The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Sports

December 11, 2012

H.S. Basketball: Defense leads to offense as Palestine girls top Canton

With one defensive change and a seemingly increased effort on the court, the Palestine girls’ turned around Tuesday’s game against visiting Canton.

After a sluggish first quarter that saw Palestine trailing 11-7 at the end of it, PHS coach Joseph Baker switched his team to a zone defense.

That, coupled with the Ladycats’ play in that zone, helped them hold Canton to only four points and one made field goal in the quarter, and at the half Palestine led 23-15 en route to a 48-37 victory.

“Our girls played their proper spacing — they were playing the passing lanes a lot better and rotating in the zone, making sure we protected the backside,” Baker said. “We put a lot of pressure on the ball, making it difficult, and (we) squeezed the middle.”

With that defense came plenty of Canton turnovers, because Palestine was clogging the passing lanes. That created a lot of opportunities for the Palestine offense to do what it does best: Run.

The entire Ladycat comeback was predicated on strong defense into transition offense, with Dana Whitehead and Paradyse Page leading the way.

Whitehead had 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half, a half where she didn’t miss a shot inside the three-point line.

“It’s a big confidence-boost for them, because if they work hard on defense that’s where we’re good, when we’re in transition, especially off of defense where we can get those turnovers and get up the floor,” Baker said. “It gives them a lot of confidence because it gets them in their natural setting.”

But, while Whitehead is the team’s unquestioned leader and its leading scorer, the success of the team doesn’t really depend on her, as evidenced Tuesday.

Whitehead had six of Palestine’s seven points in that first quarter, but things really began to click when she got some help.

Page had four points in that second quarter alone, and finished with 14. Meanwhile, the play of post players Sabrina Rogers and Breana Jackson kept possessions alive and gave the Ladycats a much need presence down low.

That duo combined for 14 rebounds, nine of them offensive on the night, while Rogers finished with five points and Jackson had three in very solid minutes.

“For this year to be successful, that’s where the work is going to have to be done,” Baker said. “If we can get rebounding from them and we can get some scoring from them...it’s going to help us out tremendously.”

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