Prep Girls Basketball

Titans struggle to find range in sectional semifinal loss

By AARON FERGUSON
Special to The Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 13, 2018 12:10 am

FARMINGTON, Ill. -- The West Hancock girls basketball team couldn't overcome a poor shooting performance and turnovers in the first half.

The Titans went 8 of 39 from the field (20.5 percent) in a 41-25 loss to Midwest Central in the Class 2A Farmington Sectional semifinals Monday night.

"It's tough because sometimes you go against good teams and shots don't fall, and that's kind of what happened tonight," Titans coach Wilson Neill said. "I'm proud of the effort we gave."

Midwest Central was held scoreless for the first 3:16 of the game, in which West Hancock (15-18) only built a 3-0 lead on a Krisama Greer trey. The Titans opened in a triangle-and-two defense to take away Raiders sophomore Mady Harper and junior Megan Teal.

"We really wanted to stop them, and we didn't do a very good job," Neill said. "They started adjusting and we weren't trying to double them on the catch, more on the drive, and we started doubling too early and that's when they started getting some open layups."

The Raiders (22-9) countered with sophomores Annah Miller and Taylor Smith knocking down shots to open up looks for Harper, who scored a game-high 15 points. Harper stepped into a 3-pointer with 3:16 left in the first quarter to take a 5-3 lead, and Midwest Central never lost the lead thereafter.

"Even though we're undersized, we boxed out and we rebounded," Midwest Central coach Eric Weaver said. "That makes it tough on any team when you get one shot only, and that's what they got in the first half."

West Hancock was held to 3-of-20 shooting (15 percent) in the first half and was outrebounded 37-30 overall.

Despite the poor first half, the Titans held a player-only meeting at halftime for two minutes to try and turn things around. But things went awry when junior forward Emma Knipe left the game with a concussion with 5:34 left in the third quarter while battling for a loose ball.

"Knipe does a lot for us, and her going down in the third quarter kind of hurt our ability to make a run there with just turnovers and stuff like that," Neill said.

She was taken out of the game with two points on 1-of-4 shooting and nine rebounds. The Raiders had a gameplan to take away her strengths.

"We knew she was much more comfortably driving to go right, so we overcommitted that side and we gave help on the left," Weaver said.

Senior guard Kailee Pfeiferling drew the assignment of Teal, Midwest Central's best defender, and was able to score only five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

"They really clamped down on Pfeiferling and Knipe and it really made us go through other girls and we just didn't get shots to fall like we had last week, and we just kind of started off slow on the offensive end and when they started getting shots to fall we didn't answer back," Neill said.

Class 2A Farmington Sectional

Midwest Central 41, West Hancock 25

MIDWEST CENTRAL (22-9)

Hungerford 0 0-0 0, Uselton 1 0-0 2, Teal 2 0-0 4, Harper 5 3-4 15, Lawson 0 0-0 0, Miller 4 2-2 10, Forsberg 2 2-2 6, Smith 1 1-2 4, Hilst 0 0-0 0, Rademacker 0 0-0 0, Singley 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 (3) 8-10 41. Fouls 15. Turnovers 18. Rebounds 37 (Harper 8; Teal 6; Miller 5).

HAMILTON (15-18)

Greeg 1 2-5 5, Knipe 1 0-0 2, Pfeiferling 2 0-0 5, Andrews 0 0-0 0, Carel 1 0-0 2, Jacquot 1 2-2 4, Boyles 1 2-4 4, Gray 1 0-0 3, Bell 0 0-0 0, Fox 0 0-0 0, Hollis 0 0-0 0, Radel 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 6-11 25.

Midwest Central 7 12 16 6--41

West Hancock 3 5 5 12--25

3-point field goals--Midwest Central 3 (Harper 2, Smith), West Hancock 3 (Greeg, Pfeiferling, Gray). Rebounds--Midwest Central 37 (Harper 8), West Hancock 30 (Knipe 9). Turnovers--Midwest Central 18, West Hancock 20. Fouls--Midwest Central 15, West Hancock 9. Fouled out--None.

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