UNION MILLS — For Westville coach Josh Goeringer, Tuesday’s Porter County Conference matchup with South Central “never really felt like it was out of hand” until he looked up at the scoreboard with a few minutes to play and his Blackhawks (11-4, 3-2 PCC) were down 20 points to the PCC frontrunners.
“They’re a good bunch,” Goeringer said. “They attack you in that 1-3-1 (zone) and they get their hands on every ball. They’re tough.”
The Satellites, who snapped Westville’s five-game winning streak with a 56-31 victory to improve to 11-3 and a perfect 4-0 in league play, never trailed in the contest and forced 26 turnovers, 17 of them coming in the game’s opening 16 minutes.
At the intermission, the Blackhawks had more turnovers (17) than points on the board (16) after a first quarter that actually saw the teams tied at 11.
“If you’re not willing to adjust to what a team’s doing, you’re never going to win,” Goeringer said. “They didn’t let up.”
The second period is where the Satellites flexed their muscles, racing to a 26-16 halftime advantage on the back of a 15-5 quarter where they forced 10 of the Blackhawks’ 16 first-half turnovers. Abbie Tomblin provided the offensive touch with seven of her 14 points in the quarter.
“I’m elated with this performance,” Satellites coach Wes Bucher said after the triumph. “We’re starting to execute in the zones and we’ve watched a lot of film on ourselves. We’re starting to see those gaps that are there and we’re finding them offensively.”
The second-half all-around work from star forward Amber Wolf was part of Bucher’s elation, as the junior scored a game-high 21 points with 11 rebounds, five steals and four assists on the evening, including 10 of those 21 points in the third period to help the Satellites take a 10-point half advantage out to 19 with a quarter to play.
“I called her out at halftime, not that she wasn’t playing well in the first half, but I know that she has that extra gear that most girls in 1A basketball don’t have,” Bucher said. “It’s just something that she’s gotta get going and she’s gotta have that fire.”
The ‘fire’ was present from the half break on, as Wolf opened the third quarter with a steal-and-score plus a foul at the rim just 11 seconds into the half. From that point on, Bucher said “that was a defining moment for her because she realized that it’s time to step up and go above and beyond.”
“When he gets on me, that always triggers something in me,” Wolf said after the win. “That pumped me up a little bit and got me going. Playing against my friend Sarah Weston, we’re competitors and every time she beats me, it’s like, ‘OK, now I gotta beat you’, so we kinda go at it and that got me going, too.”
Wolf and the relentless Satellite defense hounded Weston to the tune of just six points on nine shot attempts, while holding Westville to just 20 points in the final 24 minutes of action. Sarah’s younger sister, Grace, didn’t have much luck either with just five points on seven shots, but Goeringer mentioned that “these games happen” and what comes next is the most important part.
“It’s tough (with the holidays),” Goeringer said, noting a Friday matchup with Merrillville from the Duneland Athletic Conference. “It’s all about how you’re gonna react. We all do bad things, but how are you gonna react from them? It’s about your character. The same thing for a team, too. It’s about your character. What are we gonna do tomorrow? Are we gonna pout and be upset or come in hard ready to work?”
Goeringer shared that he’s “overly confident in his girls” with a laugh, but his belief hasn’t wavered in his bunch, despite a tough conference loss to put them behind further in the PCC standings.
“We didn’t do some good things tonight,” Goeringer said. “But I know we can do better and that’s encouraging. They’re a good group of girls and hopefully we’ll get to see (South Central) in the tournament again.”
South Central 56, Westville 31
Amber Wolf leads all scorers with 21 points as the Satellites cruise to their fourth win in a row and stay perfect in PCC play.