BY CHAD DARE
Scoring and offense are dependent on the ball going through the basket.
When that doesn’t happen, a good team will rely upon its defense to win.
That was the case on Thursday night as the Danville High Lady Vikings won their third straight Big 12 Conference contest with a 36-23 defensive win over the Normal Community Lady Iron.
“We’re going to have games like that, because we don’t shoot it really well,’’ said Danville first-year coach Brian Anderson. “So, there are going to be games where we have to grind people out.
“I told them right before the fourth quarter, it wasn’t going to be a pretty one, but we don’t care as long as we get the win.’’
And there certainly were not many style points in Thursday’s battle.
Danville made just 20.5 percent of its shots (9-of-44), while Normal Community shot 28.1 percent (9-of-32) but the biggest differences were turnovers and free throws.
The Lady Vikings (5-2 overall, 3-1 in the Big 12) forced the Lady Iron (1-7, 1-3) into 26 offensive miscues, while Danville made 15-of-23 free throws to just 4-of-6 by Normal Community.
“We’ve been working on free throws a ton since our Thanksgiving tournament,’’ said Anderson, whose team made 8-of-11 in the fourth quarter. “We were under 50 percent there, and since then we been in the 60s for the most part.’’
Senior Alexus Jimson-Miller was 5-of-6 at the line down the stretch, while sophomore Michaela Jones was 2-for-2 and she finished with a team-high nine points.
“Michaela made some plays, hit some free throws and she guarded their point guard,’’ Anderson said.
Jones also hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter that snapped a nine-minute field goal drought for Danville.
“We were really struggling to score at that point. It was nice to see her hit a couple there,’’ Anderson added. “Those gave us a little cushion — unfortunately we didn’t carry it over. We were just one or two buckets from jumping on them.
“They clawed back into it.’’
Normal Community went on a 9-3 run to end the first half and tie the game at 13-13.
“I got after them a little big about effort at halftime,’’ Anderson said. “I thought they outworked us and outhustled us in the first half. There were a couple of balls on the floor that they got that we usually get.’’
Senior Jade Carter heard her coach’s message as she had four points and four rebounds in the third quarter as the Lady Vikings took a lead they would never relinquish.
“Jade Carter really provided a spark for us in that third quarter,’’ Anderson said. “She was all over the place.’’
While Jones led the Vikings with nine points, next came Jimson-Miller with seven, followed by Carter and Lynette Buggs with six each.
Danville will take its three-game winning streak into Saturday’s intracity rivalry game against Schlarman Academy.
“The girls are pretty excited about the way we are playing, but we keep telling them to just worry about the next game,’’ Anderson said. “I know our girls are excited to play Schlarman and I’m sure that Schlarman is excited to play Danville.’’
Tip off for Saturday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. with the junior varsity contest set for 6 p.m.
In Thursday’s sophomore game, Normal Community defeated Danville 44-37. Leading scorers for the Lady Vikings were Emone Davis with 10 and Alexis Hoskins had nine.