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MTZ girls basketball wins two more

Jocelyn Turner goes up for a layup in a a 66-55 win against St. Teresa at St. Teresa.

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion girls basketball team won both of its games last week with two non-conference wins against St. Teresa and Maroa-Forsyth.

Against St. Teresa, the Braves went into the second quarter deadlocked and with a 16-14 lead. The Braves came out behind Denver Anderson playmaking abilities and Jocelyn Turner’s finishing. Anderson found Turner for a layup to put the Braves up 18-16.

After an exchange of baskets, Anderson found Turner open once again for a layup. Anderson then cleaned up the offensive boards and made a put-back layup to put the Braves up 24-20.

“I just told them the bottom line is to win there,” Head coach Steve Marvel said. “You know, the fact that we hadn’t played in a week, we could tell that, but we came out, we kept our composure, we did what we needed to do. I was proud of that and we extended our lead. We didn’t get shook on things and we got a win. It is just like I tell ‘em, I don’t care if it wins by 50 or if it wins by two, it’s a win and it counts the same in the column and it gets us closer to our goals. So I give credit to St. Teresa on how they came out and played, I thought really well, they played better than what I saw on film and they did an outstanding job.”

The Braves continued to find Turner and Turner continued to finish. Turner made a layup to put the Braves up 27-22 off a Bracie Barnes assist. Barnes then made a steal and passed it to Turner who found Maddie Kendall who made a driving layup to give the Braves a 29-24 lead. Kendall then used her playmaking abilities to find Anderson who drove to the rim, made the layup and made the three-point play to give the Braves a 32-24 lead.

The Braves finished the second quarter ahead 34-30. The Braves developing big three of Anderson, Kendall and Turner continued to impose their will on both ends of the floor. Turner blocked shots and accumulated four in the night. Kendall made five steals. All three finished in double-figures in points with Turner leading all with 25, Anderson with 20 and Kendall with 11. Anderson had a triple-double of 20 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. Turner had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Kendall had 11 points and nine rebounds.

“I think it’s very important on how they’re playing to this level,” Coach Marvel said. “If you go back and you look at our last several games, this is the third game in a row that Maddie has been in double figures and what she does like she was doing tonight and like she did the last two games before tonight and she’s attacking the rim and getting in there. It creates a lot of opportunities for us across the board and Denver made some great passes to Jocelyn and she’s finished pretty well. She’s (Jocelyn) a tough matchup when and when we run those two and we run our two main things with that go some high low,it’s difficult for other teams when she and Bracie are out there together. It’s difficult for people to defend that because we can run some high low stuff and usually do well and Bracie’s got a nice mid-range shot, so that helps us. But I think the fact that those three are, are stepping up to be our primary scorers and things, not just scoring, it’s like you said, it’s rebounding, it’s defending, it’s deflections, it’s steals, it’s slowing down players, it’s doing those things. I’ve had the luxury by moving Alex Smith in the starting lineup to let Maddie not always have to have the, the best offensive player to guard.
So I think that allows her to have a little more energy on the offensive game, which has been a huge plus.”

The Braves went on to win 66-55. The Braves improved to 16-6 overall and 5-2 in Apollo Conference play. This week the Braves will face MacArthur and Taylorville.

“It’s just like I told them this is one step closer to our goal,” Coach Marvel said. “ Our passing, our ball handling,, our defense slacked several times tonight. We didn’t get some 50-50 balls we should have. So just improving on our intensity level. I was very pleased in the fourth quarter when Kallianna was talking really well defensively and our talking improved and that’s the stuff we need to have. So seeing that and we just need to expand on that Saturday, really talk well defensively, we threw some things in today we haven’t done before with some, some zone defenses. We haven’t run it at all this year. So, you its just working on growing and getting some of those things improving on our defense, tightening up offensively our passion and our ball and and make sure we’re communicating well because our goal is 20 plus wins top three finishing the conference and being a, you seed in the regionals and I think if we continue to take care of business, we should be in a top two seed, with our record and with the strength of scheduling everything. But, we have to do what we have to do. And if we don’t, then we can slip and go down. And, that’s really gonna be our focus is just trying to inch towards our goals to improve individually and as a team on the little things. And then we’ll take care of the big things,”

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