GLEN DALE - Wheeling Central coach Penn Kurtz likes to tell his team how important it is to adjust on the fly.
The Maroon Knights spent Thursday night's practice trying to figure out how they were going to handle Indian Creek's 6-foot-5 sophomore Bre Berryman.
When they got to the gym for the opener of the John Marshall Holiday Tournament on Friday, they saw Berryman on the Redskins bench with a walking boot on her ankle, holding a pair of torn ligaments in place.
Indian Creek’s Bethany Davis (12) works around the defense of Wheeling Central’s Cara Stahl during their game on Friday night. The Maroon Knights won 82-28.
First, the Knights breathed a sigh of relief, then they adjusted so well, they went out and beat Indian Creek by a little more than half-a-hundred, 82-28, to advance to the finals where they'll play John Marshall tonight. The Monarchs beat Tucker County, 61-48, in the evening's late game.
''It's tough when your leading scorer and your leading rebounder is sitting on the bench,'' Kurtz said. ''She makes a huge difference for that team and creates a whole different set of problems for you defensively.''
The Knights blitzed out to a 22-5 lead after the first quarter and it was 38-13 at halftime.
''We got up early and just rolled from then on,'' Kurtz understated.
It wasn't until the second half that the lights really came on.
Central started the third quarter with a 15-0 run that spanned 197 seconds and left their coach smiling.
''I thought that first three minutes of the second half, we played as well as a team as we could,'' Kurtz said. ''I was very pleased with that.''
When that run ended, so did the night for the Wheeling Central starters, who took a seat and watched their backups outscore Indian Creek's subs, 35-5.
Playing roughly half the game, Colleen McCormick led the Knights with 22 points, followed by 13 from Emily Bucon.
Mackenzie Michaels reached double-figures with 11 off the bench, while Ashton Cross buried a pair of 3-pointers.
''We got great production from everybody on the team,'' Kurtz said. ''It seemed anybody I put in was able to do something good for us, so that's a real positive''
Bethany Davis and Brooke Mains each had eight for the Redskins (5-2), though Mains, much like the rest of her mates, had a tough day at the office.
''We couldn't make a shot,'' Indian Creek coach Erin DeSantis said.''We had shots, they just didn't go. Brooke's one of our leading scorers - she couldn't buy a basket. She took good shots, they just didn't go.''
DeSantis is hopeful that Berryman is back by the first of the year, but the Redskins will try their best to weather the storm in the meantime, beginning tonight, when they play Tucker County in the consolation game in the tournament.
In that one, she hopes they toughen up a little mentally.
''Yes, (Wheeling Central) is very good,'' she said. ''Did we do what we should have done? No. We took the easy way out, rather than the hard way and worked.''
John Marshall 61, Tucker County 48
Tucker County put a bit of scare into the unbeaten Monarchs, who led from the start - once by as much as nine - but weren't able to put away the Mountain Lions until there were three minutes left in the game.
Admittedly an unknown foe JM coach Mark McCormick had a shallow scouting report on Tucker County that didn't extend beyond how far it likes to play (half-court man) and two of its top players - Amber Evans and Steph Betler.
While those two combined for 28 points, it was the 12 from the slippery Savannah Ambrose the Monarchs weren't necessarily guarding against.
''She had a nice game,''McCormick said.
Tucker County whittled away at John Marshall's one-time 18-9 lead with 3:15 left in the first and had it down to three by the end of the quarter. The Mountain Lions kept it in the seven-point range for the better part of the next 20 minutes.
''We had a dogfight early on,'' McCormick said. ''We got in early foul trouble, but I thought our bench - Haille McClelland, Sissy George, Emily Winters - did a great job spelling and mixing and matching there in the first two quarters.''
Tori Derrow led four players in double figures for the Monarchs with 15 points, followed by 13 from Kylie Howard, 12 from Kristin Lewicki and 10 from Winters off the bench.