Dominant defense key for SMNW girls hoops in win over Olathe East
Olathe The calling card for Shawnee Mission Northwest's girls basketball team all season long has been its lock-down defense.
The Cougars dialed in for their most dominant defensive stretch of the season against Olathe East, Tuesday, holding the Hawks to six second-half points in a 41-32 road victory.
"(We) gave up a little bit too many in the first half, but at halftime we talked about how everything starts on the defensive end. That's how we're going to score points," SM Northwest coach Tyler Stewart said. "That's how we're going to win this ballgame. The girls took that to heart, and did a great job."
After trailing 26-22 at the break, the Cougars (15-2 overall, 6-2 in the Sunflower League) kept the Hawks (14-3, 7-1) off of the scoreboard for nearly the entirety of the third quarter. Sydney Wilson netted one of Olathe East's two second-half field goals with 19 seconds left in the third to end the Hawks' drought.
The Cougars opened the second half with a three-pointer from Shelbie McLain, and took the lead for good after Emmalee Rose came up with a steal and dished it to her sister Brenni Rose for a transition layup.
"We got into some passing lanes," Stewart said. "That made it able for us to kind of start a couple of our runs."
On the offensive end for the Cougars, Brenni Rose and Jordann Nachbar combined for 30 points. Rose was able to get to the rim effectively – knocking down 6-of-8 shots inside the arch to score a game-high 16 points. When Rose wasn't driving to the hole, she was finding Nachbar open underneath as the one-two combo went to work with the high-low game.
"Brenni does a great job. When she attacks or gets double or triple-teamed, she has great vision to find people," Stewart said. "I think Jordan has figured that out because she says, 'If I get in the right place, if I can get in the gap, I'm going to get the ball.'"
Nachbar paced the Cougars in the first half 10 of her 14 points, and made 7-of-9 attempts from the field on the night. The 5-foot-10 sophomore forward said that it has been easy to get into an offensive rhythm while playing alongside another post player like Rose.
"I think it's really effective because every game, you just have to find the open spot in the area," Nachbar said. "You just got to go get 'em."
Rose put the nail in the coffin in the final minute by coming up with a steal and transition layup, and adding two free throws for the last four points of the game.
The Cougars – ranked No. 3 in Class 6A – have won 10 straight, and picked up their second victory of the season over the No. 5-ranked Hawks.
The first matchup came down to the wire with Emmalee Rose winning the game with two free throws with a second remaining to lift the Cougars to a 33-31 overtime victory Jan. 31 in the Mid America Classic championship game in McPherson.
Brenni Rose expected that the Cougars would get the Hawks' best shot in the rematch, and she was pleased to come out with another victory.
"I knew it was going to be a battle," Brenni Rose said. "I knew it was who was going to play better defense, and it just happened to be us tonight. I'm really happy the way it turned out."
Gena Ojeda 0-0 0-0 0, Carson Vielhauer 0-0 0-0 0, Shelbie McLain 2-6 0-0 5, Emmalee Rose 0-3 0-1 0, Jordann Nachbarr 7-9 2-3 14, Danielle Rehor 2-6 0-1 6, Brenni Rose 6-11 4-6 16. Totals 17-35 6-11 41.
Katie Gleason 2-7 0-0 5, Caroline Hoppock 2-5 1-2 5, Sydney Wilson 4-11 0-0 9, Hope Owens 1-2 0-2 3, Cameron Kincaid 1-5 1-2 3, Regan Schumacher 2-5 1-2 5, Emily Jasnoski 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 13-36 3-8 32.
SMNW 15 7 8 11 – 41
OE 16 10 2 4 – 32
Three-point goals: SMNW 3-13 (Rehor 2, McLain); OE 0-0 (). Turnovers: SMNW 7, OE 12.