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Shelby stifles Lady Eagles, 45-37

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By Todd Martin

Just three days after allowing Mercy to score 85 points, the Lady Rockets' defense forced Eastern into 26 turnovers and held the Lady Eagles to just 37 points in a 45-37 win Monday.

The defense was the star of the show as the Lady Rocket offense struggled to find any rhythm, shooting just 25 percent.

"I thought our defense was almost flawless, especially after allowing Mercy to score 85," SCHS head coach Sally Zimmerman said. "The girls really answered the call on defense. We changed our defenses a lot during the game, from full court to half court and they played really well. We got the win because we played so well on defense."

The Lady Rockets (4-2) opened the game with a 9-4 lead, but Eastern (2-4) tied the score at 11 to end the first quarter, and Shelby led just 21-18 at halftime. The girls finally opened a workable lead in the third quarter, allowing Eastern just one point over the final 4:35 and taking a 35-26 lead into the fourth.

Shelby pushed the lead out to double digits on Allison Morris' two free throws with just less than one minute to play. Eastern got a quick lay-in just before the buzzer to trim the final margin to nine points.

"Offensively, we didn't look like we knew what we were doing," Zimmerman said. "We're going to see a box-in-1 (defense) all year, and we have to know how to respond to that. There's to schools of thought on playing a box-in-1 -- you just run your regular offense or you scrap it and go with a completely different offense. We can't go with a totally new offense right now, because we can't run the one we have."

Eastern keyed its defense on Shelby's Raechele Gray, limiting the All-region candidate to just 13 points, but Zimmerman noted the team's lackadaisical attitude on offense as the problem.

"We just stood around watching Raechele instead of moving and getting open," she said. "That, and we just couldn't shoot."

The Lady Rockets hit just 15 of 60 shots in the game, and while the percentage was bad, Zimmerman said there was a silver lining.

"We got off 60 shots and they were good looks," she said. "I don't know why we couldn't hit anything. You can't be too upset when you get off 60 shots in a game."

Another bright spot for the Lady Rockets was the play of Karissa Nicholson who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

"She played her best game of the year," Zimmerman said. "She got in there and got some offensive rebounds and she hit some shots. That's the kind of game we need from her, and she's capable of that every night. Hopefully that's a sign of good things to come."

The Lady Rockets will be back in action Thursday at 8 p.m. when they face Owensboro to open play in the Max Performance Lady Rocket Invitational.

Mercy

The Lady Rockets struggled from the get-go at Mercy (2-3) Friday. The girls fell behind 16-8 after the first quarter and trailed 35-18 at halftime before falling 85-41.

Raechele Gray was the only Lady Rocket in double figures with 12 points. Mercy had five players in double figures for the game.