Buffalo Grove's defense shuts down Jacobs
You don't get assists on defense in basketball.
But don't tell that to Buffalo Grove girls basketball coach Martha Kelly. She practically wanted to invent a hoops statistic -- let's call it an 'S.O.S' number, for fun -- after BG's 43-31 nonconference defeat of visiting Jacobs on Wednesday night.
"Our help defense was fantastic," Kelly said. "We had two, sometimes three, girls doing all they could to assist their teammates on defense all night.
"Grace Veller, what a tremendous job she did on (Jacobs' fine 5-foot-8 junior guard, Mackenzie Leahy)," the coach added, referring to her reserve 5-6 guard. "Grace is such a great athlete, who brought energy tonight. Our whole team did."
Veller -- who happened to have statistics homework Wednesday night -- scored only 2 points, but her 2 deflections caused 2 turnovers in the second quarter, and four of her mates (Leah McKenna, Abby Thiessen, Hanna Glanz and Kim Stuercke) each had a steal in the frame.
BG (3-5) limited Jacobs to 3 points in the quarter, led 26-12 at the half and enjoyed its biggest lead (32-13) at the 3:32 mark of the third quarter.
"I stayed on (Leahy's hip) as best as I could," Veller, a three-sport athlete, said. "Communication is important on defense; we never stopped talking. We also never stopped helping where we were needed."
McKenna, No. 11 on BG's roster, had a marvelous "match" game, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, when Jacobs (2-4) used an 8-0 run to pare the hosts' lead to 37-28 at 1:52. The effort upped McKenna's double-double total to two this winter; she came down with a season-high 13 boards in her first double-double, against Palatine last month.
"Leah," Veller said of her economics class classmate, "is always going up for us. You can always count on her."
BG's Stuercke, a 5-11 senior, tied McKenna for game-high scoring honors with 11 points; 6-foot Bison senior Cassidy Green struck for 9 points and had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Leahy and senior forward Janaya Banks paced the Golden Eagles with 9 points apiece. Banks grabbed a team-best 8 boards, with Leahy and junior guard Arianna Corrado (5 points) right behind her with 7 each.
Golden Eagles junior guard Anelise Rodriguez collected a game-high 4 steals in a highly physical contest. The squads combined for 57 floor burns, at least.
"We challenged our players at the half to find ways to stay competitive," said Jacobs coach Jon Reibel, who played hoops at Hoffman Estates in the early 2000s. "We told them, 'Let's get back out there and make it a game,' which we did. Which I really liked.
"Instead of folding, we got back in it. We need that kind of effort every quarter."