GEORGETOWN — Even though it was just a regular season game, the Bethel Lady Tigers picked up a measure of revenge against the Georgetown Lady G-Men.
Taking advantage of a full-court press on Georgetown and 11 points from star player Julia Jenike, the Lady Tigers defeated the Lady G-Men, 43-32, on November 30 at Georgetown High School.
In addition to Jenike, the Lady Tigers were led in scoring by Allison Parks, who scored 13 points, and their stout defense forced 15 Lady G-Men turnovers.
“It wasn’t pretty but it was a win,” Lady Tigers head coach Dave Fallis said. “Any time you can come to Georgetown and can get a win, which isn’t very often, we’ll take it.”
It was a struggle for most of the night to develop any rhythm offensively for the Lady G-Men, and due to Bethel’s full-court press, there were multiple times when Georgetown turned the ball over in their own half of the court. The Lady G-Men were led in scoring by freshman point guard Kennedy Underwood, who finished with 11 points.
“We got beat by a good basketball team,” Lady G-Men head coach Bernie Cropper said. “We didn’t rebound, I thought they really beat us on the glass. They changed their defense and we had trouble adjusting to that, and then really, we had trouble executing in the half court.”
The last time these two teams faced one another, it was in the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional final in Wilmington on February 28, which saw the Lady G-Men sink a pair of free throws with seconds left to win, 61-59 and advance to the next round, ending the Lady Tigers’ season in the process.
This time around, it was the Lady Tigers who ran out to an early lead and never looked back, save for a late run in the second quarter by the Lady G-Men which cut the deficit to five.
“We had a lot of mistakes but we played our hardest the entire time. This is the first time we’ve won at Georgetown in a long time and I’m really proud of all of our girls,” Jenike said. “Coming back here and beating them at their own court makes us all feel happy.”
After the first quarter, the Lady Tigers held a 16-6 lead, with the Lady G-Men lacking intensity and confidence offensively. Parks scored 10 of her team’s 16 points in the quarter.
The Lady G-Men picked up their energy in the second quarter and started attacking the basket more along with some long possessions. Underwood showed tenacity in the dribble-drive, and seniors Rachel Gibbons and Bayley Johnson both scored a couple of buckets and helped to make big defensive stops. Much of the second quarter run came with Jenike on the bench, after she picked up her second personal foul.
Johnson personified toughness when after the game it was revealed that she played more than 30 minutes while suffering from flu-like symptoms.
The Lady G-Men rebounded in the second quarter with 15 points, and cut the deficit to five points at 26-21 at halftime.
But the start of the third quarter was similar to the start of the first, as the Lady Tigers played with more energy and intensity, especially on the defensive end.
Jenike being back on the court helped as well, getting teammates Alyssa Demaris, Reagan Leonard, Haylee Foster, and Parks involved, while hitting a three-point basket herself to give the Lady Tigers to a 14-point lead after three quarters.
“We’ve been conditioning a lot, and we didn’t want them to sit and have a half-court defense the whole time, we wanted to get them running and tiring them out so we could play our fast-paced game,” Jenike said.
Although the Lady G-Men attempted a fourth-quarter comeback, it was too little too late, and the Lady G-Men fell for the first time this season.
“They were the more aggressive team tonight, and usually when that happens, with their talent, they’re going to beat you,” Cropper said. “We have a lot of things to work on, whether it’s the intensity we bring, the execution, etc. It’s early and we’re certainly going to improve and get back to work.”
Fallis said he wants to see his team improve their interior defending in the coming days and weeks after allowing a few baskets down low to Gibbons, Johnson, Underwood, and junior Taylor McKinney.
“We told them at the beginning of the season, how we protect the bottom half of the paint is going to dictate who wins league this year,” Fallis said. “We didn’t do a very good job of it tonight, so we’ve got to go back and work on it.”