STATE CENTER - The Trojans' smothering defense can create turnovers - and points - in a hurry.
Fueling that fire with unforced errors only compounds the issue.
Creating turnovers on four of AGWSR's first five possessions, the Class 2A No. 13 West Marshall girls basketball team rode its defense to a 10th straight win in a 70-32 victory over the Cougars in a NICL West game Tuesday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
West Marshall’s McKenna Hotopp splits the defense of AGWSR’s Ella Frazier (31) and Jayne Wiarda at State Center Tuesday. Led by a quintet of double-digit scorers, the Class 2A 13th-ranked Trojans cruised to their 10th straight win in a 70-32 NICL West Division victory over the Cougars.
In pursuit of its first conference title in the NICL West, West Marshall (17-3, 12-1) remains locked atop the league with Class 1A No. 7 Grundy Center (16-3, 12-1), which defeated South Hardin Tuesday.
The Trojans' defense locked down the Cougars early as turnovers - both forced and unforced - were converted into easy buckets.
"We struggled from the get go in everything we did tonight," AGWSR coach Laurie Gann said."
AGWSR (11-7, 9-4) - Val Lindaman 0 0-0 0, Marissa Horner 0 0-0 0, Kristen Zacharias 5 0-0 10, Madi Fryslie 2 0-0 4, Kim Ellingson 1 0-1 2, Taylor Risius 0 0-0 0, Ella Frazier 3 4-6 10, Becca Wiarda 0 0-0 0, Morgan Rose 0 0-0 0, Alexa Johnson 0 0-0 0, Jayne Wiarda 3 0-0 6 . TOTALS 14 4-7 32.
WEST MARSHALL (17-3, 12-1) - Rachel Freland 4 3-4 12, McKenna Hotopp 2 0-0 4, Whitney Benson 7 0-0 14, Shelby Larsen 0 0-0 0, Kailyn Brewer-Reece 0 0-0 0, Maggie Sodders 0 0-0 0, Tori Pothast 2 0-0 5, Sydney Beals 5 0-0 10, Madisen Streeter 1 0-0 2, Gabby Reyerson 5 0-0 10, Addie Wilkinson 0 0-0 0, Jennifer Davis 4 5-6 13. TOTALS 31 8-10 70.
3-Point Goals - WM 2 (Freland, Pothast).
"We were telegraphing our passes and they did a good job of reading those passes. We got away from basic fundamental basketball and caused a lot of our turnovers and some of that can be attributed to their great defense."
West Marshall also established itself inside and used a 10-0 run midway through the opening frame to grab a 12-2 advantage as Jenn Davis scored the Trojans' first seven points. West Marshall added another 8-0 surge to widen the margin to 20-4 early in the second and led by double-digits the rest of the way.
"I think our pressure got to them," West Marshall coach Fred Zeller said. "They had some unforced turnovers and I think we had something to do with that."
Gabby Reyerson scored four straight buckets for the Trojans to start the second, while Ella Frazier paced AGWSR with seven points in the quarter. Frazier's final bucket of the half closed the gap to 15, though West Marshall scored six unanswered to lead 36-15 at the break. The Cougars trimmed the deficit to 17 with two quick buckets to open the third but couldn't draw any closer as the Trojans took off with 10 of the next 12 points.
Whitney Benson led a quintet of Trojans in double figures with 14 points. Davis tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds and Rachel Freland scored 12, while Sydney Beals and Reyerson each poured in 10.
"Our balanced scoring is important," Benson said.
"If someone is off, we have someone else who can come in and score. It makes us pretty hard to stop."
With numerous players capable of contributing, the Trojans also have no trouble in maintaining their tempo to wear down opponents.
"As we come down the home stretch, I think we're getting a little more confidence in whatever combinations we have in there," Zeller said.
"We wore them down with our quickness and transition buckets. Tonight our kids showed their conditioning is pretty good for this time of year."
Frazier and Kristen Zacharias led the Cougars (11-7, 9-4) with 10 points apiece, while Jayne Wiarda had six.
The Trojans close the regular season against South Hardin on the road Friday. The Cougars entertain Jesup Thursday and South Tama Friday, before closing the season against Class 1A No. 8 Meskwaki.
The Trojans won the previous meeting 59-44 in Ackley Dec. 18.