Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
SARDINIA — For the first 10 minutes of Monday’s non-league contest between unbeatens, Eastern Brown played right with Adena.
And then coach Kevin Pickerill’s group did what they do best … it pulled away.
After calling a timeout with 5:27 left in the second quarter and the score tied 15-15, Eastern Brown went on a half-ending 19-3 run. They rode that hot streak to a 61-32 win.
“We made a little adjustment defensively. We got out of the zone press and went more man-to-man,” Pickerill said. “We picked them up full court and, whether it was a ball-handler or not, we wanted to stress them by bringing the ball up under some pressure. We did that well, especially late second and in the third quarter.”
It led to turnovers, which translated into fast break points, which transformed into a big lead.
“My assistant coaches always say we can’t get off to a fast start,” Pickerill said, chuckling. “It takes us about a quarter to get into the flow of the game and to figure out what type of game it’s going to be. I blame part of that on me. I like to figure it out as we go. We come in with a game plan and a lot of times, that’s just an initial ballpark. Then we make adjustments.”
Right off the bat, Eastern (8-0) took a 5-0 lead thanks to Emma Prine, who hit a runner and nailed a triple in the first two three minutes. But Adena (7-1) battled back, tying the game at 9-9 after buckets from Kiera Williams and Caelan Miner.
Mackenzie Gloff gave Eastern an 11-9 lead before Caitlyn Wills hit a pair of free throws to make it a 13-9 score. By the end of the first, after a free throw from Adena’s Emma Garrison, Eastern had a 13-10 edge.
Wills quickly found Emma Brown for a 15-10 lead to begin the next sequence before Garrison and Jadyn Smith hit back-to-back buckets to force a 15-15 tie with 5:27 left.
That’s when Pickerill took a timeout and let his team regroup. It worked like a charm.
“We just have to trust our offense. Like coach says, we can’t play a one-on-one game because there are four other girls,” Eastern’s Rylee Leonard said. “So it’s just about trusting our teammates and executing the game plan.”
After Prine and Wills combined to make it a 20-15 lead, Leonard began to leave her fingerprints on the game. The sophomore guard scored seven straight points to put Eastern ahead 30-17 … which paved the way to a 34-18 halftime score.
That trend continued throughout the second half.
Leonard hit a 3 to make it a 39-20 ballgame before scoring again with 4:18 left in the third, pushing the lead to 41-20. Then, with 2:39 left, she dialed long distance again, making it 48-23.
Adena simply didn’t have an answer for her.
“Once I see [the first shot] go in, that definitely helps me a lot,” Leonard said. “Just getting warmed up before the game is big for me.”
Leonard ended the night with a game-high 25 points alongside four rebounds and three assists. Gloff followed with nine points and seven rebounds, Prine had eight points and five boards, and Emma Brown added six points, and Wills finished with five points, four boards and five assists.
Adena was led by Sydney Foglesong’s seven points and four rebounds while Williams added six points and three steals. Garrison followed with five points and five boards, and Miner ended with five points.
Eastern is back in action on Dec. 29, facing Georgetown in the Brown County Holiday Classic. Meanwhile, Adena has the chance to bounce back immediately, hosting Fisher Catholic on Tuesday.
“We’ve played Georgetown already and they’ve got a couple of really nice players,” Pickerill said. “Then the next night, we hope were playing in the championship against Western Brown. They’re much improved from years past. So we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Adena: 10-8-8-6 — 32
Eastern Brown: 13-21-16-11 — 61
Adena: 11-34 FG, 7-13 FT, 3-14 3pt., 17 rebounds (Garrison 5), 18 turnovers, 8 assists (Ater 3). Scoring: Foglesong 7, Williams 6, Garrison 5, Miner 5, Smith 4, Willis 4, Curry 1.
Eastern Brown: 24-54 FG, 7-12 FT, 6-9 3pt., 33 rebounds (Gloff 7), 9 turnovers, 15 assists (Wills 5). Scoring: Leonard 25, Gloff 9, Prine 8, Brown 6, Wills 5, Dotson 4, Litzinger 2, Belcher 2.