SANGER — Wearing seafoam green shoes, Carissa Spiker caught everyone’s attention with a game-high 23 points as Sanger took down Denton 57-33 on Tuesday night.
Spiker led Sanger out to an 18-6 lead with 12 first-quarter points and had 19 by halftime as the Lady Indians enjoyed a 31-16 advantage.
Taylor Seastrunk, who paced the Lady Broncos with 10 points, knocked down a 3-pointer for the first points of the game, but Spiker asserted herself by scoring Sanger’s first nine points.
Spiker played active defense and made smart decisions in transition, and Sanger coach Jack Armstrong said her offensive production was a cherry on top of her usual steady play at point guard.
“It’s the best game she’s played this year,” Armstrong said. “She sees the floor really well. She’s a natural point guard, likes to assist, but she shot well tonight, too, so that’s a double bonus. Especially with them pressuring us, it was hard for them to pressure with the way she was attacking.”
Spiker also had her share of assists, helping to facilitate an efficient offense while getting Sanger’s post players easy looks inside, where the Lady Indians held a distinct advantage, according to Denton coach Dennis Krishka.
“We were outworked, outhustled and outphysicalled,” Krishka said. “They pushed us around, and we let them do whatever they wanted. We are going through some growing pains. You can tell that Argyle and Sanger, which play in the same district, play a lot alike. I hope we learned some things tonight.”
The Lady Broncos suffered a similar fate against Sanger as they did in last week’s 53-33 loss to Arygle. Denton struggled to find its offensive groove, and with Spiker dicing up his defense, Krishka said his team could use an offensive leader like the Sanger guard.
“We’re struggling to score,” Krishka said. “There’s no question. We struggled against Argyle and we struggled again tonight. We don’t have that go-to player. [Spiker] had 19 points in the first half for them. Everybody seems to have one, but we’re still looking for one. She’s aggressive, she’ll take you off the bounce or she’ll shoot the 3, and she’s very physical. We didn’t have an answer for her. It’s that simple.”
The Lady Broncos made an attempt to rally to start the second half when Taylor Allison added her first two buckets of the game to draw Denton within 33-20, but they couldn’t match Sanger’s defensive intensity. When the Lady Broncos did force turnovers, they couldn’t convert them into easy points like the Lady Indians were able to.
Sanger frequently capitalized on easy transition opportunities while exploiting Denton’s overaggression on defense.
“I thought we did a good job playing help defense, and for the most part we did a pretty good job keeping them off the boards,” Armstrong said. “For a whole game, it’s probably the best we’ve played. At times we’ve played well in spurts, but we just haven’t played a whole game, and tonight we came closer to a whole game. We had a few turnovers, and that was from Denton’s pressure, but for the most part I was pleased.”
The Lady Indians moved to 7-4, while the Lady Broncos fell to 6-4 with their third consecutive loss.
With District 5-4A play just around the corner, Krishka said he hopes his team can pull it together during tournament games this week.
“We had that week off and I’m not sure if that hurt us or not, but we’ve got four games this week in a tournament in Aubrey, so we’ve got plenty of opportunity to improve before district next week,” Krishka said.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.