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Zone defense leads DeKalb girls hoops to win

Published: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

LOMBARD – Chris Davenport describes himself as a man-to-man defense type of coach.

DeKalb’s second-year coach said his team last season was one of the best defensive teams he’s been a part of behind a man-to-man scheme.

This year, however, the Barbs have been better when playing in a zone defense. At the Montini Christmas Tournament Friday morning, that was the case once again, as the Barbs used a first-half zone to hold Plainfield East to just two points before halftime in a 42-18 win.

“I think in our zone we don’t get as tired and our energy’s more in the zone, and we talk a lot more in the zone,” Barbs junior Jasmine Malloy said. “So that helps us a lot.”

DeKalb improved to 8-5 and will play St. Joseph in the fifth-place consolation game at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. The Barbs were able to rebound after losing their first two games of the tournament to Neuqua Valley and Proviso West.

Davenport said his team’s size plays a factor in the zone success, with a player like 6-1 forward Madelyne Johnson who can do a number of things for his team’s defense.

“Maybe our length, we can go big with it. We can go small and spread it out and try to trap on it,” Davenport said of the zone defense. “I think they’re just more comfortable.”

Sophomore guard Brittney Patrick led the Barbs with 11 points in Friday’s victory. Malloy added six while Johnson and Alexis Hammond each finished with five. Every single one of DeKalb’s nine players was on the scoresheet.

“It’s good. It’s good that everybody gets to play. We need some confidence,” Davenport said. “Yesterday we lost a basketball game we should have never lost (38-35 to Proviso West). That was probably the roughest day of coaching that I’ve had in quite awhile, was yesterday. To come out and win today is good, but to have everybody contribute is even better.”

DeKalb went to the man-to-man defense in the second half and had some struggles. Davenport still wants his team to learn to play that type of system.

“We’ve got to be able to play it, and right now we’re struggling in it,” Davenport said. “That’s why we went to it late when the game was obviously in hand, to work on it. We’ve got to work on it more. We’ve become more of a zone-based team which is not us and not me.”

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