GENOA – Despite not getting much to fall in the first quarter, Genoa-Kingston defeated Rockford Christian, 41-30.
The Cogs (3-6, 1-0 Big Northern Conference) got off to a rocky start, but played lockdown defense from the second quarter on. They also employed the full-court press, which may have given up some fast-break points, but also led to some easy offense for the Cogs.
Cogs coach Clayton Johnsen said that one has to take the good with the bad when pressing for most of the game.
“You notice that we got some easy buckets out of it,” Johnsen said. “That really was the turning point of the game. We were trying to wear them out. That’s why we pressed. We knew that they lost one of their players early in the game, and we knew that they were a bit short on the bench.”
Johnsen said the Cogs also benefited in the diversity of their scoring. Of the 10 players who saw minutes in the game for the Cogs, only one played under five minutes of action, and eight scored at least two points. Lily McPherson led with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
“I think our energy just changed,” McPherson said. “Our mindset at halftime was that we really wanted this win. At the beginning of the year, we were just chucking up shots off of the first pass, and we realized that it wasn’t working. In practice, we’ve really worked on moving the ball around.”
Rockford Christian (3-5, 0-1) was extremely short-staffed, only dressing eight players, two of them freshmen who saw few minutes, if any. Coach Chris Bork cited the lack of bodies as a reason for the loss, but not an excuse.
“We didn’t box out,” Bork said. “They got a lot of second-chance points. I would say that they got a majority of their points from second-chance points because we just didn’t do simple fundamentals.”
By the numbers: The Cogs held the Royal Lions to only 16 points over the final three quarters.
Beyond the stats: In the second quarter, McPherson tipped a Royal Lions inbound pass to herself under the basket and finished an easy layup that gave the Cogs their first lead of the game.
They said it: “Once we get the lead, we’re going to make sure we take a quality shot,” Johnsen said.
Up next: Genoa-Kingston will play Mendota at home at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Rockford Christian will play Stillman Valley at 3 p.m. Saturday.