SERGEANT BLUFF | Air tight defense in the second half carried Sergeant Bluff-Luton to a 49-33 girls basketball win over East here Thursday night.
The 14th-ranked (Class 4A) Warriors limited East to eight second-half points while pulling away from a 25-25 halftime tie. SB-L, 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Missouri River Conference, went on a pair of critical spurts in the second half.
“They came out and did well in the second half, we just need to put a complete game together,” Sergeant Bluff-Luton Coach Miranda Riediger said. “We’re waiting for that day and I know when it comes it will look pretty good. Until then, we’ll just keep working on the little things.”
Of more pressing concern for Riediger is the condition of junior standout Abby Wisecup, who took a hard fall after driving to the basket. Wisecup, averaging an even 12 points per game, left with 5:44 remaining and didn’t return.
East (0-5, 0-3), looking for its first victory of the season, played on even terms with the state-ranked Warriors in the first half behind 14 points by sophomore Kennedy McCloy. Her 3-pointer with six seconds left tied it at 25-25, but she was limited to two points in the second half.
The Black Raiders made only 3 of 26 shots in the second half, scoring six points in the third quarter and two in the fourth.
“Our theme at halftime was energy and effort, those were two things we lacked in the first half,” Riediger said. “I think the girls had more energy and their effort was better. We mixed it up a little more defensively and obviously it helped to get some of those starters off the bench that were in foul trouble.”
Three of the four SB-L starters picked up two fouls before halftime, forcing Riediger to utilize her bench a little more than usual.
Kenzie Foley scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Wisecup and Anna Lucas – each of whom missed considerable time in the first half because of foul trouble – finished with 10 points each. Kylee Christensen raked down a game-high 11 rebounds and SB-L held a sizeable 46-29 advantage on the boards.
Lexi Sneller got the Warriors started in the second half with a 3-pointer and they went on to take a 38-29 lead, thanks to an 8-0 run capped by two Wisecup free throws.
Olivia Barnes scored for East with 2:31 left in the third quarter, but SB-L ran off the final five points of that stanza and the first five in the fourth. McCloy had East’s only points of the fourth quarter at the 5:12 mark, but the Warriors tallied just six points, all from the free throw line.
SB-L converted 19 of 30 charity tosses and East 8 of 16.