“I did not see that coming.”
Sure Creston girls basketball coach Britt Roberts thought she had the right gameplan dialed up to lead her squad to victory against Class 3A 14th-ranked Shenandoah, but what happened Tuesday night was jaw-dropping.
Creston’s 72-35 victory over visiting Shenandoah was well on its way to fruition during a second quarter run that took a four-point advantage and stretched it to 20 at the half.
Shenandoah’s Logan Hughes scored 18 points, but was cutoff for zero in the second period in the midst of Creston’s 16-0 run that put it ahead 33-15 and 39-19 after two periods.
“We were determined to shut her (Hughes) down and that’s what helped us,” Kelsey Fields said.
Fields netted 16 points and did not miss a shooting opportunity with her 7 of 7 effort from the floor and 2-2 line from the charity stripe.
The Panthers began sinking shots at every chance and shot 64.4 percent from the floor on 29 of 45 shots.
“We were hitting shots right from the beginning,” Brielle Baker said. “We were very confident with our shots, passing the ball around really well and not being selfish … We were good on ‘D’. Our defense turned into good transition offense.”
Baker netted a career-high 34 points on 13 of 17 shooting and knocked down five 3-pointers. The explosive junior guard added to that with a team-high nine rebounds and five assists and contributed three steals.
“She played out of her mind. You know what the best thing about a kid like Brielle, is?” Roberts posed the question. “She comes out (of the game) and she’s got 34 points and I’m worried about her getting the scoring record and this, that and the other thing and she comes out and she looks at the scoreboard and says “’35 points…’ and I’m looking at her like, ‘what are you talking about? You had 34.’ And she’s talking about how much we’re beating them by. You’ve got to love a kid like that.”
The Fillies and Panthers traded punches as the score was tied or changed hands 10 times in the first quarter. An early timeout after several Panther mistakes helped soothe the Panthers nerves.
Baker’s 3-pointer, kick-started by a Peyton Rice steal and Bre Wallace assist in transition, saw her spot up after moving from behind the play and settling into a relaxed rhythm to knock down the easy trey.
Rice was one of several Panthers whose impact on the game stuck more vividly in the heads of her coaches than on the stat sheets.
“The way she was able to frustrate number 43 (Logan Hughes, who did not score in the second quarter), that was huge. That was basically the game for us,” Roberts said.
The Panthers shaded Hughes all night with several defenders, as Bre Wallace (who also added 11 points and three triples) was instrumental in mitigating Hughes’ impact.
Grace Root, Kesia Stewart and others came off the bench and filled the roles delegated to them. Tuesday’s win represented the perfect gameplan win in which everyone executed what was asked of them according to Roberts.
Baker then capped the first with a buzzer-beating pull-up jumper and Creston added 12 more points on its run in the second quarter before Shenandoah scored again.
Baker had reached 19 at the end of the first half and was held to five in the third before adding to it in the fourth with 10 more points.
The win left the Panthers buzzing, as the possibilities for this season opened up before their eyes.
“You walk into our locker room after our game and you see it,” Roberts said. “They all know that we’re capable and we can do it. That’s what a win like that shows.”
UP NEXT — Creston (2-2, 1-1) plays at Atlantic (1-3, 0-3) Friday.
Shen (35) — 15 4 9 7
Crest (72) — 19 20 9 24
Crest (FG FT PTS) — Totals — 29 5-10 72. Brielle Baker 13 3-4 34, Kelsey Fields 7 2-2 16, Bre Wallace 4 0-0 11, Sam Dunphy 3 0-0 6, Kesia Stewart 2 0-0 5. 3-point goals — 9 (Baker 5, Wallace 3, Stewart 1). Assists — 19 (Baker 5, Wallace 5, Peyton Rice 4, Fields 3, Dunphy 1, Megan Haley 1). Rebounds — 36 (Baker 9, Fields 8, Dunphy 6, Maitlen 5). Steals — 8 (Baker 3, Maitlen 2, Wallace 1, Fields 1, Rice 1). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — None.