ELMORE Elmwood applied full court pressure for 32 straight minutes and it led to a second-half collapse by a Woodmore team that ran out of gas, losing 56-35.
The Wildcats led for nearly all of the first two quarters and took a one-point advantage into the half. But the Royals forced 16 turnovers and outscored Woodmore 36-14 in the second half.
Elmwood kept its undefeated record in the Suburban Lakes League intact (3-0) and improved to 4-2 overall. With the loss on its home court, Woodmore slipped to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the SLL.
I think we wore them down with our full court pressure, said Elmwood coach Gary Reynolds We knew we could beat them if we wore them down. We got after it tonight. That s just our girls outhustling their girls.
Royal junior guard Elizabeth Wagner scored a game-high 17 points and fellow junior guard Brooke Morgart tallied 10 of her 15 points in the second half.
Coach told us to pick up the pressure and play tough defense. That created some turnovers and easy baskets, Morgart said.
Woodmore opened the second half with six turnovers and did not score a point until less than three minutes remained in the third quarter. By then
Elmwood had taken a three-point lead and would never trail again.
The Royals forced eight turnovers in each of the last two quarters.
They ran that full court press the whole game and I think we ran out of gas, said Woodmore coach Francine Miller. We practiced beating it the whole week, but we just couldn t get over it.
The Wildcats were paced by Danielle Lowry s 12 points, but the senior was held to just two in the second half.
After the teams were nearly equal in rebounding in the first half, Elmwood then took over on the boards and finished with a 31-24 advantage.
Morgart s offensive rebound and putback opened up Elmwood s biggest lead of the game, 41-31, with less than five minutes remaining.
[Coach Reynolds] always stresses getting to the boards because we re not the tallest team, Morgart said. Getting putbacks is an easy way to get two points.
The Royals expanded their 10-point lead by scoring 13-of-14 free throws over the remaining 2:22. Wagner connected on 10 of 11 foul shots in the game.
Woodmore s Casza Rhodes, a 6-0 senior, tied the game at 26 late in the third quarter on a three-point play. But Emily Reynolds hit a 3-pointer near the end of the quarter and Woodmore would get no closer than three points. Reynolds also hit a 3-pointer at the second-quarter buzzer to pull her team within a point.
Eight of the 10 players on Reynolds roster contributed offensively, including eight from his freshman daughter Emily.
I usually only use seven players, but with this team I have nine and any one of them can come in and play good basketball, Reynolds said.
Woodmore was predicted to finish third in the league, but has just one win in three games. The Wildcats travel to defending champion and preseason favorite Eastwood on Saturday.
A game is a game, Miller said. We face an Eastwood team that also runs the press on Saturday. We need to prepare for that and forget about this one. The best medicine is a win.
Elmwood was picked to finish behind Woodmore in a coaches poll.
Our goal is to win the league, and we ll have to play good basketball like this to do it, Reynolds said.