GLEN DALE - The icing on the cake tasted a little sweeter following John Marshall's 69-49 victory against Union Local on Senior Night at the John Marshall gymnasium Monday.
A large dose of defense and a balanced scoring attack saw to that.
"I don't want to say our defense dictated the game overall, but it certainly was some icing on the cake," John Marshall coach Mark McCormick said.
Indeed it was, as the Monarchs 3-2 zone put the clamps down on Union Local scoring machine Cori Medley (nine points) and her teammates in the convincingly sweet victory.
"There were two things I told the girls we had to accomplish going into this game," McCormick said. "One, we had to keep Cori Medley in check and we had to dominate the boards. Doing that all goes back to toughness. I preach toughness. We knew it was going to be a physical game, and it was. We did a good job on Medley. She's a player who can score 22, 23 points a game. And, with the exception of a few baskets where we didn't block out in the first (quarter), we did a great job on the boards. We played good sound defense. We did a great job on the boards. I couldn't be any happier."
There wasn't much McCormick didn't like, as Tori Derrow poured in 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and senior Emily Winters added 16 points and 10 rebounds to help John Marshall improve to 9-5.
Winters got the party started early, leading the Monarchs to a 21-12 lead after one. She had six points and five rebounds in the quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Derrow had 10 of the Monarchs' 13 second-half points, as she dominated the glass (four rebounds, three for putbacks) allowing the Monarchs to keep that nine-point lead at the break.
It was JM's zone that continually led the turnovers and subsequent transition points that kept Union Local at bay.
"I don't know how many turnovers we had, but it was a lot," Union Local coach Kelly Hammond said. "Their defense gave us problems. And we got beat on the boards. Turnovers and rebounds were the difference. We kept yelling for them to block out but (John Marshall) continued to get a lot of second and third chances. That really limited our possession, them getting so many second chances."
Medley couldn't get untracked early, scoring just two points in the first half as the Monarchs grabbed a 34-25 halftime lead.
By the time she did find some success inside, John Marshall had gone up by double figures.
"We came out in a 3-2 zone, but it wasn't a typical 3-2," McCormick said. "We had one of our wings sag down inside a little bit and kind of double Medley. That caused them some problems."
Amanda Swallie, another Jets player capable of putting up double-digit numbers, was held to seven points, all of those coming in the first half.
"We usually have four to six girls who can score double figures," Hammond said. "We didn't have that (Monday night)."
McCormick started his four seniors, Justice Watson, Hailee Cunningham, Sissy George and Winters and all contributed in some fashion.
"We rely heavily on them and they all responded in giving us a lead after the first quarter," McCormick said. "Our other girls really look to them and they set the tone."
Derrow, a sophomore, also responded, with her second straight big game, coming off the heels of a 32-point effort against rival Wheeling Park last week.
"She is a sophomore, and she isn't even 16 years old yet," McCormick said. "She had a real good game against Park, and I think that really was a stepping stone for her, and for the team. She is the type of player who can be a difference maker on the offensive and the defensive end. Sometimes she doesn't understand that, but I think she is starting to really come around and be the player we expect her to be."
John Marshall also received nine points from George and Abby Namath. Cunningham added eight.
Along with Medley's nine points, Union Local (11-5) got nine points from Kylie Russell and Kaitlyn Clark-Patterson. Delaney joined Swallie with seven.