Danielle VanDyke had one succinct message for her Summit Christian Academy girls basketball team after a forgettable first half of play Jan. 21 against Knob Noster.
Forget about it.
Forget about the fouls, which forced the Eagles’ coach to dig into her bench early on. Same thing about having two top players sitting out with injuries.
And that’s just what SCA did, wiping out all its earlier struggles with a 13-0 run in the third quarter that allowed it to coast to a 44-34 victory at the Eagles’ gym.
“She just told us after the first half that it was a completely new game,” said SCA senior guard Brooke Jacobson, who led the Eagles with 14 points. “A lot of our leading scorers got into foul trouble in the first half and we were all kind of frustrated about that. So she told us to forget everything and that’s what happened.”
SCA, 5-7, was already missing Mady Harmon, one of the team’s leading scorers, and top reserve Keeli Shearer due to injuries. So it didn’t help matters any when Jacobson picked up two fouls in the first quarter and guard Jessa Kliewer received three, including two charging calls, early in the second quarter. SCA still built a 14-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, but after Kliewer went to the bench, SCA looked out of synch, and Knob Noster managed a 14-14 tie.
“Our chemistry is at its best when we have our top five out there,” VanDyke said. “We had to go deep into our bench and play some freshmen who responded well, but our lack of experience became apparent.”
SCA rebuilt its lead to 20-16 by halftime, and then poured it on in the third quarter. Jacobson sparked the run with a three-pointer and three assists as the Eagles pushed the ball up the floor while their defense held Knob Noster, 1-12, to two baskets. The run pushed SCA’s lead to 33-16 and the Eagles led by as many as 20 before VanDyke cleared the bench in the fourth quarter.
“I think all of us were really frustrated, and we wanted to show that we could overcome all the adversity,” Jacobson said. “There was just something in all of us that was just like, we know we can beat this team and we know that we can play a lot better than we have been playing.”
All of which made VanDyke a very happy coach that sees her team coming into form for a late-season run.
“Honestly, that’s the team I know and the team I expect every time they step on the floor,” VanDyke said, “I couldn’t be more excited about the way they came to play this evening.”