McHENRY – Rob Baker’s halftime instructions to the Prairie Ridge girl’s basketball team couldn’t have been clearer: Don’t let McHenry guard Laura D’Angelo get the ball. Don’t let D’Angelo score.
After D’Angelo scored 13 points in the second quarter; Amanda Hoyland drew the defensive assignment. Hoyland held D’Angelo to three points over the final two quarters, and the Wolves held on for a 48-45 FVC Valley win.
“We went into the locker room and there was one focus for five minutes,” Baker said. “How are we going to stop [D’Angelo]? I didn’t want her shooting, and Amanda is good enough to stop her.”
D’Angelo was held without a touch in the third quarter, and only got her hands on the ball three times in the fourth quarter. Hoyland said it was a total team defensive effort.
“It was a team effort to make sure that no one let [D’Angelo] score,” Hoyland said. “I guarded her, but our whole team knew that we had to get her stopped.”
The Wolves (12-6 overall, 2-3 FVC Valley) led by one heading into the fourth, but used the final quarter to separate from the Warriors (10-11, 2-3).
Sarah LeBeau hit two 3-pointers to help put Prairie Ridge up by six. Eight of Kelsey Bear’s team-high 12 points came in the fourth, and Bear made two free throws with 25 seconds left in the game to put the Wolves up by five.
Bear said that practice has paid off. Recent struggles at the line have made her spend more time on it, and the team has been working on closing out games in practice.
“We’ve definitely been practicing the clock running down,” Bear said. “We just needed to come out for four quarters and we did that.”
LeBeau and Kelly Klendworth each added nine for the Wolves.
McHenry hung tough, cutting the lead to three with 35 seconds left in the game. With the Warriors’ full-court trap on, Alissa Rosga got a steal to find D’Angelo open for a 3.
D’Angelo led all scorers with 16 points, and Greta Taylor added eight.
The Warriors found something working in the second quarter. McHenry looked to establish the post with Brittany Avonts, which helped open the perimeter for D’Angelo. D’Angelo hit three 3-pointers: the second helped tie the score for the first time and the final gave McHenry it’s first lead.
McHenry coach Scott Morris was happy with the effort, but said the first quarter, where McHenry missed three shots from under the hoop, hurt.
“We left a lot of points on the floor, that’s been kind of our Achille’s heel,” Morris said. “We’re getting good looks and getting good shots. We just can’t hit those bunnies.”