Hammond shuts down N. Carroll, 53-43

January 06, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Hammond's girls team showed North Carroll how importan good defense can be in a tight basketball game.

No. 4 Hammond stepped up its defense in the second half last night, outscoring No. 7 North Carroll 21-3 at one point and keeping the visiting Panthers without a basket for nearly 13 minutes midway through the game on the way to a 53-43 victory.

Hammond (6-2), which broke a two-game losing streak, led at halftime 21-19, and decided to increase the pressure on its man-to-man defense against North Carroll (7-1) in the second half.

"We were just giving them a little too much slack," said Hammond coach Joe Russo. "We were underplaying them. All we did was make a few adjustments."

That meant, mainly, getting into the Panthers' faces more. The Golden Bears refused to let the Panthers get open shots, especially on the wings, as they had in the first half.

The result: a stretch of 12:54 during which North Carroll could not score. The Panthers missed 15 shots in a row, from the 2:47 mark of the second quarter until the 5:53 mark of the final $H quarter. By the time Michele Jeffery (game-high 22 points) broke the streak with a put-back, Hammond had increased the lead to 40-26.

"In the second half, we were a little tentative," said North Carroll coach Greg Knill. "It was hard for our wings to get open."

North Carroll then got some help from Jenny Baker (15 points). Baker hit three three-pointers in the final three minutes to make the final margin closer.

Hammond also used its trademark pressure defense to force steals and score points off them.

The Golden Bears stole the ball 16 times, with guard Kacy Williams and forwards Tameka Harrison and Amy Hanson turning in strong efforts.

Despite not scoring a basket in the third quarter, North Carroll hung in. The Golden Bears scored only 11 points in the quarter to take a 32-24 lead after three.

Hammond blew it open early in the fourth quarter, however. The Golden Bears hit five of their first six shots, led by Williams (17 points, eight rebounds, seven steals, five assists) to take a 47-26 lead.

Williams made several key baskets throughout the game. She made two layups and a jumper early in the fourth quarter that helped the Golden Bears to that 21-point lead.

"We knew we had to step up on defense," said Williams. "We had a lot of steals. That's where we get most of our points."

Hammond tried to keep Jeffery (16 rebounds) off the boards, especially in the second half. The Golden Bears' defense was successful enough, however, to keep North Carroll from ever really running its offense well.

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