Western Tech girls basketball uses press to beat Lansdowne

Lansdowne and Western Tech combined for 59 turnovers in their girls basketball game, but it was the Wolverines' press that caused the most damage in their 53-27 victory at Lansdowne Friday night.

Western Tech, the defending Class 1A state champions, came out of the locker room at halftime with an 18-11 lead.

The Wolverines' started the second half with a 6-0 run as Sydney Clopton’s backcourt steal and basket was followed by a pair of baskets by Ebonee Dixon (13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) to build the lead to double digits.

The closest the Vikings (2-6) got was nine points the rest of the way and the Wolverines (6-5) outscored them 20-6 in the final period for the convincing win.

Lansdowne’s Kamya Renwicks had seven points in the third quarter and finished with team highs in points (9), assists (5) and steals (3).

She also did an outstanding job on the Wolverines’ leading scorer Clopton in a box-and-one defense, holding Clopton to just seven field goal attempts and 11 points.

“I told her, ‘I just want you to annoy Sydney,’ ” Lansdowne coach Erin Fortney said.

But it was Clopton who annoyed the Vikings with her game-high nine steals.

Sheena McKnight added five steals as the Wolverines amassed 20 total steals.

The defense broke open a stagnant offense for the Wolverines after halftime.

“We shared the ball and we had excellent teamwork,” Clopton said.

The Wolverines shot 38 percent from the field (21-for-55), while the Vikings were held to just 21 percent (8-for-39).

But they hung in there in the first half with timely baskets.

Alex Bloom made a three-pointer with six seconds left to pull them within 8-6 at the first-quarter break.

Western Tech's Bria Johnson had three blocked shots and four of her game-high 13 rebounds in the quarter to offset a start in which the Wolverines had six turnovers in their first seven possessions.

Clopton’s three-pointer with 1:40 left in the second quarter turned a four-point lead into a 16-9 margin and Western Tech maintained it through the quarter.

Deja Dennis (7 points) and Ashley Gourdine (8 points) hit all three of their field goals in the second half as the Wolverines spread out their scoring.

“Games like this, towards the end of the game, you could see the ball movement and you can see what our offense is supposed to be doing,” Western Tech coach Nolan Roe said.

Lansdowne was outrebounded 37-24, but the Vikings got a solid effort on the boards from Miranda Tyler (team-high 11 rebounds).

Senior center Danielle Happel added 6 points, 3 rebounds and 1 blocked shot.

“Darienne has really turned it on,” Fortney said. “It’s nice to see her going for it and having a little bit of spunk.”

But in the end, it was the Wolverines' defense that made the difference.

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