St. Joe girls shoot down Scott County
SPRING VALLEY -- Scott County girls basketball coach Scott Helton learned something Friday night.
Designing a defense to slow down Huntington St. Joe is darn near impossible.
Mychal Johnson and Griffin Dempsey are a handful to guard anywhere on the floor. Should the junior guards have an "off" night, there are plenty of other weapons.
Rachel Lee for starters. The left-hander connected on a career-best seven three-pointers to help the Irish (12-1) pull away to a 68-46 victory over the Cardinals in the first game of the Tri-State Hoops Classic at Spring Valley High School.
St. Joe led by just four (29-25) at halftime.
"They cause you to come out," Helton said before boarding the bus for the trip back to Georgetown, Ky. "Then they drive and kick it out. Set up in a zone and they get a wide open three. They're hard to guard. It's one thing to get open. It's something else to get open and knock down the shot. Give them credit."
Lee finished with a game-high 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds for St. Joe.
Johnson tallied 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Dempsey added 13 points. The guard tandem, though, made just 10 of 33 shots between them.
"That's what we do," St. Joe coach Shannon Lewis said of the Irish. "Mychal struggled a bit around the basket. Griffin struggled with her shooting. It was not her best night. Rachel stepped up big. The key is all five can shoot threes. That spreads a team out. If they try to help, we'll find someone."
St. Joe, ranked No. 1 in Class A in West Virginia, made 14 of 23 shots from behind the arc. It's the second time Scott County's had an opponent hit 14 threes. The first was against Woodford County.
"I haven't shot that well lately," Lee said. "I got in the flow and it was my night. They (Johnson and Dempsey) didn't make their shots and I felt I had to step up. The rest is practice."
Lee drilled two of her three-pointers at the start of the third quarter and the Irish went on a 12-2 run to open a 39-25 with 2:42 left in the quarter. Lee's personal-best seventh trey came with 4:6 left in the game.
Tereka Guyn led the Cardinals (15-9) with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Often times Johnson and Dempsey drive the lane, draw the defense and pass the ball out to an open teammate. Often that's Lee and this night she finished strong.
"Some days I feel I can't shoot," she said. "I get down on myself. Today I made the shots early and the confidence soars, it goes through the roof. It's a great feeling."
On defense, St. Joe, seeking a fifth straight state championship, applied more pressure in the second half. Scott County finished with 21 turnovers.
"We amped it up on defense," Lee said.
"We played with more energy in the second half," Lewis said. "We extended them a little bit. We were able to keep their big girls off the boards."
St. Joe's is back in action Saturday in the Hoops Classic. The Irish face Bluefield at 3 p.m. It's the second of five games on the day.
SCOTT COUNTY 8 15 9 14 -- 46: Ray 2-3 2-2 7, Hawkins 0-5 0-0 0, Szorenyi 2-12 2-2 6, Guyn 9-11 2-2 20, Lockard 0-2 0-0 0, DeFoor 3-12 1-2 10, Guy 1-1 1-2 3, Boehm 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-48 8-10 46.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 12 15 21 20 -- 68: Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0, Dempsey 4-15 2-4 13, Mychal Johnson 6-18 3-4 17, Anderson 1-1 0-0 3, Mychelle Johnson 2-7 0-0 5, Caitlin Gale 0-0 0-0 0, Lee 7-12 0-0 21, Peitte 3-9 3-5 9. Totals: 23-62 8-13 68.
3-point baskets: SC 4-17 (Ray 1-2, Hawkins 0-2, Szorenyi 0-1, Lockard 0-1, DeFoor 3-11). SJ 14-27 (Dempsey 3-9, Mychal Johnson 2-4, Anderson 1-1, Mychelle Johnson 1-4, Lee 7-9).