by Beau Wicker
Harrison put together a nice little run to start the second half against Logansport’s girls basketball team Tuesday night.
Whitney Jennings then delivered a filthy cross-over, behind-the-back, step-back 3-pointer from the right corner that reminded the Raiders again that this indeed was going to be a long night.
The Class 4A No. 5-ranked Berries backed up their recently-minted top 5 ranking with a 68-29 drubbing of the Raiders in the Berry Bowl. Logansport (9-0) hit its state-best plus-39 average margin on the nose.
Logan had four in double figures, led by Jennings’ 26 points, seven assists, six steals and four rebounds in just 25 minutes of playing time. Nakeya Penny added 16 points and four boards in 21 minutes. Rachel Jennings had 13 points and five boards, and Madyson Price added 10 points off the bench on 4-of 4 shooting in just 14 minutes.
“One thing I was pleased with was the effort,” Logan coach Jerry Hoover said. “You can’t say there was any girl, including the last group that was out there and then the JV game as well, that didn’t really put effort into it. I thought every player really played hard.”
Logan has run roughshod over four possible sectional opponents this season — with the closest game of the season being a 56-34 win at Lafayette Jeff last week — but Hoover knows “you can’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.” He said the final sectional opponent on the schedule, Marion on Jan. 11, might be the toughest.
“Oh no. And don’t you think that they aren’t good,” Hoover said. “They are good.”
The Logan coach added that Harrison 6-foot junior Claire Muller didn’t play in the game due to a death in her family which hurt the Raiders.
“She’s their best inside presence, and she plays very well,” Hoover said. “She would have made a difference in the game. I don’t think she would have made a difference as far as winning and losing, but she would have made a difference of 15 to 20 points in the margin.”
The Berries opened the game utilizing a fullcourt man-to-man defense that suffocated the Raiders in the first half. Logan jumped out to a 32-7 halftime lead and held Harrison to 1 of 15 from the field with 13 turnovers.
The Berries called off the press to begin the second half and the Raiders got to within 37-16 midway through the third quarter. That’s when Logan embarked on a 22-0 run over the next seven minutes to put it way out of reach. The lead got to as big as 65-20 on a Rachel Jennings 3-pointer with 3:40 remaining.
“I just think we were quicker by far — quicker to the ball, quicker on the boards, quicker to run, everything we were just quicker than they were [Tuesday],” Hoover said. “It really surprised me, because I thought they were a really quick basketball team. But we were much quicker [Tuesday].”
Shailen Johnson led the Raiders (2-9) with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Logan’s Kiley Victor left the game temporarily after a cut to the face in the first quarter but soon returned. The Berries then got a bit of a scare when 6-foot-1 Krista Kyyroenen left the game late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Kyyroenen, a foreign exchange student from Finland, has been more and more of a presence inside on both ends of the court, and she had four rebounds in 17 minutes Tuesday. Hoover said she will be fine and expects her to practice today.
Hoover was pleased with the defensive effort and singled out the play of Kyyroenen and in particular Seanna Redman, who helped hold Harrison leading scorer Courtney Jacobson to just three points.
“My gosh, I wouldn’t want her guarding me,” he said. “I just think we’re getting a little better on defense.”
Hoover wasn’t real pleased that his squad was outrebounded for the second game in a row, 35-33, however.
“We tried harder [Tuesday]. Technically we boxed out and got some offensive putbacks,” he said.
Logan travels to Anderson (6-1) on Saturday for a key North Central Conference game. Both teams enter 2-0 in NCC play.