By MICHAEL BURWELL
LEIPSIC — Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink decided to switch up his defense on Thursday, and it paid off for the Vikings.
Leipsic forced Arlington into a half-court game and held the Red Devils to just 28 percent shooting as the Vikings won their 10th straight game with a 44-35 victory in a Blanchard Valley Conference girls basketball game.
“We stayed with our game plan. Our game plan was we were going to try to make Arlington execute in the half court,” Kreinbrink said. “This is the first game all year that we didn’t press at all, so we just got back and we just tried to match up.”
Leipsic improved to 11-1 overall, 5-1 in the BVC and remained a game back of Liberty-Benton (6-0 BVC) in the league standings. Arcadia (5-1 BVC) also has one league loss.
The Vikings played a 2-3 zone defense throughout and made it tough for Arlington (8-5, 4-2) to score.
The Red Devils shot 14 of 50 from the floor, including just 3 of 18 from 3-point range. Leipsic also dominated the boards, 41-26.
“We struggled to find places to shoot it, Leipsic did a really good job on defense,” Arlington coach Seth Newlove said. “I don’t have a lot else on that. We struggled, it was obvious. Bad coaching, bad basketball playing.”
Leipsic senior Kierra Meyer led the Vikings with a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double. Classmate Heather Lammers added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Although Arlington took away Lammers’ 3-point game, Leipsic found other ways for her to score.
Lammers, who went 5 of 5 from 3-point range in the first quarter of Leipsic’s 51-39 win over Patrick Henry on Tuesday, scored all six of her third-quarter points in the paint.
Two of those baskets came during a 10-0 run that gave the Vikings a 32-26 lead. Overall, Leipsic used a 15-9 advantage in the frame to take a 33-29 lead.
“I said coming in I didn’t want her to shoot one three the whole night, and she didn’t,” Newlove said. “I thought we did a good job on her.”
“We just decided, they weren’t going to let her shoot threes like the other night, so we just tried to put her in the post,” Kreinbrink said. “” We thought there were times we had a mismatch inside, so we were going to try to get her the ball in there a little more.”
Leipsic’s Morgan Niese drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:30 left in the third to give the Vikings a 27-26 lead.
It proved to be the biggest play of the game, according to Kreinbrink.
“She hit a three in the corner that gave us the lead, and we never gave it back,” Kreinbrink said. “That was the biggest shot of the game and sometimes, that happens. A kid steps up like Morgan and Carlee (Siefker’s) been struggling a little bit and tonight, she stepped up with a couple big shots.”
Siefker, who finished with eight points, drained a corner 3-pointer off Lammers’ pass during the run, as well.
Despite committing 17 turnovers and shooting just 11 of 22 from the free throw line, Leipsic made enough plays on both ends of the court down the stretch. The Vikings forced four of Arlington’s 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter, and Meyer found Lammers for an easy basket in the paint with 1:34 left to extend the lead to 39-33.
Arlington only had two field goals in the fourth quarter: Hannah Willow’s bucket in the paint with 7:34 left and Jenna Pepple’s drive for a score with 13 seconds left.
“Those girls, they’re quicker than we are,” Kreinbrink said. “We knew we had to keep them on the perimeter because they love to get to the basket, and then when they get to the basket, they like to kick it out and so for us to cover all of that was difficult.
“They’re a very good team, so for us to come away with that game, I’m proud of our kids.”
Pepple scored 11 of her 16 points in the first half, including nine in the second quarter. She also went coast to coast for a layup off a turnover in the first quarter to open the scoring.
“We rely on trying to convert those turnovers into points, and that’s what we’re usually pretty successful at. We really didn’t, besides Pepple’s to start the game, I can’t think of a steal and a layup that we had all night besides that one,” Newlove said. “We need to rely on that.”
Willow added 12 points and four rebounds, while Lindsay Dodds had a team-high five boards for Arlington.
Arlington (8-5, 4-2 BVC)
Pepple 7-1–16, Willow 5-1–12, Sheets 1-2–4, Crawford 1-0–3, Dodds 0-0–0, Bormuth 0-0–0, Essinger 0-0–0. TOTALS: 14-50 4-6 — 35.
Leipsic (11-1, 5-1 BVC)
Meyer 4-8–16, Lammers 5-1–11, Siefker 3-0–8, Rigel 2-1–5, Niese 1-0–3, Sickmiller 0-1–1, Henry 0-0–0, Scheckelhoff 0-0–0. TOTALS: 15-40 11-22 — 44.
Arlington 9 11 9 6 — 35
Leipsic 6 12 15 11 — 44
3-Point GOALS: Arlington 3-18 (Pepple, WIllow & Crawford 1); Leipsic 3-11 (Siefker 2, Niese 1).
rebounds: Arlington 26 (Dodds 5); Leipsic 41 (Meyer 12).
turnovers: Arlington 10, Leipsic 17.
junior varsity: Leipsic, 30-29.
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By MICHAEL BURWELL