The St. Clair press claimed another victim Tuesday.
The Lady Bulldogs (15-6, 3-1) defeated New Haven (13-8, 1-3) in Four Rivers Conference play, 61-43.
St. Clair’s full-court pressure led to a 13-2 run to open the second quarter and the Lady Bulldogs controlled the game from that point on.
“All around, I thought it might have been one of our better games of the year,” St. Clair Head Coach Mike Scheer said. “All areas of the game. Offense and defense. The press was huge. I thought we did a good job in the half-court defense of not giving a lot of stuff up. It might be the best we’ve run our offense all year. Got good shots and knocked them down. That was huge because I told them that they were going to have to be patient because I knew how good of a defense New Haven is. I thought we got a lot of fast break points tonight. That was huge because against a team that is that good defensively, you’ve got to get some cheap baskets in.”
Keeping with the team’s norm, St. Clair used frequent substitutions to keep fresh legs on the floor and maintain a faster pace than the Lady Shamrocks wanted to play. New Haven used just their five starters in the first half and only one substitute in the second half.
“We knew they were going to press us all over the court the whole game and it’s tough for our girls,” New Haven Coach Doug Peirick said. “We only ever play five girls. First you get physically tired and then you get mentally tired and you’ve got both of those going against you, it’s just not easy to overcome. I thought we played a real good first quarter and then we start turning it over and they took advantage of the turnovers and scored. That’s where they just built on.”
New Haven held a 16-11 lead after one quarter. However, St. Clair’s early run in the second period led to a 32-22 halftime lead.
The Lady Bulldogs led 50-36 at the end of the third quarter.
Gracie Sohn was the leading scorer for St. Clair with 13 points.
Haley Buscher also broke into double figures with 11 points.
Megan Hinson and Alana Hinson each finished with nine points for the Lady Bulldogs.
Hannah Machelett added eight point, Erin York four and Macalyn LaCrone three.
Alohilani Bursey and Graci Shirey rounded out the St. Clair scoring with two points each.
Bursey also recorded one steal and one block in her first varsity appearance.
“First time with the varsity tonight, did a great job,” Scheer said. “She’s a big difference maker on that press. ... She’s doing a lot of high energy, so work her in there a little bit and get some confidence. We’ve got so many tough games coming up here, we’re going to need her energy. It’s nice to have some fresh legs in there. She’s long, she jumps well and she reacts well.”
Sohn was also the team leader in rebounds, pulling down six.
York had three rebounds. Buscher, LaCrone and Shirey all recorded two rebounds. Machelett and Megan Hinson both rebounded one.
Megan Hinson dished out a team high of three assists.
Buscher picked up two assists and York, Machelett and LaCrone each had one.
Buscher was a key part of the press defense with four steals.
Megan Hinson stole two. Alana Hinson, Sohn and York also recorded one steal apiece.
Alana Hinson and Megan Hinson both recorded one blocked shot.
Lauren Gerlemann entered the game needing just 14 points to reach 1,000 for her career. She led all scorers in the contest with 15 points, achieving the milestone late in the fourth quarter.
Emma Englebrecht tallied the second-most New Haven points with nine.
Emily Scheer added eight points, Mackenzie Bauer six and Kate Ruediger five.
“That was our goal, to get to the rim,” Peirick said. “I don’t think that we did an excellent job at it. They did a really good job at guarding the perimeter shot, so we pretty much had to get to the rim and take advantage of that. We just didn’t take advantage of it enough.”
St. Clair continued its conference schedule Thursday at home against Pacific while New Haven traveled to Owensville. Those games are covered in other stories in this edition of The Missourian. Four Rivers Conference play concludes next week.