Central Routs Rosecrans

Knights struggle early, but then turn up defensive pressure

Photo by Kyle Lutz Wheeling Central’s Taylor Duplaga (25) looks for someone to pass to as Bishop Rosecrans’ Kailey Zemba defends.

WHEELING — With 3:40 left in the first quarter, Wheeling Central coach Penn Kurtz called a timeout after a Bishop Rosecrans bucket as the Maroon Knights clinged to a 13-11 lead.

The message was quite simple. Kurtz’s squad was not playing well enough defense.

And as soon as the Maroon Knights hit the floor again, the rout was on. Wheeling Central went on a 13-2 run to end the quarter and held the Bishops to 10 points over the next two quarters, including three in the third, in a 67-39 victory on the first day of the Undo’s Tournament on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.

“Well we just weren’t playing really good defense,” Kurtz said. “And I told them that we gave up 11 points in the first four minutes of the quarter. That’s not good enough. We just have to play better defense. Sometimes we get a little focused on the wrong end of the court. We want to score points and we forget to stop the other team. After that timeout, I thought we played much better at stopping the ball.”

Taylor Duplaga started the run with a 3-pointer to make it 16-11. Kaylee Reinbeau followed with a bucket. An Eden Gainer bucket with 2:10 left put the score at 22-11 and the lead never fell below double digits again.

One aspect that has not changed for the Maroon Knights is the team’s ability to distribute points. Three players scored in double figures as Reinbeau led the way with a game-high 18 points including eight in the third quarter. Duplaga continued to shine as she compiled 15 points while Gainer netted 13 including nine in the opening quarter.

“I thought we did a good job of taking what they gave us on our offense,” Kurtz said. “We read the defense pretty well and got the ball to the open player and made good shots. Eden out there creates things. Riley (Bennington), Hannah (White). It’s a really good balance when they get out there and score.”

With the game out of reach, Kurtz went to his bench and gave some players some important minutes as all the starters sat for the whole fourth quarter.

Marisa Huran and Hannah White both tallied four points while Allison Davison netted five. White, who played quality minutes also made some good defensive plays and was a force on the offensive board.

“That’s helpful,” Kurtz said. “At some point you’re going to need those players to step up and help you. That’s a great learning experience for them.”

Bishop Rosecrans was led by Claire Creeks as she compiled 11 points while both Tessa Littick and Jessie Durant had nine.