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Published: 1/11/2013

Toledo Christian gets defensive in 48-23 win against Danbury

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

LAKESIDE — The way the Toledo Christian girls basketball team administered its full-court zone defense against Danbury on Thursday night it didn't matter much how the Eagles struggled shooting the basketball.

The Eagles, who forced the Lakers into countless turnovers, scored plenty more opportunities at shot attempts in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference matchup to come away with a decisive 48-23 victory.

TC junior Darian Westmeyer led the way with a game-high 23 points to help the Eagles improve to 9-2 overall and 6-0 in the TAAC.

"My teammates made me successful tonight," said Westmeyer, who did most of her damage early in a key matchup with the Lakers (5-6, 5-1 TAAC).

The conference rivals came into the game knowing the winner would have the edge on first place in the TAAC standings.

"Danbury is always well coached, and we knew we had to come in with the mindset of playing hard and playing well," TC coach Tandy Bradford said.

Lydia Yeager came off the bench to score eight points, while Faith Johnson added seven points for TC.

Alyssa Almendinger led Danbury with six points, Kelly Lavelle five, and Megan Stephens four.

The Eagles' full-court zone defense had plenty to do with the Lakers stumbling to their first conference loss of the season.

"We were a little disappointed with some of the unforced turnovers, but give Toledo Christian credit for the other turnovers," Danbury coach Joe Fetzer said.

The Eagles opened the first quarter pressing the Lakers, and it led to a half-dozen turnovers for Danbury. It also resulted in a low-scoring first quarter in which Toledo Christian closed with a 7-4 advantage.

Westmeyer was active in every point the Eagles scored in the opening quarter. She gave TC a 5-0 lead by scoring the game's first two baskets, which included converting a three-point play with 4 minutes, 43 seconds to play in the quarter.

She earned an assist when she fed a pass to Mackenzie Harder (six points), who scored from close range to make it 7-2 with 2:39 left in the period.

Danbury tied the score at 7 with Tori Wright scoring a basket and Katie Almendinger making 1 of 2 foul shots during the first couple minutes of the second quarter.

But just when it looked like the Lakers had settled down and gained some momentum, TC proved otherwise by closing out the half with a 17-2 run to take a commanding 24-9 lead into halftime.

Most of the Eagles' baskets during the run came off of Lakers' turnovers. TC's full-court defense flustered the Lakers throughout the first half to allow the Eagles to take a 15-point edge into the break.

"We really like to focus on defense and our defense," Westmeyer said, who accounted for six steals."Most of our offense comes from our defense."

Westmeyer outscored the Lakers by herself in the first half. She scored 13 points after by halftime, and Faith Johnson scored five points before the break, all of which came during the Eagles' second-quarter run.

The strong finish to the second quarter by TC was more than enough to carry the Eagles past the Lakers.

The Eagles maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the second half and cruised to the victory.

"We said it's only one game, and we still control our destiny," Fetzer said, regarding what he told his team after the defeat.

"If we win out, we're still [TAAC] champions, at least sharing the title."

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.



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