The girls of Lynnville-Sully steam-rolled over the Ankeny Christian Eagles in their Class 1A tournament opener on Thursday night. The Hawks got out to a 9-0 lead within the first couple of minutes and it only got uglier from then on as the 35-point mercy rule had to be invoked with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, forcing the clock to run constantly for the remainder of the game.
The key to Lynnville-Sully’s 62-29 dismantling of Ankeny Christian on Thursday was a relentless full-court press that forced turnover after turnover in the first half. The press was wholly dominating, and the girls left no room for the Eagles to breather on offense.
Lynnville-Sully coach Jerry Hulsing was extremely pleased with the defensive effort that his girls came out with.
“We were there and never gave them anything easy to look at. I thought we were there on every pass, and just when they got the basketball we were there putting defensive pressure on them,” Hulsing said. “Having a hand in their faces the whole night was key. We really wanted to pressure their point guard. We ran several different girls at her, and I thought we did a good job there.”
The game opened with a quick 3-pointer by Hawks’ senior Becca Vos. The LS press then proceeded to force multiple turnovers leading to easy hoops for the Hawks in transition, and they led Ankeny Christian 23-6 after the first quarter.
The second quarter started more favorably for the Eagles. They managed to break the press three consecutive times, leading to seven easy points to pull them within 13 at 26-13.
However, another quick run from the Hawks fueled by their immense defensive pressure saw junior Cassie Cullen finish a couple of layups and fellow junior Lyndsay Terpstra nailed one of her three 3-pointers to put the Hawks ahead 41-13 with three minutes left in the half. The trend continued from there and the LS girls led 47-15 at halftime.
“The defensive effort and the intensity really frustrated them. I think the energy was great,” Hulsing said. “It also allowed us to get out in the fast break and get some easy buckets that way.”
Leading the charge for the Hawks on offense were Cullen with 19 points and seven rebounds, and Terpstra was second on the team with 13 points. Terpstra nailed all of her three attempts from the three-point line.
Despite their tremendous effort on defense, Hulsing saw pockets of stagnant offensive play. He will use this as a teaching point as the Hawks move deeper into the tournament.
“We struggled on offense a little bit. I think we need to swing the ball around a little quicker and get into our offense. We were a little hesitant for some reason, just being too methodical,” Hulsing said. “There were a couple possessions tonight when were able to do that, and it opened up some passing lanes and allowed us to get easy buckets inside. There’s not a lot we have to work on, but we do need to tighten up our offense quite a bit, and get into our sets quicker moving forward.”