In a battle of speed and quickness vs. height, the 8th ranked St. John-Hudson Lady Tigers came away on top, taking the much taller Pratt-Skyline Lady Thunderbirds to the woodshed 52-30 at St. John last Friday evening.
The 2A Thunderbirds' lineup looked formidable before the game, having one of the tallest teams that St. John will face this year with a lineup standing at 6', 5'11”, 5'11”, 5'11” and 5'10”. St. John's tallest varsity player was Teresa Christie standing at 5'9”.
However, right from the get-go, there was never a doubt who was going to win the contest. The Lady Tigers once again played their strong suit – a smothering man-to-man defense that just about picked the Thunderbirds pockets clean, creating 15 Skyline turnovers in the first quarter alone while scoring 15 unanswed points closing out the first quarter with St.John ahead 15-0.
“We're so glad to get that first game out of the way with 17 practices before the first game. It was hard but it was good for us.” said Christie. “We all played very well and ran the floor well. We can't wait until the next game.”
Skyline made the mistake of playing a man-to-man, St. John's screens opening up the middle lanes for easy Tiger layups and giving the much shorter St. John squad more opportunities positioning themselves underneath for the rebound. The Tigers also scored from outside, the St. John guards making two 2-point baskets.
Skyline's second mistake was using their full court press, the Lady Tigers having little trouble breaking it, then throwing to the open men downcourt for the layup.
Things stayed close in the second and third quarters, the Tigers outscoring Skyline 12-11 in the second and 13-11 in the third.
Few fouls were called on either side in the first half, with St. John's Teresa Christie having to sit out with two fouls during a short time in the second quarter.
Going into the half, the Tigers led 27-11 and increased it 40-22 going into the final quarter.
St. John's Morgan Osborne and Jamie Waters scored half of the fourth quarter points, each making a 3-pointer. Jessica Hanson made St. John's third 3-pointer in the second quarter.
The game ended with St. John getting their first win of the season 52-30.
“I thought we did pretty well for our first game out. We missed some easy shots, but I think that will improve the better shape we get in.” said St. John's head coach Danny Smith. “We also need to defend the post area better, which can be fixed. But most importantly we played really hard and that's something that has to always happen.”
Page 2 of 2 - High scorer for the Tigers was Teresa Christie with 14, Osborne close behind with 13, Jessica Hanson 7, Maddy Lippoldt 6, Waters 5, Alexis Witt 5 and Tara Christie 3.
The Tigers next competition will be in the Keady Basketball Classic at Larned this week, with St. John playing Ellinwood Tuesday afternoon followed by other games throughout the week and ending on Saturday. Teams entered are Ellinwood, Kinsley, Spearville, Hoisington, Macksville, Larned, Kiowa County and St. John-Hudson.