Sometimes the best defense is a good offense — just ask the East Newton Lady Patriots.
Facing an imposing post player in Van Buren’s Maria Santillana, the Lady Patriots, clinging to a late lead, tried everything they could to keep the ball out of her hands. They double-teamed the junior center. It didn’t work. So they did the next best thing — they held the ball.
With just over three minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Patriots stopped trying to score, and instead held the ball in an effort to keep the ball out of Santillana’s hands. The concept worked as the Lady Patriots went on to win the game, 50-46.
“We felt like really our best defense was to sit on offense,” Lady Patriots coach Marty Rinehart said. “We had a hard enough time. That was definitely part of our thought process, was to, not necessarily just to run the clock out, but just so we wouldn’t have to try to guard (Santillana).”
Credit the Lady Patriots for keeping up, especially in the third quarter when Santillana scored 13 of her teams 15 points. The Lady Patriots countered with an offensive threat of their own in the form of senior guard Shelbey Thomlinson.
On three consecutive East Newton possessions in the third quarter, Thomlinson knocked down 3-pointers from virtually the same spot on the floor to account for a nine-point swing and give the Lady Patriots a 40-38 lead with 1:21 remaining in the third. The Lady Patriots went on to score 22 points in the third and pulled out to a 44-40 lead entering the final period.
“She really shot us in the game,” Rinehart said of Thomlinson. “We’ve been kind of waiting for that. She’s had two or three nice games in a row. She works harder than anybody I’ve ever been around. We know what she’s capable of and it’s good to see her have some success."
Thomlinson led the Lady Patriots with 15 points while Emily Brummett turned in five, Aubrey McDermott three, Haley Heilig nine, Kourtney Brewster 11, Sarah Harper six and Whitney Thomlinson one.
Santillana paced all scorers with 29 points.
The Lady Patriots improved to 5-5 on the season.