Finding a spark: Lady Rebels turn up intensity on defense in second-round win

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 16, 2018

The Adams County Christian School Lady Rebels needed something — anything to get them going Thursday night.

After a rocky first quarter, ACCS looked distracted and struggled to make easy baskets.

“Basketball is so mental,” ACCS coach Melanie Hall said. “We had been on a layoff since more than a week ago. You could just see the sluggishness, and we missed a ton of layups.”

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Then, boom.

The Lady Rebels found their spark in a stingy defensive attack, forcing a handful of turnovers en route to a 62-30 win over Park Place in the second round of the MAIS Class AAA South State Tournament.

“We got after it,” Hall said. “The defense really got us going.”

Brianna Henson did her part to push the Lady Rebels over their first quarter hump, stealing back-to-back balls in the final minute of the period while also nailing a quick jumper to begin the second quarter.

On the following possession, Danyel Weir nailed a long 3-pointer and ACCS was suddenly up by five points.

After the break, Weir and her team never looked back.

“We came in with the mentality that we had it in the bag. We struggled,” Weir said. “But as soon we came back with everything we had and just played, our press really sparked our offense.”

After a 24-13 halftime lead, the Lady Rebels quickly pushed their edge to a steady 30 points in the third quarter.

“I expect them to perform,” Hall said. “We preach playing hard and together, and when they are doing that they are having fun and the pressure is off. When you use the talents that God has given you to the best of your ability, good things happen.”

Henson led the victory with a game-high 17 points, while Weir added 14 of her own. Caitlyn Gamberi followed close behind with 12 points, and Lexie Emanuel ended with 11.

With the win, ACCS punched its ticket to next week’s Class AAA State Tournament.

While Weir said she is happy to be moving on, she doesn’t want to settle.

“We need a higher seed,” she said. “We will be right back where we started. You really have to keep winning to stay on top.”

Hall wants her team to keep its focus, too.

The Lady Rebels (15-6) will play again at 5:15 p.m. today against Bowling Green.

“We don’t have tomorrow. We have today,” she said. “Once we get into the flow with the love of the game regardless of the opponent, it’s easy.”