CHETOPA — Bouncing back from a season-opening loss to Galena, the St. Paul Indians girls downed sister district rival Chetopa 57-36.
“It’s nice to be on this side of it,” St. Paul head coach Doug Tuck said. “We played a little harder. We got outplayed last Friday night. So we came out better and made some effort. Experience is great, but it’s painful to get sometimes.”
Josey Harris led St. Paul with 13 points. Elise Doherty and Emerald Struthers added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Indians.
St. Paul’s press defense, deployed throughout nearly the entire game, wore down Chetopa over the evening.
“We didn’t slow down like we needed to,” Chetopa head coach Jaunc Bradshaw said. “When we slowed down and hit the open man, we were able to break it. But there was too much dribbling. We’ve got to break that habit, look ahead and find the open man.”
Tuck said St. Paul will look to be aggressive on defense throughout the season if it can find the depth to justify the approach.
“I would like to but I don’t know if we will,” Tuck said. “It takes some depth and some skill. Sometimes we trapped when we shouldn’t and we’re still working on rotations. With a young team with no seniors, it’s something we still want to use.”
Brali Conard led Chetopa with 16 points.
“She knows everybody will key on her every game,” Bradshaw said. “She’s going to have to be unique in scoring. She’ll have to find different ways and she did that tonight.”
Both teams will face Southeast and Columbus in the next two games of the St. Paul Early Season Tournament on Thursday and Friday.
“We’ve got to keep building on things we had tonight,” Tuck said. “Southeast is a tough league school and Columbus is always tough to beat. We’ve got to improve in our halfcourt offense. Athletically, we’ll be solid. It’ll come down to whether or not we can get anything out of our halfcourt game.”
Bradshaw also wants to see more offensive efficiency for Chetopa.
“If we get pressed, we’ll work on that,” Bradshaw said. “In the halfcourt, we’ve got to run our offense better. I’d like to see us rebound offensively a little better. Defensively, we can’t get complacent and lazy after a few passes.”
St. Paul’s girls are now 1-1 on the season while Chetopa is 0-2.
The St. Paul-Chetopa boys game was postponed indefinitely as the St. Paul boys were quarantined after a positive case of COVID-19 popped up on the roster.
Tuesday was also the last game either team played without fans in the stands after KSHSAA ruled on Tuesday to allow one-to-two parents per participant in starting on Thursday.
“It’s a strange time,” Tuck said. “The fan decision was a good compromise. If the purpose is to protect everybody and not have a full gym, I think that can be accomplished. Parents still want to see their kids play.”
ST. PAUL EARLY SEASON TOURNAMENT
St. Paul 57, Chetopa 36
St. Paul: 11 19 18 9 — 57
Chetopa: 13 3 15 5 — 36
St. Paul: K. Doherty 8, E. Doherty 12, Harris 13, Seme 7, Bradshaw 2, Struthers 10, Chambers 5
Chetopa: Moore 3, Ross 9, Pierce 4, Conard 16, Beard 4