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  • Val T.

Clevenger scores 10, but NorthWood’s man-to-man key decisive in win over Lady Zs


Sports Editor, RTC

Claire Payne scored 10 points, and NorthWood utilized a stout man-to-man defense to hold Rochester to one first-half field goal in earning a 52-28 win over host Rochester at the RHS gym Saturday.

Rylee Clevenger hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points for Rochester, who fell to 1-3. Aubrey Wilson added seven, and Jadyn Field had six.

Haylee Heflin added nine, and Callie Johnson had seven for NorthWood, who pushed back their season opener after their volleyball team reached semistate.

NorthWood led 14-0 after one quarter and stretched the lead to 25-5 at halftime. Clevenger hit a 3-pointer in the first minute of the second quarter, but that was the Lady Zs’ only field goal of the half.

NorthWood coach Taylor Burkhart relied on a man-to-man defense with help side principles.

“I think our girls were just eager to play and excited to play,” Burkhart, a 2010 Tippecanoe Valley grad, said. “So I was really impressed with our defense and they we were focused, which is what we’ve been preaching in practice. We knew Rochester was going to come, they’re going to battle, they’re going to be physical, but I was very pleased with how we showed up and how we were focused and ready to go.”

Clevenger was coming off a 20-point effort in a win over Northwestern on Wednesday.

“We knew that they were going to try to take Clevenger very seriously,” Rochester coach Joel Burrus, also recalling that Clevenger had a big game against NorthWood in a summer league game at Warsaw over the summer. “We thought that with Ella having 42 (Payne) on her, there was a mismatch there. The sets that we ran early were to get her shots. They didn’t fall, but she had some good looks. She probably had five quality looks getting downhill, getting to the elbow. She had a couple 3s – good looks, shots we want her taking. The ball just didn’t go in the basket.

“Their defense, we knew that they were going to come out and get in our shirt in man. That’s what they do: They try to push you away from the basket. We let them do that. Our scouting report was talking about making good, straight-line cuts, not looping cuts, not looping coming off screens, v-cutting hard. We let them push us away from the basket.”

Rochester never got the margin closer than 18 in the second half. They did cut their turnovers from 17 in the first half to just seven in the second half.

Burrus said he wish he was “itching” to get back out on the practice court to work on some of their deficiencies. Rochester opens Three Rivers Conference play with a road game against Peru Thursday and follows it with another road game at Maconaquah Saturday.

“If you’re turning the ball over in between the circles, the defense can’t get set up,” Burrus said. “So I still have to go back and look at that as well: How many times did they get layups off us making bad passes in between the circles or turning it over against pressure in the fullcourt? I’d say we probably had seven or eight of those to where they were just able to go lay it in.”

But Burrus also felt the team’s offensive woes spilled in their defensive troubles.

They have allowed 43 or more points three times in four games this season after not doing that at all last season.

“Defensively, we let our offense control the way we play defense today, and that’s not what we do here, and the girls know that,” Burrus said. “They were accountable to that in the locker room here after the game from the standpoint of they knew that they let the offense and the struggles we were in offensively control the way we play defense, and that can’t happen for us to be successful. … The standard is defense. We have to get stops.”

NorthWood 52, Rochester 28

NORTHWOOD (52) (1-0)

Joselyn Edwards 3 0-0 6, Megan Yoder 2 1-2 5, Callie Johnson 2 1-2 7, Haylee Heflin 4 0-0 9, Claire Payne 5 0-1 10, Addie Davis 0 1-2 1, Jenna Householter 0 0-0 0, Ella Branham 2 0-0 5, Kinzee Hartman 1 0-0 3, Emily Miller 2 2-2 6, Tessa Branham 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 21 5-9 52

ROCHESTER (28) (1-3)

Aubrey Wilson 2 1-2 7, Rylee Clevenger 3 2-2 10, Ella McCarter 0 1-2 1, Jadyn Field 3 0-0 6, Audrey Bolinger 1 0-0 2, Brailyn Hunter 1 0-0 2, Mia Howdeshell 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 10 4-6 28

Three-point field goals:

NorthWood 5 (Johnson 2, Heflin, E. Branham, Hartman),

Rochester 4 (Clevenger 2, Wilson 2)

Total fouls: NorthWood 14, Rochester 14

Turnovers: NorthWood 19, Rochester 24

Score by quarters

NorthWood 14 11 12 15 – 52

Rochester 0 5 12 11 – 28

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