SVCA girls rout Fresta, 60-7

Posted: February 1, 2013

Special to The Winchester Star

STEPHENS CITY — Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy’s girls’ basketball team used a tremendous height advantage and a ball-hawking defense to completely overwhelm Fresta Valley Christian School 60-7 Thursday in Virginia Association of Christian Athletes game at SVCA.

“I thought that we played well,” Patriot coach Lauren Culler said. “We were a lot taller and faster than they were and that showed. They’re a very young team that I think will grow into a much better team. That’s part of the process and we’ve all have to go through that at times.

Samantha Yarnell scored the Patriots first basket less than a minute into the game, setting off an offensive blitz that left the Pioneers too far behind after the first eight minutes of play to have any chance for a comeback.

SVCA (13-2) used 14 Pioneer first quarter turnovers to produce a devastating 21-0 run in the first quarter.

The result was only five field goal attempts by the Pioneers in the first quarter, all of which were missed. Patriot guards Hannah McGann, Grace Snyder, and Mackenzie Yarnell’s aggressive play in the SVCA full-court press made it difficult for Fresta Valley to get the ball across midcourt.

“It was a fun game for us,” Mackenzie Yarnell (five assists) said. “We got to work on our plays, which we really need to do if we’re going to [play well in] the big tournament [NACA National Championship Tournament] in Tennessee. That’s our goal.”

When the Pioneers did manage to get the ball past the Patriot guards, SVCA post players Amanda Barlow, Carol Bartholomew, and Samantha Yarnell grabbed almost every rebound giving FVCS, who started four freshmen, no hope for a second shot.

“Most of our points come off transition,” Culler said. “We have very fast feet on defense and in order to win we need to turn those fast feet into points in transition. I thought we did a very good job of that tonight.”

Scoring for the Patriots came from several players in the opening period. McGann led the way with seven first quarter points, including a 3-pointer. Samantha Yarnell wasn’t far behind though, scoring six points in the quarter.

“We got a lot of points off our press,” Samantha Yarnell said. “We work really hard on that, and it really came in handy tonight.”

FVCS’s Joelle Beals finally got her Pioneers on the scoreboard with a layup with 7:04 left in the second period. Her basket, though, proved to be FVCS’s only points in the first half.

SVCA, again led by McGann and Samantha Yarnell led the Patriots on a 15-0 run over the rest of the second quarter to put SVCA up 38-2 at halftime. The Pioneers didn’t help their cause by committing another 13 turnovers in the quarter.

To the Pioneers’ credit, they never backed down to the taller, faster SVCA team, and it paid off in the second half.

With Samantha Yarnell and McGann on the bench through most of the third quarter, FVCS was able to hold the Patriot guards to just six points. The Pioneers, however, had no answer for SVCA post players Barlow and Carol Bartholomew who scored eight of the Patriot’s 14 third quarter points.

With the game out of reach, SVCA cleared its bench to begin the final period, making the final eight minutes much more competitive than the first eight minutes of play.

FVCS’s Katie Shollenberger and Beals each scored in the final period, producing the Pioneers’ most productive quarter of the game. Shollenberger also had the distinction of scoring the last points of the game, hitting a jumper with just one second left on the clock.

“We were able to practice on our plays in the second half, and there are still things that we need to work on,” Culler said. “But it was good to give all of our players a chance to get on the floor tonight. That was very beneficial.”

McGann (five steals, three assists) led the Patriots in scoring with 15 points, but two other SVCA players also scored in double figures. Barlow’s dominance inside produced 13 points, 10 of which came in the second half, and Samantha Yarnell (six steals) also finished the night with 13.

Snyder added eight rebounds and four assists.

“I thought that both teams played with a lot of intensity,” Pioneer coach Davey Shollenberger said. “SVCA’s team is very skilled, and have several really good players. I thought we really picked up the intensity on the boards in the second half, and did an amazing job against a much taller SVCA team. I was very proud of them for that. I know that the scoreboard really doesn’t show it, but we’re very pleased with the effort our girls put into this game.”