,” Fischer said.
Leading Cuba in scoring was senior Sarah Griffith with seven points.
Six-point scorers were freshman Hannah Mitchell and sophomore Shelby Whittaker.
Freshman Alexis Price scored five points. Freshman Taylor Williams and senior Gabby House-Lee each had three points.
Sophomore Gabbie Smith scored two points while freshman Aurora Pfeiffer added one point.
The game got off to a slow start with a pair of Kackley free throws with 6:54 left in the first quarter holding up until Griffith hit a three.
Kedroski responded with a three of her own to put Washington back on top but Williams hit from beyond the arc to give Cuba the lead again.
Carpenter scored a basket and Kirstie Leslie hit two free throws for Washington, but Mitchell hit a three to tie it at 9-9.
Kedroski sank another three to put Washington on top to stay. Evans hit a basket, but Price pulled Cuba back to 14-12 after one quarter.
Washington went on a nine-point run in the second quarter, including a devastating run by Kirstie Leslie. She scored and was fouled, but missed the free throw. She got her own rebound and scored. Kedroski also had five points during that run as the Lady Jays found the separation they needed to pull away.
“I would also like to thank the Sullivan athletic department, as well as the community, for putting on a great tournament,” Fischer said. “As the years go by, this tournament will develop into one of the many surrounding communities favorite ones to come out and watch. Sean Erwin, Coach (Jason) Merkel, and the rest of the Sullivan High School staff did an excellent job this week.”