The Garner-Hayfield/Ventura girls continue to roll, as they collected three more wins and clinched the outright NIC title with a victory over Newman on Monday. The Cardinals moved their record to 13-1, 17-3, as they head into Regional competition.
GHV 69, Lake Mills 56
Free throws were the difference in the game, when GHV hosted Lake Mills (4-7, 4-13) on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The Cardinals were able to get to the line 38 times and collected 22 points off free throws alone.
A very strong first quarter also helped give GHV an edge, outscoring the Bulldogs 20-7. The second quarter was tighter, with the Cardinals collecting 18 points to Lake Mills’ 15, for a halftime score of 38-22.
“Our defense was definitely not as strong as we are accustomed to,” said Coach Matt Erpelding. “I give Lake Mills credit, they knocked down 9/18 from behind the arc.”
The second half was very close, with Lake Mills closing the gap and outscoring GHV 34-31. The huge first quarter advantage proved to be the game breaker, as the Cards held on for the 69-56 victory.
“We did an excellent job on the boards, outrebounding them by 21, and pulling down 21 offensive boards which we converted into 21 points,” said Erpelding. “We do need to improve our defensive effort as we move into tournament play, as we gave up too many points in this game. We have to do a better job of covering up shooters when they find their stroke.”
Balanced scoring is also key to GHV’s success. They had four girls in double figures. Emily Spilman led the team with 15 points, followed by Mackenzie Haag and Shelby Rayhons with 11 points apiece and Maddie Tusha had 10 points. Hannah Lau and Sydney Younge each contributed six points.
Rayhons led under the boards with eight rebounds. Lau grabbed six, while Tusha and Younge each had five rebounds.
Tusha led the team in assists and steals. She dished out seven assists and had five steals. Mackenzie Van Gerpen grabbed four steals of her own.
GHV 38, Forest City 29
It was a huge win for GHV when they hosted Forest City (9-4, 10-10) on Friday, Feb. 7. The win put the Cardinals in a position to lock up a conference championship.
The win, however, wasn’t a pretty one for the Cards. Missed shots and Forest City’s tough zone defense in the first half led to a much closer game than the Cardinals would have preferred. GHV could only managed a slight three point lead by halftime 21-18.
“We struggled getting the ball into our posts offensively, but fortunately we had several girls step up and knock down some big three’s, which ended up being the difference in the game,” said Coach Matt Erpelding. “Mack, Bri, Kim and Maddie all knocked down three’s for us, all of which came at crucial times.”
The Cardinals made some much needed defensive adjustments at halftime. GHV executed the adjustments well enough to hold the Indians to only three fieldgoals in the second half. The Cardinals outscored Forest City 17-11 in the second half for the final, 38-29.
“I’m okay with the fact that we had this type of game heading into the tournaments, as it shows us a few things that we need to clean up,” said Erpelding.
Mackenzie Haag led the team with eight points, not far behind was Maddie Tusha with seven and Bri Bier and Hannah