By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Whitney Jennings had a final stat line that most players can only dream about.
But Logansport’s star guard was unsatisfied with her performance afterwards.
Jennings had 36 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, seven steals and two blocks in the Lady Berries’ 70-50 win over Lafayette Jeff Tuesday in the Berry Bowl.
But Jennings wasn’t happy that she shot 13 of 31 from the field (41.9 percent). She was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and 7 of 9 from the foul line.
“It was an interesting game to say the least. Shots weren’t falling like normal,” she said. “I was trying to draw contact and they weren’t really calling it but you’ve got to adjust to the way the refs are calling it. It’s a learning point. You’ve got to move forward.
“It was a rough game for me I guess but I thought our defense was a little better. I thought everyone was more aggressive.”
Lafayette Jeff (0-8) entered winless on the season and was coming off a 88-32 loss at No. 8 Westfield on Saturday. But the Bronchos came to play Tuesday and kept within 20 points of the high-scoring Berries (6-0).
“It might sound crazy to say but I’m very happy with how our kids played,” Jeff coach Andy Baker said. “We had a huge letdown against Westfield. I felt like we never competed at all in that game. The attitudes weren’t great. The effort .... there was no effort. We had a good day in practice yesterday. I never thought I’d say I was pleased with a 20-point loss, but I thought our kids played hard.”
The Berries jumped out to a 41-26 lead at the half despite being outrebounded 27-9. Jennings had 21 points and six assists by halftime.
The Berries led 50-28 midway through the third quarter after back-to-back baskets by Sydney Bullard, but the Bronchos closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 50-34 after three.
Logan opened the fourth with a 10-0 run. Katrina Neuendorf started the run after drawing a foul chasing down a loose ball and hitting both free throws in the one-and-bonus.
Jennings then got going again with a layup on a fastbreak after being shut out in the third quarter. The Blonde-Haired, Blue-Eyed Assassin then connected from the volleyball line on a shot from about 35 feet and then scored on a traditional three-point play to give the Berries a 60-34 lead with 5:50 remaining. After two free throws and another 3-pointer, her steal and layup with 2:00 left gave her a 15-point fourth quarter and the Berries a 70-43 lead, their biggest of the game.
“We knew she was good coming in. We knew we weren’t going to stop her,” Baker said. “We were just trying to make it difficult for her. I think we did, she’s just that good of a player.”
The Berries did a much better job on the boards in the second half, tying the Bronchos 24-24 for a 51-33 final deficit. They won the turnover battle 18-7 for the game, outscored the Bronchos 16-9 on the foul line and held them to 1 of 14 shooting beyond the arc (7.1 percent) while connecting on 6 of 17 themselves (35.3 percent).
“That’s what we asked the girls to do is get on the boards in the second half,” Logan coach Jerry Hoover said.
Nakeya Penny had 16 points in the win and collected all four of her rebounds in the second half. Maddie Dalton had six points on 2 of 5 shooting from 3. Bullard chipped in four points, six boards and two blocks and Kennedy Curl added four points.
Julia Randolph led the Bronchos with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Kaylee Simms had nine points, Rylie Pittard scored seven and Stephanie Harris and Carlie Hinkle each added six.
“Their guards are quick. They’re not an 0-8 team,” Jennings said. “They’re going to get wins here. They’re a good team, they just have to play a complete game.”
The two teams will be North Central Conference opponents again next year and could meet at the McCutcheon Sectional this season.
“They’re not a bad basketball team. They’re playing hard and they’re getting the ball up the floor and they’re hitting the boards hard,” Hoover said. “He’s got them playing hard. They played very well tonight.”
The Berries travel to the historic Muncie Fieldhouse Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. matinee against the Central Bearcats. The Bearcats are 4-3 overall with NCC losses to Kokomo and Anderson but were without the services of 5-10 sophomore Jayla Scaife, who already has offers from Ball State, Butler and Indiana. Hoover said Scaife will be back from injury for the game on Saturday.
“If we’re not at the top of our game, Muncie will beat us. They’re a good team,” he said. “We’re going to have to play as well as we can play.”
w/ scorebox: Logansport 70, Lafayette Jeff 50. Next: Berries travel to Muncie Central Saturday.