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February 15, 2014

Shorter, Warriors too much for Oracles

WINAMAC — Jeff Wagner had a game plan in Friday night’s semi-final match-up against Delphi at the Class 2A Winamac Sectional: simply get the ball in to standout Stephanie Shorter, let her go to work, and hope she can get the Delphi front line in foul trouble.

The Shorter Plan looked good on paper but his squad would have to execute it. After a first half of not being very effective, Wagner and his group made changes and the Lady Warriors rolled into the championship game by downing the Oracles 56-37.

“Delphi was playing down a lot and had me doubled most of the time,” Shorter said. “Our girls on top started driving and hitting some shots and that really helped open me up. We were hoping that we could get 32 [Tatum Minier] into some foul trouble and we were able to do that.”

It was obvious from the start the Warriors were wanting Shorter to be very involved with the offense. Numerous attempts to get her the ball were somewhat futile. Dump down passes from just inside the half-court line were ineffective and when Shorter did get the ball she was quickly met by a pair of Oracle defenders.

With the inside plugged up it was Ali Larkin and Taylor Brandt to the rescue. Larkin nailed two bombs from behind the arc and Brandt tossed in one herself to help Winamac take an early 12-6 lead with :42 seconds left in the opening frame. In the bat of an eye though Delphi ended the quarter on a short 5-0 run to make it a one point game at 12-11.

When play resumed in the second quarter Winamac started working the game plan. Bethany Brogdon and Larkin started penetrating and dumping down to Shorter. Shorter went to work inside and the Oracles found themselves starting to have foul troubles. By the 7:01 mark two of Delphi’s starters had collected their third foul and went to the bench and the Lady Warriors were in the bonus for the rest of the half. Winamac was able to open up a 21-13 lead, their largest of the game at that point, but back-to-back bombs from freshman Bailey Gasser quickly made it a 21-19 game. By the end of the quarter the Warriors were able to bump up their lead and also made Danielle Swayzee join Tatum Minier and Myka Roth on the bench each with three fouls. Going into the break Winamac had made it a 29-21 game.

The third quarter is when the Warriors started to click. Shorter and Brandt kept working the inside and the fouls kept piling up on the Oracles. At the 6:54 mark Minier had to return to the Delphi bench with her fourth foul. Another from long distance by Brandt with :29 left bumped the Winamac lead to 44-31 that stood until the end of the quarter.

The fourth quarter was just a formality as Delphi never threatened. A conventional three-point play by Shorter at the 6:17 mark gave Winamac a 50-33 lead. Moments later things got worse for the Oracles when Swayzee exited the game with her fifth foul and Winamac went on for the 56-37 win. With the win Winamac will face North Judson in the championship game of Sectional 34 tonight.

Shorter led all scorers with 22 points on the night. Brandt followed with a pair of 3s, a pair of field goals and a pair of free throws for 12 points. The duo were also pulling down rebounds as Shorter ended with eight and Brandt six.

Bethany Brogdon and Ali Larkin scored eight points apiece for the Winamac crew. Brogdon also dished five assists and set a new school record in the process.

“Bethany Brogdon did a great job of taking control of the game at the point, and in spite of the pressure was able to break the single season assist record that was held by Jordan Brandt at 124. Bethany finished the game with five and is currently at 126,” Warriors coach Jeff Wagner said.

“I’m very happy with the way the girls followed the game plan. We’ve had times this year where we weren’t able to get four quarters from them. I thought that defensively we were able to do what we wanted to do. Our main concern was 32 [Minier] and 4 [Roth]. We felt that if we could keep them from scoring in double digits we’d be OK. They were able to hit a couple from outside on us but every time we had a problem we were able to shore things up.”

Gasser led the Oracles with nine points. Morgan Crowel added six.

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