Ft. Recovery’s aggressive style was impressive in their Thursday win over St. Henry, and conjured some “what ifs” of things to come in the MAC.
St. Henry – Whitney Will simply couldn’t have played better.
The 6’0” senior from Fr. Recovery shot 7 of 12 from the field Thursday; she was 1 of 3 from three-point range. She hit 7 of 9 free throw attempts. She blocked three shots, had four steals, and only turned the ball over once in 27 minutes of play. And, she left work early, coming out of the game midway through the fourth quarter in the Indians’ 65-44 win over St. Henry (5-7).
But more, the undefeated girls in purple (7-0, 3-0 in the MAC) provided an alarming amount of support for Will.
Teammate Jocelyn Kaiser matched Will in nearly every offensive category, scoring 22 points herself while connecting on 9 of 14 from the field, 1 of 3 from behind the arc, and a perfect 3 for 3 from the foul line.
And guard Grace Thien added another 10 points to provide the trifecta of scorers in double figures.
Kendra Rose scored 15 points to lead the Lady Redskins.
Will and Kaiser were impressive, without question. But it was combination of Recovery’s aggressive style on offense and defense that simply wore down a younger and less experienced Redskin team.
“That’s kind of our style,” said Will, who for her aggressiveness on the court is a very soft-spoken, almost shy personality without a basketball in her hands.
“We kinda’ came out slow tonight because we might have taken them lightly,” she added. “But we can’t do that. We know we have to play hard all the time. Defense is our ultimate goal. We believe that defense wins games so we work on it a lot.”
And they’re opportunistic on offense, she admits. Whatever a given defense is willing to allow, Will and Kaiser are more than willing to take.
“Most of the time it’s Jocelyn and me at the top in scoring,” she said with a grin. “But we’re always willing to take what the other team gives us.”
That defense she spoke of was impressive, forcing a game total of 28 turnovers, including five in a row on consecutive possessions at the outset of the third quarter when Recovery turned a 12-point halftime advantage into a self-fulfilling prophecy. They converted four of those five turnovers into layups, and quicker than you can say “Purple Post” they stretched the lead out to 24 points, and never looked back.
“We were actually a little sluggish defensively when we came out in the first half,” said coach Brian Patch. “We weren’t what we wanted to be.
“I thought we did a better job in the second half, including that run of consecutive turnovers, and I think it helped us execute better overall. We did a better job of setting Jocelyn and Whitney up for good looks at the rim, and overall, we just played better.”
Better, too, for what it portends to come as the league’s three unbeatens (in league play entering Thursday) Recovery, Versailles, and Minster, prepare to square off between now and the end of the season.
“In our heads we have the big picture of winning the MAC,” smiled Will, considering the $64,000 question. “But we’ll take it one game at a time, continue to improve, and give it our best when it’s time to play those teams.”
Hmmm…sounds like she’s been listening to Brian Patch.
“It’ll be good,” he said, while hedging a bit. “Last year we were able to beat Versailles over there; and we lost in a close one at Minster. So that’s our kids’ goal this year, to win a MAC championship and to do that you have to win the other games and beat the top dogs when it comes time to play. We want to be in the conversation. But we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.”
But if Thursday was an indicator, and surely it was, Recovery is a team that can score in a number of ways…and they did. Their perimeter shooting was crisp. Their transition game was on full display; back cuts to the rim and unselfish sharing of the basketball. And if the game had been close at the end, they shot 72% from the foul line, to complement 50% from the floor.
But best, they proved that if they have a ‘Will’ (and they surely do), and they play as they did against St. Henry, they have a way to beat just about anyone.
As the man said…it should be good!