When Gibsonburg's girls’ basketball team gets its rematch with Suburban Lakes
League rival Lake on Tuesday, the Golden Bears will have to play great defense and, yes, have a lot of good things go their way.
One other aspect of the game, however, will be just as crucial for the visiting Bears if they hope to knock off the state's eighth-ranked Division III team.
"We have to score with them, which is the hard part," said Gibsonburg coach Mark Sworden, whose team lost to the Flyers 58-30 on Jan. 18. "The last time, we worked real hard on defense and did a decent job of keeping their big three (players) in check.
"You have to score with them and not turn it over. They rely on pressure and getting turnovers on their press, and they score off that. You have to finish possessions with them or you're in trouble. They make you pay for mistakes."
The Bears, who took an 0-8 league record (4-12 overall) into Thursday's home
game against Eastwood, are averaging 40 points a game.
In their loss to Lake, the Bears trailed 14-2 after one quarter and finished with 27 turnovers.
Sworden said Gibsonburg's goal was to shut down the Flyers' Kaysie Brittenham, Jessica Abbey and Kimberly Meyer.
"Lake got to us a little bit in the first quarter and got off to a good start," Sworden recalled. "Their big players didn't go off on us, but the Abbey girl had a big third quarter. We tried to guard all three of them around the 3-point line. We kept two of those three under control, but Jessica got us in the third quarter."
Abbey scored 15 points and Drew Plummer had 10 in the Flyers' win. Brittenham, Lake's leading scorer (16.3 ppg.), had just six points while Meyer was held scoreless.
The Flyers (14-0, 8-0), who took a 37-game regular-season winning streak into their Feb. 4 game at Woodmore, haven't been tested much this season. Their closest margin of victory has been eight points in wins over Otsego (47-39) and Fostoria St. Wendelin (45-37).
"Recently we have not been shooting well from outside," Lake coach Denny Meyer said. "We had that problem this time last year. We are mentally fatigued and not focused on the shooting. Hopefully we'll come out of it soon.
"We're still playing good defense. Against Otsego last Friday we didn't shoot well but we forced 22 turnovers, so our defense kept us in the game."
Gibsonburg senior Samantha Stainbrook, a 5-10 post, scored 13 points while senior guard Jessica Whetsel added nine in the loss to Lake.
"She's a good player," coach Meyer said of Stainbrook, who averages just under 12 points and eight rebounds a game.
"She's playing well," Sworden said. "The first time around (the league) she was just getting going because she missed the whole preseason with an injury. She had five of her 17 points in overtime against Fremont St. Joe (a 56-54 win on Jan. 30) and she had a double-double against Woodmore. She gets everybody's best shot in the post."
Sworden said senior guard Aubrey Goetz has started to show her versatility.
At the end of the St. Joe game she was running the point because of an injury," Sworden said. "That's the first time she's done that, and she held us together down the stretch. She doesn't have dazzling numbers, but she's a person we can put in any spot and she can handle it."
Strong guard play against Lake's full-court pressure will be crucial for Gibsonburg.
"We've had our share of turnovers," Sworden said. "In games that could go either way, the extra turnovers we gave away might have made a difference if we would have taken better care of the ball."