By MARC TOBIAS
ST. MARYS — St. Marys was able to remain unbeaten overall,
and more importantly, in Western Buckeye League play with its
58-40 win against Defiance at McBroom Gymnasium on Thursday.
The Bulldogs were concerned with the outside shooting touch
of Haley Fannon and Krissy Haines, and when they extended either
their zone or man defenses, it opened things up inside for Kerri
Imwalle to have a big night.
Imwalle responded by leading all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-9
shooting from the field while knocking down 10-of-14 from the
“Kerri has worked extremely hard at the game of basketball,
she’s put in a lot of time and it’s always nice
to see kids that work that hard get rewarded for it,”
said St. Marys coach Bruce Brown. “I have to credit my
other kids too, they saw she was a force in there and saw they
were having a hard time with her and they got her the ball.”
Defiance coach Rod Hersha said defending St. Marys is difficult,
because of the matchup problems the Roughriders present with
their outside shooting and Imwalle’s inside play.
“She (Imwalle) uses her size well, she uses her strength
well and she really hurt us,” Hersha said. “One
of the things that I think gives them a real chance of not only
winning the league but doing well on the tournament trail is
because they really present some matchup problems.”
On the few occasions Imwalle wasn’t wreaking havoc in
the paint, it was Haines slashing inside for a bucket. The senior
swing player scored 16 points to go with five rebounds.
Still, Defiance hung in the game early, and trailed just 26-20
with less than two minutes before the half.
That’s when the ’Riders starting making a push,
as two Fannon free throws and an Imwalle bucket with 5.2 seconds
left made it a 10-point Roughriders lead at the half.
“It was a 26-20 game and we miss a layup, so instead of
cutting the lead to four, we turn around and made two pretty
big defensive mistakes to make it a 10-point lead instead of
a four-point lead,” Hersha said. “St. Marys is very
good, they have two of the best players in the league.”
The ’Riders lead became bigger in the second half when
Imwalle, Fannon and Haines hit buckets.
Georgette Richardson, who had nine points for Defiance, then
hit a bucket to stop the 10-0 Roughriders run.
“I think we’re the type of team that kind of wears
on you, I do push them hard and I think I have them in pretty
good shape, and by the time the second half rolls around I’m
hoping that our defense can kind of wear people down a little
bit,” Brown said.
That strategy appeared to pay dividends last night, as Defiance
shot 33 percent from the field in the second half compared to
45 percent in the first half.
The St. Marys defense also held Defiance to six points in the
third quarter while the ’Riders scored 13.
Fannon scored 10 while leading St. Marys with six rebounds.
Dee Hillman led Defiance with 11 points behind the strength
of 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc.
St. Marys improves to 4-0 (2-0 WBL) while Defiance falls to
1-4 (0-2 WBL). The ’Riders are back in action Monday at