Defense leads Penn and Lions to title game | Sports


MISHAWAKA — Elkhart and host Penn had the opportunity to compete for a Class 4A women’s basketball championship — thanks in large part to all the extra opportunities their ball-peddling defenses provided on Saturday.

The Lions and Kingsmen tied exactly with two dozen chilling takeaways apiece in semi-final wins at Palace.

Elkhart beat Concord 45-34 before Penn followed with a 42-30 win over Warsaw.

The Kingsmen (18-6) and Lions (13-12) meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, with that survivor advancing to the LaPorte Regional Semifinals next Saturday.

Host Penn prevailed 53-33 in the January 19 regular season game.

ELKHART 45, CONCORD 34: Sophomore Samiyah Stout scored all of his team-high 13 points in the second half and senior De’Mour Watson added 11 points and a record nine rebounds off the bench as Elkhart came back from a deficit from 9-4 in the first quarter to lead until 18.

The Lions have intercepted 11 interceptions and committed 10 fewer turnovers than Concord.

“We told the kids that the two things it takes to even have a shot at winning a championship is your defense and your rebounding,” Elkhart coach Will Coatie said after earning his 100th career victory. “When your offense doesn’t work, you have to lock in defense, and our kids did a great job tonight locking in and playing defense.”

The Minutemen (8-15) shot just 29 percent from the field to go with their 24 turnovers.

“It was more their press than anything,” Concord coach Cassie Cepeda said of the result. “They kind of put the press all over the court and we turned it over, and they got those quick possessions. They were able to speed up the game and we wanted it slower.

Watson, the Lions’ top scorer of the season, had not played in any of the team’s previous seven quarters and did not register until 1:13 into the first period on Saturday – Coatie gave a “no polite comment on this. – but she quickly drained a triple to put Elkhart back at 9-7.

It started a 15-0 streak that gave the Lions a 19-9 lead late in the second quarter. They widened the gap to 32-14 at the end of the third, outscoring the Minutemen 28-5 over a 16-minute span.

Concord came within six points twice in the final 3:45 of the game, but Elkhart had the final five points.

Among others, Coatie praised Stout and rookie Danica Barnes.

“She always held (Aliyah) Hershberger to five, though,” Coatie said of Stout going unscored in the first half while referencing Minuteman’s guard who was averaging 14 points. “and in the second half she showed that she is a great time player. She played at a whole new level when we needed her.

Barnes scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds for the winners.

“She’s unique,” Coatie said. “She can keep all five positions and is a freshman. Her advantage is in front of her, but she arrives day after day and scrambles. She doesn’t do anything fancy, but she plays hard.

Concord junior Kendal Taylor led all players with 15 points and added a team-high eight rebounds.

“She had a hell of a game,” Cepeda said. “She did exactly what she is capable of. Proud of her. She fought through some big problems, but she really helped us get back into the game.

The coach was delighted with this return of the Minutemen.

“Giving up when we went down was kind of a bug-a-boo at times this year,” Cepeda said, but we fought back, and that’s all we ask of them. (Elkhart’s) the team that probably gave us our biggest boost (73-37 on Nov. 9), but we were able to turn things around tonight.

PENN 42, WARSAW 30: Junior Julia Economou scored 17 points and had four of Penn’s 16 steals on the way to her eighth straight win, while senior Jada Patton added 10 points and four more steals.

The Kingsmen took a 16-4 lead for a quarter, but had to survive a 9-0 shutout in the second period.

The Tigers (16-7) even took a 19-18 lead early in the third quarter, but Penn responded with an 8-0 push.

Warsaw moved closer to 32-28 in the fourth quarter, before the Kingsmen scored the guests 10-2 in the final 3:39.

“I strongly believe that defense wins championships, so no matter what was happening offensively, we knew we had to have that, because we know Warsaw is a great defensive team,” Penn coach Kristi Ulrich said. “They’ve done a great job all season, so we knew there would be periods where we might die a bit, but our defense allowed us to maintain our lead and create a bit of separation at the end.”

The coach cited Economou’s impact at every end.

“She came out of the gate very aggressive,” Ulrich said. “She has good hands, great athleticism around the rim… but you can’t let her defense go by the wayside either. When she was on (Kacilyn) Krebs, I don’t know if Krebs scored at all. We knew we had to limit her chances because she can kill you from the outside.

Krebs, a senior averaging 10.9 points, finished with six. Bailie Stephens led the Tigers with 14 points and four steals, while fellow senior Abby Sanner scored 10 points and grabbed a record 10 rebounds.


CONCORD: Kendal Taylor 4-8 7-9 15, Lynnsey Delio 1-2 0-0 2, Ashlyn Fish 0-2 0-0 0, Aliyah Hershberger 1-7 2-2 5, Bailei Mayo 2-8 1-2 6, Lauren Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Mileah McKain 0-1 0-0 0, Dominique Stilley 2-5 0-0 6, Maraiona Mason 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 10-34 (.294 ) 10-13 (.769) 34.

ELKHART: Mady Axsom 1-7 2-2 4, Danica Barnes 3-5 2-3 8, Danya Quinn 1-3 0-0 2, Jaya Johnson 0-7 0-0 0 Samiyah Stout 5-10 0-0 13 , Shaniyah Hughes 3-6 1-2 7, De’Mour Watson 4-9 2-3 ​​11. Totals: 17-47 (.362) 6-10 (.600) 45.

Score by quarters



3-point goals: Concord (4-14) — Stilley 2-5, Hershberger 1-3, Mayo 1-4; Elkhart (5-17) — Stout 3-5, Watson 1-1, AxsoM 1-4. Rebounds: Concord (26) — Taylor 8; Elkhart (32)-Watson 9, Barnes 8. Assists: Concord (8)-Mayo 3; Elkhart (10) – Axsom 3, Stout 3. Flights: Concord (9) – Mayo 3, Hershberger 2, Smith 2; Elkhart (11) – Axsom 2, Barnes 2, Johnson 2, Stout 2, Watson 2. Total Fouls: Concord 13, Elkhart 10. Turnovers: Concord 24, Elkhart 14.


WARSAW: Abby Sanner 5-13 0-0 10, Ava Egolf 0-2 0-0 0, Zoe Bergan 0-0 0-2 0, Kacilyn Krebs 2-6 0-0 6, Bailie Stephens 3-8 8-9 14, Abbey Peterson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 10-31 (.323) 8-11 (.727) 30.

PENN: Jada Patton 2-11 6-8 10, Julia Economou 7-10 2-8 17, Jessalyn Troy 0-3 0-0 0, Sydney Little 0-3 0-0 0, Lauren Walsh 2-3 0-2 4, Aniya Taylor 1-5 2-4 5, Gracie Bobo 2-6 0-0 6, Gabrielle Hoover 0-0 0-0 0, Payton Adkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-41 (.341 ) 10-22 (.455) 42.

Score by quarters



3-point goals: Warsaw (2-10) — Krebs 2-6; Penn (4-14) – Bobo 2-5, Taylor 1-1, Economou 1-2. Rebounds: Warsaw (31) — Sanner 10, Peterson 6; Penn (26) — Walsh 5. Assists: Warsaw (7) — Sanner 3; Penn (5)—Walsh 4. Flights: Warsaw (6)—Stephens 4; Penn (16) — Taylor 5, Patton 4, Economou 4. Total Fouls: Warsaw 17, Penn 13. Foul — Egolf (3:39, 4Q). Turnover: Warsaw 24, Penn 12.


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