Left: Lexee Hayes drives to the basket for two of her game-high 18 points in a win over the Wildcats.
Right: Abby Birkey (far left) and Spring Raines (center) go after a loose ball along with South Vermillion's Caitlin Phillips in the early stages of Thursday's matchup.
TERRE HAUTE -- On the opening night of the WTHI Clabber Girl Classic at West Vigo High School, full court defense was on display in both games with both Northview and Terre Haute South using their press to create turnovers and transition baskets on the way to victories.
The Knights forced 27 turnovers from an outmanned South Vermillion squad on the way to an easy 69-27 victory that advanced them to the second round to play the Braves in Saturday's 10 a.m. contest in the Clabber Girl Tourney.
Northview's size advantage inside and their trapping defense helped hold the Wildcats to a paltry 16 percent shooting percentage (8-of-50) that clearly left the Wildcats little chance of competing.
In the first period, the Wildcats were within 5-3 in the early stages of the game before the Knights finished the quarter on a 13-0 run while holding South Vermillion scoreless for nearly six minutes into the second period.
Meanwhile, junior guard Lexee Hayes got off to a hot start for the Knights going for seven of her game-high 18 points in the opening stanza and the Knights were off to the races.
"We were a little better with our passes tonight," commented Northview coach Bob Medworth. "We're seeing some positives. I think we did a good job of giving everyone equal minutes tonight."
That was a key to Northview's success as 10 different players scored in the game for the Knights and the team had four players with nine points or better.
The Wildcats had little chance at pushing the ball inside to their established scorers, including 5'9 junior Jessee Wood who had nowhere to go when she received a pass in the paint. She would likely care to forget Thursday's three-of-17 shooting percentage from the field going against the Knights' 6'5 senior Julie Whitted who pulled down 14 boards and blocked six shots while altering numerous others.
"Julie had some nice post moves tonight and she showed good discipline," commented Medworth.
Whitted contributed 14 points for the Knights, including a beautiful spin move in the paint during the third quarter for a basket that elicited a wave of 'ooh's' from the crowd.
Northview continued to pour on the lead in the second quarter as they pulled out to a 37-11 lead at the break with Spring Raines adding five of her 11 points in the period and Hayes adding another six points.
The defense was again up to the task in the second period.
After holding the Wildcats to just 1-of-14 shooting in the opening quarter, they hit just 2-of-12 in the second quarter.
"We're making the commitment to this defense," said Medworth. "We talked on the way over here on the bus that we were going to stick with it regardless."
That defense was certainly up to the task in Thursday's win and the Knights got to see some quality minutes out of their reserves who will be important over the long haul of the season.
Junior forward Stephanie Plummer added four points and six rebounds for the Knights and Abby Birkey broke a cold shooting spell with three straight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to finish off South Vermillion who drops to the loser's bracket to face off with Owen Valley on Saturday at 1 p.m.
WTHI Clabber Girl Classic
At West Vigo
Hayes 7-15 2-4 18, Gregg 1-3 0-0 2, Spugnardi 1-2 0-0 3, Fulk 0-2 0-2 0, Whitted 7-13 0-0 14, Birkey 3-10 0-0 9, Raderstorf 1-4 0-0 2, Sp. Raines 3-8 5-6 11, Plummer 2-8 0-0 4, Hunter 1-3 0-0 2, Crooks 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 28-70 7-12 69.
Pastore 0-1 0-0 0, Ballock 1-7 4-5 6, Summerville 0-8 0-0 0, Myers 1-3 1-2 3, Wood 3-17 1-4 7, McLeish 1-3 1-2 3, Fuqua 0-3 0-0 0, Hopper 0-1 0-0 0, Samuelson 0-2 0-0 0, Stowe 0-2 0-0 0, Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Phillips 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 8-50, 11-15 27.
3-point fieldgoals -- Northview 6-21 (Birkey 3-7, Hayes 2-9, Raines 0-2, Spugnardi 1-1, Gregg 0-1, Plummer 0-1), SV 0-6 (Fuqua 0-2, Wood 0-1, Ballock 0-1, Samuelson 0-1, Stowe 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Northview 52 (Whitted 14, Raines 6, Plummer 6), SV 28 (Phillips 3, Ballock 3). Total Fouls -- Northview 17, SV 11. Turnovers -- Northview 21, SV 27.