Defense Does It For John Marshall
By DAVE MORRISON
MOUNDSVILLE – What a hard fall on the court couldn’t do, foul trouble did.
After Wheeling Park had fought back valiantly to tie its game with John Marshall, Kelsi Johnson picked up her fourth foul.
With its team captain sitting on the bench, Park allowed an 8-0 run to gain back the lead and momentum in John Marshall’s 64-58 victory against the Patriots Thursday at the Moundsville Field House.
Only moments before, Johnson sustained a hard fall battling for a loose ball and banged her head off the floor with a loud crack.
She got up, was examined by Coach Dee Davis and laughed. Seconds later she canned a 3.
After Park’s Tamara Bumgardner tied it at 41-41, Johnson picked up her fourth foul.
John Marshall went on a 6-0 run to end the third quarter and made it 49-41 with the first basket of the fourth.
Johnson reentered the game with 7:07 remaining and Park responded with a basket by her sister, Kendra Johnson, who had a game-high 17 points.
The Patriots, however, were in catch up mode and could not respond, getting no closer than five the rest of the way.
“Miss Johnson is a good player,” John Marshall coach Mark McCormick said. “We hope she is OK. I think when she went out of the game, it hurt their defense. She is a tough matchup problem because she is a good outside shooter. We wanted to take advantage of the runs when we could get them and it just so happened we had a nice run right there.”
“She’s our captain and she is our leader,” Davis said. “She gives 110 percent all the time. The run wouldn’t have happened if we had made some shots. It certainly didn’t help not having her in the game. She is going to go hard, play hard, all the time. I think we should feed off the energy she gives us. She is tough as nails.”
While not having Kelsi Johnson hurt, Davis pointed out a couple of statistical anomalies that also made a difference.
“We had 24 rebounds in the game,” Davis said. “They had 22 offensive rebounds. We made 4 of 15 free throws. That’s the game in a nutshell. We didn’t play well enough to win th game.”
A lot of that had to do with the Monarchs, who did own the glass, especially on offense.
“We knew we had a bit of a height advantage and our game plan was to hit the boards and get those second and third chance opportunities,” McCormick said. “Where were struggle on the glass in short shots and Park is a good outside shooting team. They are going to take those 3s and that allowed us to get those longer rebounds and gain an advantage inside.”
Own the inside they did, as Tori Derrow and the Monarchs inside contingent continually limited Park to one shot.
“We just need to be tougher,” Davis said. “There were a couple times where we get a rebound, we’re holding it over our head and they just take the ball from us. We can’t allow that to happen.”
John Marshall (12-7) also used another strength to its advantage. Play off the bench.
The four bench players combined for 20 points, led by Hailee Cunningham’s 12, 10 of which came in the first half.
“I thought that (Kaylee) McMullen, Cunningham, (Maggie) Kaylor and (Abby) Patrick did a great job off the bench, especially when we got in foul trouble with (Tori) Derrow, (Bailey) Filben and (Sissy) George,” McCormick said. “It was nice to see a girl like Hailee rewarded, because she has worked tirelessly to become a better player. They came in and gave us some quality minutes, and then they scored to boot.”
Derrow led the way for the balanced scoring Monarchs with 15 points. Emily Winters added nine and George and Filben contributed eight each.
In addition to Kendra Johnson’s 17 points, Bumgardner had 16 for Park (7-12) and Kelsi Johnson had 10.