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Pressure defense helps Whiteland earn big victory


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DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

If Kyle Shipp has a favorite word, it might be blue.

On Thursday night, the Whiteland girls basketball coach must have said it over a dozen times.

“Blue, blue.”

“Blue after a make.”

But blue isn’t just any word. It’s a signal for the Warriors to go into their full-court trap defense.

Shipp might be saying blue a lot more.

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The Warriors scored 34 points off 30 turnovers en route to a 59-32 victory against visiting Shelbyville.

 

Whiteland senior Jordyn Francis scored a game-high 19 points, draining 4 of 6 3-pointers, as the Warriors (8-9) won their second straight game.

Holding a 5-4 lead midway through the first quarter, the Warriors cranked up their defense, swarming to the ball and forcing turnover after turnover.

“We really wanted to come out and pressure,” Shipp said. “We felt that if we pressured them, we could turn them over. And I think we did a good job of pressuring them and getting good looks.”

The Warriors worked on the trap in practice and wanted to create pressure to confuse Shelbyville.

And as they look to the postseason, Shipp said the Warriors are trying to create an identity in the way they play.

“We feel like some of our switch-up defenses and those types of things maybe will help us do those types of things,” he said.

And Shipp knows Whiteland could do more.

For as much as its defense led to easy transition buckets, Whiteland still had more chances to convert at the rim.

Whiteland senior Chelsea Perry added 17 points, freshman Kate White scored nine off the bench, and senior Michaela Harris had seven points and nine rebounds.

Whiteland had a 34-21 rebounding edge and held the Golden Bears (2-14) to four points in each of the second and fourth quarters.

The Warriors stretched a 33-13 halftime lead to 43-19 late in the third quarter before Shelbyville pulled within 14 early in the fourth. They allowed a few easy layups on drives in the lane.

“We talked at halftime about coming out and really closing the game out and not allowing them to get back into the game,” Shipp said.

But Whiteland cranked up its defense again and scored 13 points off seven turnovers to help earn the win.

Shelbyville juniors Allyson Conner and Riley Achenbach each scored 10 points.

Whiteland hosts Mid-State Conference rival Franklin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We just need to clean up our defensive stuff for Franklin on Saturday,” Shipp said. “We’re pleased with a good win and build upon it and roll into another home game on Saturday.”

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