Blazek lifts Whiteland past Roncalli

INDIANAPOLIS

It stands to reason that with three defenders around Mackenzie Blazek, one of her Whiteland teammates would be open.

The Warriors’ unselfishness with the basketball was on full display Tuesday night, with three players reaching double-figures in a 64-42 win at Roncalli.

Now 6-1, Whiteland is off to the program’s best start since the 2010-11 squad won its first 10 games.

Blazek, a 6-foot-3 senior post, finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds before taking a seat with 1:37 remaining in the fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Toni Joyner and junior guard Natalie Stuck supplied 14 and 12 points, respectively.

The Warriors outrebounded the Rebels 25-16 and limited the hosts to 12-of-38 shooting from the floor.

“I thought we got great production again from multiple people,” Whiteland coach Kyle Shipp said. “Mackenzie asserted herself tonight really well on the offensive end and on the defensive end. And her ability to pass is just incredible.

“Toni kind of benefited from that. Natalie benefited from that, and I thought we really executed the game plan well all night long.”

Roncalli opened the game with consecutive baskets by sophomore Alana Vinson, a Greenwood resident who would go on to lead her team with 15 points.

The Warriors then rattled off 16 consecutive points to take command of the contest. The first-half advantage grew as large as 22 points both at 35-13 and the halftime score of 37-15.

It marked the first time since a loss at Decatur Central during the 2008-09 season that a Roncalli girls basketball team trailed by 20 or more points at intermission.

In the second half, the Rebels could get to within 17 points on a couple of occasions, but no closer. Sisters Ellie and Maddie Bischoff — also Greenwood residents — chipped in eight and seven points, respectively, for Roncalli.

It wasn’t a perfect performance for Whiteland, though it could’ve been its best of the season.

“It’s not hard to be unselfish. Blazek’s been struggling to get the ball because they’ve been triple-teaming her, but I called the girls over when Toni was shooting a free throw and was like, ‘We’ve got to get the ball in the paint,'” Stuck said.

“We’ve got to get a high-low to Toni or Blazek, get the ball in the hoop and get back on defense.”

Whiteland’s next game is Friday night at Mid-State Conference rival Plainfield, while Roncalli (4-3) is home Thursday night against Heritage Christian.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.