LANCASTER — Nothing could derail Potosi’s undefeated season Thursday night.
Not a two-week layoff, not a pesky and rarely-seen zone defense, not even a sizzling 14-point half from a sharp-shooting sophomore.
The Chieftains overcame all three en route a 46–39 non-conference victory at Lancaster last Thursday night.
Potosi improved to 6–0 with the victory, but it certainly didn’t come easy.
Behind nine first-quarter points from sophomore guard Kasey Kelly and an aggressive match-up zone defense that limited Potosi’s scoring opportunities, the Arrows (4–4) held a 12–8 lead late in the first quarter. Kelly scored nine straight points in the quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers before converting and old-fashioned three-point play.
“That’s the first time we’ve seen a zone all year, and we certainly weren’t expecting it,” said Potosi head coach Brad Bierman. “It took the girls a little bit to figure out what they were doing, and we looked a little rusty from the long break between games.”
Potosi’s Dec. 21 game with Highland was snowed out and because of the Christmas break the Chieftains had not played a game since a Dec. 13 win over River Ridge.
Lancaster expanded its early lead to four at 16–14 early in the second quarter on back-to-back baskets from senior Katrina Polkinghorn, but Potosi’s experience soon took control and the Chieftains began to shake off the rust.
Potosi scored the next eight points and 11 of the next 16 to grab a one-point lead going into halftime.
Only another 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Kelly kept Lancaster afloat late in the second quarter, but Potosi concentrated its defensive efforts on the Arrows’ sophomore in the second half and held her scoreless the rest of the game.
The Chieftains scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, six from senior point guard Abby Ames and four from senior post Tiffany Langmeier, and at the same time held Lancaster scoreless until 42 seconds were left in the period.
Lancaster hung tough and got as close as five, twice in the fourth quarter — once on a junior Jena Vesperman jumper with four minutes remaining and later on a long two-pointer from senior guard Shelly Morgan with 40.5 seconds left.
But Ames made 2 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 25 seconds to close out the win.
“You’ve got to give them credit for catching us off guard with the zone and hitting some big shots early,” added Bierman. “But with out veteran team, I was pleased with how we made adjustments in the second half.
“It wasn’t a masterpiece by any means, but the girls were able to come away with a win against a good program, that is well coaches and threw something different at them.”
Ames finished with a game-high 18 points, five assists and four steals. Langmeier added 10 points, all in the second half.
Kelly’s career-high 14 points paced the Arrows. Polkinghorn added 11 and sophomore Sydney Wagner chipped in eight.
Potosi will face its biggest test of the season Saturday against Cuba City (8–1), the top-ranked team in Division 4, in a Wendy’s–American Trust Basketball Classic game at Dubuque’s Loras College at 12:30 p.m.
The Chieftains will then travel to Galena on Tuesday.
Potosi 46, Lancaster 39
(from Thursday, Dec. 27 @ Lancaster)
Potosi 10 14 12 10 — 46
Lancaster 12 11 4 12 — 39
Potosi (6–0) — Haley Flesch 7, Maddie Hawes 4, Bridget Curtis 7, Abby Ames 18, Tiffany Langmeier 10. Totals — 17 9-13 46.
Lancaster (4–4) — Vesperman 4, Kelly 14, Morgan 2, Polkinghorn 11, Wagner 8. Totals — 15 6-10 39.
3-point goals — P: 3 (Ames 2, Curtis 1); L: 3 (Kelly 3). Team fouls — P: 14, L: 15. Fouled out — none.