by Kenny Hetzler
For the Pharos-Tribune
Whitney Jennings scored 37 points in leading the Class 4A, No. 5-ranked Logansport Berries to a 74-49 win over McCutcheon at the Berry Bowl Friday in girls basketball action.
Jennings’ 37 points is the fourth most in her career. Her career high is 40 points, which she has achieved twice in her high school career.
“I thought Whitney did what she had to do, but she got 37, and really if you go back to the game films, she had two or three lay-ups that she missed and two or three short ones that she very seldom ever misses,” Logan coach Jerry Hoover said. “She is doing about what she did during the summer. Whitney got 35 every game this summer, so hopefully, she continues to play at the level.”
Jennings was also honored before the game with being the girls career leading scorer in Logansport High School history with 1,778 points. With the 37 points added, Jennings now has 1,815 career points, which is good for 61st on the Indiana High School girls basketball career scoring list.
Logansport committed just 10 turnovers with its up-tempo style, and Hoover credits Jennings for that.
“Jennings is a great point guard,” Hoover added. “When you get the ball in the hands of a great point guard, you don’t turn it over. Jason Kidd doesn’t turn it over. John Stockton doesn’t turn the ball over. [Bob] Cousy didn’t turn the ball over. The great point guards don’t turn it over. If they don’t turn it over then, the team don’t turn it over, cause you want the ball in their hands all the time.”
The Berries defense was also right on track with creating 16 Maverick turnovers, including nine Berry steals. Also, McCutcheon shot 18 of 63 (28.6 percent) from the field, including 8 of 27 (29.6 percent) from behind the arc, and four blocked shots.
“Defensively, I thought we did a great job,” Hoover explained. “Coach Jennings scouted them, and he prepared the game plan for them. The girls did a very good job executing the game plan, giving the situation where we only had four or five days to get ready for them.”
Logansport just returned from its basketball mission trip in China.
Rebounds were also a key factor in the game, according to Hoover. McCutcheon out-rebounded Logansport 43-42.
“I told the girls that started the game, since they are taller than us, if we can stay with them on the boards it would be a very important factor. We did stay with them on the boards, being out-rebounded by one. We out-shot them from the field. Being in the 40s in the first game for 3s is very important to us. Being in the low 40s in the two-point field goal percentage, I am not very happy with that. We were 66 percent from the line. It’s just one of those things, where you don’t know how they are going to play the first game. McCutcheon was short handed. Their best player by far averaged 13 points per game was not with them [Friday]. When we get to the tournament at their place, it’s going to be a real dogfight.”
Logansport shot 26 of 62 (41.9 percent) from the field, including 8 of 17 (47.1 percent) from behind the arc and 14 of 21 (66.7 percent) from the line.
McCutcheon got on the board first as Gabby Gary hit a 3-pointer to lead 3-0 at the 6:43 mark of the first quarter. Jennings then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Logansport a 6-3 lead at the 5:32 mark, and Sydney Bullard scored a bucket 45 seconds later for a 8-3 lead. McCutcheon came back to tie it at 8-8 on a two and 3-pointer by Sydney Tracer with 4:03 left in the first quarter. After a bucket by Nakeya Penny, Gary then hit another 3-pointer to give McCutcheon its last lead at 11-10.
The Berries took over from there, scoring 13 straight points led by Jennings, who scored six. Part of the 13-0 run came on a technical foul by the McCutcheon bench for putting in a player that wasn’t in the book. Jennings hit both free throws. The first quarter ended with Logansport up 23-11.
The second quarter was pretty well even with the Berries out scoring the Mavericks 19-16 for a 42-27 halftime lead by Logansport. Also in the second quarter, Jennings hit the 1,800 point mark with 2:32 left in the first half on a deep 3-pointer.
The third quarter was about the same as the second quarter, as Logansport out-scored McCutcheon 14-11 for a 56-38 lead at the end of three quarters, and in the fourth quarter, Logansport poured in 18 points to McCutcheon’s 11 for the 74-49 win.
Besides Jennings’ 37 points, Maddie Dalton added 12. Bullard and Karli Armstrong each scored eight, and Penny added six. Bullard also led the Berries in rebounds with 11.
Gary led McCutcheon with 14 points, followed by Becca Spitalniak’s 13 and Tracer’s 11.