Knoch girls turn tables on Highlands in section clash
JEFFERSON TWP — Knoch’s girls basketball team is giving up less than 40 points per game this season.
In its attempt to move up the ladder in Section 1-4A, the Knights put the clamps on Highlands Monday night in a 49-38 win at home.
The victory avenges a 52-42 loss to the Golden Rams last month and moves the Knights (10-6, 5-2) into sole possession of second place in the section.
“We did too much thinking in the first game,” said Knoch coach Chris Andreassi. “We didn’t want to burden our girls with a bunch of defensive play calls tonight. They know how to play man defense and we told them to just go play.”
That confidence led to 17 turnovers forced and 10 or less points scored in three of four quarters by the Rams (9-6, 5-3). But despite the spirited effort on defense, Knoch’s lead was just 43-38 with one minute, 37 seconds remaining in the game.
Senior guard Nina Shaw went to the line twice and made four combined free throws, adding a steal in between, to help Knoch put the win on ice.
“I felt no pressure before those shots. I was locked in,” said Shaw, who led all scorers with 22 points, including 14 in the second half. “Earlier in the season, I don’t think we were playing all that well as a team, but we’re coming together now.”
In that earlier win against the Knights, Highlands played much better defense, according to head coach Shawn Bennis.
“We did a better job of controlling Shaw,” he said. “She had a heck of a game tonight. And our offense is predicated on getting the ball into the paint and getting it back out for the three, but Knoch had just five team fouls in the second half and that hurt us.”
Due in large part to four treys, Highlands scored 16 points in the second period and trailed just 22-21 at the break.
“They have some really good 3-point shooters and we lost them a few times,” Andreassi said. “But overall, I thought we played good defense from the beginning to the end.”
It was a one-possession game in the third quarter before Naturelle Ewing drained a 3-pointer, Megan Vasas sank a basket and Shaw another for a 39-29 edge.
Knoch will look to earn a sixth section victory when it travels to Freeport on Thursday.
Zoey Celko 1 0-0 3, Kalleigh Nerone 2 5-7 10, Katelyn Myers 4 0-0 12, Shelby Wojcik 1 1-2 4, Jocelyn Bielak 3 0-0 7, Ava Nitowski 1 0-0 2, Camille Gigon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 6-9 38.
Hattie McGraw 1 2-4 4, Naturelle Ewing 3 1-3 8, Nina Shaw 7 6-6 22, Megan Vasas 4 1-2 9, CeCe Kosecki 2 0-0 6, Paige Rodgers 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 10-15 49.
Highlands 5 16 10 7 — 38
Knoch 12 10 19 8 — 49
3-point goals: Highlands 8 (Myers 4, Wojcik, Bielak, Nerone, Celko); Knoch 5 (Shaw 2, Kosecki 2, Ewing).
Thursday: Knoch at Freeport