Clarke girls use size inside to defeat Falcons 46-36
Posted: December 13, 2012
BERRYVILLE — It didn’t take long to figure out exactly what the game plan was for the Clarke County girls’ basketball team Wednesday night.
Hosting a Central squad whose tallest player measures out at just 5 feet 8 inches, the Eagles decided to play to their advantage — their height.
The first three plays of the game resulted in three straight layups for 6-foot sophomore Sydney Chrane and Clarke County never looked back in a 46-36 win over the visiting Falcons in both team’s Bull Run District opener.
“We noticed they were a really small team to begin with so we got our matchups and we just wanted to hammer it to them hard,” said Chrane, who controlled the paint at both ends of the court and finished with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Pairing Chrane with fellow 5-foot-10 sophomores Anna Blue Catlett (12 points, five rebounds) and Allie Hicks (two points, four rebounds) helped Clarke County (5-1, 1-0 Bull Run) win the rebounding battle 32-23 and make things difficult for the Falcon offense all night long.
A jumper from junior Katelyn Poston brought Central (4-1, 0-1) to within two at 8-6 midway through the first quarter, but Catlett answered back with a jumper at the other end and the Eagles closed the quarter with three straight baskets inside and a free throw to take a 19-8 lead after one.
“I thought particularly in the first half we did a good job attacking down low,” said Clarke County coach Tim Lawrence. “Because of our size and the fact that they’re a smaller team, I thought we could focus our offense down in the paint and create opportunities for our guards by going inside out.”
That certainly was the blueprint for the Clarke offense in the first half.
With Chrane and Catlett commanding double teams on the low block, Eagle guards Becky Smith, Hannah Ravenscroft and Amanda Robinson found plenty of space to launch jumpers and sneak inside for uncontested putbacks.
Six straight points from Poston cut the Falcon deficit to six with two minutes remaining in the first half, but Smith converted off a Chrane miss, Catlett found Chrane for a layup off a pretty high-low combination and Catlett drained a jumper to help Clarke County take a 31-20 lead into halftime.
The third quarter saw both teams exchange baskets, with Central never able to cut the deficit to single digits.
A layup from Poston and a jumper by senior Allison Bright to open the fourth quarter brought the Falcons to within 43-34, but Catlett rebounded a Smith miss and scored and Chrane hit one of two free throws to push the lead back to double digits and Central would get no closer.
“We talked all week in practice about what they were going to try and do, how they were going to pressure us, play up tempo offense, be in our face and create turnovers and that’s what they did,” said Central coach Mallory Skarupa, whose team had nine turnovers in the first quarter alone and finished with 20 in the game.
“We knew they were going to be taller than us, a lot of teams are going to be taller than us. We can’t wait until the second half to get our heads in the game. We weren’t emotionally or mentally tough tonight and that showed.”
Clarke County held the Falcons to just 33-percent shooting from the field (14 for 43) and Lawrence credited senior Rachel Sefton with helping to slow down Central’s best offensive weapon in Poston, who finished with 16 points but rarely had an open look at the basket.
“I felt like Rachel, with her athletic ability, was able to make things difficult for [Poston],” Lawrence said. “She has the strength to not let [Poston] overpower her on the drive and her defense allowed us to get some turnovers and the girls didn’t have to help so much.
“That’s got to be our calling card all year. We know there are going to be games where we may not be able to score the ball like we want to, but we know that we can always defend.”
Clarke County shot 42 percent from the field (21 of 51) and Smith and Ravenscroft had six points apiece in the win.
—- Contact Kevin Trudgeon at firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1