Denton’s high-pressure defense kept Keller Central at bay throughout most of the game, but a crucial mental lapse by the Lady Broncos in the second quarter led to a seven-point run by the visiting Lady Chargers, who held on for a 46-37 victory in the season opener for both schools.
“We had a chronic problem in our scrimmages as well, but every quarter we would have a little lapse like that,” Denton head coach Dennis Krishka said. “That was the same thing that happened there. There was a communication problem on the defensive end and a couple mental lapses gave them seven points we shouldn’t have [given up]. We never could dig out of the hole and that’s what happens with a young team. There are a lot of bugs to be ironed out.”
After Mariah Seastrunk scored to bring the Lady Broncos to within three at 20-17, the Lady Chargers used a deep post-up by center Lexi Cary and a wide-open 3-pointer and a layup from guard Keri Rodgers that gave them a 27-17 lead.
Cary led Keller Central with 10 points as her size forced the Lady Broncos into defensive mismatches to go along with a safety valve to help alleviate the tight defensive pressure by Denton. Guard Tiffany Wilson also had nine points for Keller Central, with forward Kierra Bell adding eight points.
“The beginning of the game, our full-court pressure was trying to wear them down,” Krishka said. “It was a hard game to match up with them. We didn’t really wear them down. Part of the problem was that they had an easy release and the ability to throw the ball over the top to her [Cary]. We gave her a tougher time in the second quarter, but our [post players] aren’t physical enough to keep her out of the paint.”
The Lady Broncos struggled to find consistency on the offensive end, despite their tenacious defensive pressure.
Le’andra Johnson led Denton with 12 points, with Myesha Taylor chipping in nine points.
The Lady Broncos guards were able to find opportunities at the rim with good interior pressure to draw several fouls. However, they struggled at line, hitting only 9 of 20.
“They made a good share of their free throws and ours weren’t very good,” Krishka said. “You have to take care of those, especially when you’re not shooting well from the floor. We took the ball to the rim plenty of times to get to the line. We have to hang our hat on that and improve on the free-throw line.”
Denton jumped out to an early 6-4 lead, but Keller Central used a 10-3 run capped by a Rodgers’ layup and free throw to close the first quarter with the lead. The Lady Chargers used a 16-8 second quarter to take a 13-point lead at halftime.
The Lady Broncos found their offensive rhythm a bit in the third quarter, outscoring Keller Central 10-4 behind four points from Myesha Taylor to draw within 34-27. However, their press-defense couldn’t force enough turnovers to get them back in the game, and the Lady Chargers held on for the win.
“The thing I was most pleased about was our effort,” Krishka said. “We played hard the entire game. We knew going in that one of our biggest problems was going to be scoring the basketball. We shot 26 percent from the floor tonight, and if you do that, you have to be doing something right on the defensive end. You can’t have any mental lapses like we did tonight.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Keller Central 46, Denton 37
Denton (0-1) D: Le’andra Johnson 12, Myesha Taylor 9, April Pena 7,
Mariah Seastrunk 4, Victoria Amadi 1.
Keller Central (1-0) K: Lexi Cary 10, Tiffany Wilson 9, Kierra Bell 8,
Ashley Yarbrough 7, Keri Rodgers 7, Taylor Hannig 5, Miranda Miears 2.