SHIPPENSBURG -- After the first quarter ended Friday night, things didn’t look good for the Shippensburg Lady Hounds as they trailed by eight points, only scoring four while the Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils had a quick 12.
In the second quarter Ship fought back, cutting the deficit to just seven at the half.
The Lady Hounds (1-3, 1-1 MPC) put up a strong fight against the undefeated Blue Devils (3-0, 1-0 MPC), who certainly came into the game as the favorites, but ultimately fell 44-27 in a defensively dominated game.
The shots weren’t falling for Greencastle, which hit 34 percent from the field, but the Devils put their shooting woes aside and focused on their defense, which was the key ingredient in the win.
“They (Shippensburg) had some shooting trouble over the weekend, which we knew about, but we wanted to stick with our man-to-man, teach the kids how to play," G-A coach Mike Rhine said. "When you have Jenay (Faulkner) back there anchoring it and Hannah on the ball, we can create a lot of havoc on defense and our team is just getting better defensively.”
Turnovers were a killer for the Lady Hounds, who struggled against a press defense. Many of their possessions ended with an errant pass or a steal, which allowed Greencastle to attempt 50 field goals while Ship attempted only 33.
Shippensburg coach Andrew Markel felt that his team succeeded on defense.
“Our sole purpose tonight was to take Hannah Crist out of the game and allow Faulkner to score 20-25 points," he said, "and then score 45 points and win. Everything we wanted to do tonight defensively we did; I couldn’t be any more proud of the girls defensively.”
The Lady Hounds did succeed bothering Crist -- she shot 3-for-15 from the floor. But even though her shots weren't falling, Crist was an important part of the win as she played strong defense, picking up key steals when the Hounds attempted to make a run.
Faulkner did her part on the offensive end, finishing with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Her four first-half 3-pointers were key in the Blue Devils holding a comfortable lead and she had just as much of an impact on the defensive end, holding the lane down with five blocks.
“If you lose focus on Jenay Faulkner just one time, she’s going to make you pay. We lost her about four times in the first half and she turned that into four threes. Her game is beautiful to watch and difficult to defend,” Markel said.
Shippensburg’s offensive struggles affected most of the team, with the only bright spots being forward Mariah Martin, who had 11 points, and guard Kara Newell, who had 7.
Greencastle 44, Shippensburg 27
Jenay Faulkner 7-13 2-7 20, Hannah Crist 3-15 2-2 9, Morgan Wagaman 4-8 0-0 8, Megan Hirneisen 2-6 0-0 5, Madison Sweitzer 1-8 0-2 2, Ashley True 0-0 0-0, Lydia Crist 0-0 0-0. Totals — 17-50 4-11 44.
Mariah Martin 4-10 3-4 11, Kara Newell 2-7 2-4 7, Courtney Coy 0-7 3-4 3, Kayleen Sydnor 1-3 0-0 2, Liz Logan 1-2 2-4 4, Madeline Bender 0-4 0-0, Shannon Staver 0-0 0-0, Madeline Bender 0-0 0-0. Totals — 9-33 10-13 27.
Greencastle _ 12 _ 8 _ 15 _ 9 _ — _ 44
Shippensburg _ 4 _ 9 _ 8 _ 6 _ — _ 27
3-point goals — GA 4 (Faulkner 4, Crist), Ship 1 (Newell).