FORT WAYNE – Snider’s Deja Wimby was going off like a 21-gun salute, flinging in 3s from somewhere out on Lima Road.
Turnovers were piling up like snowdrifts for East Noble. A game-long lead, occasionally double digits, had shrunk to nothing.
Time for things to start looking up again for the Knights. Literally.
Time, in the first 4A girls sectional semifinal at Northrop on Friday night, for the Knights to raise their eyes 6-feet-1 inches off the floor, where Kourtney and Kavan Edwards were waiting to steady the boat, get the Knights back on track and secure a 59-54 victory over Wimby and the Panthers.
At halftime, I think that’s what they came in and tried to take away from us, and put a lot of pressure on our guards so we couldn’t get it there, East Noble coach DeAnn Booth said of her two bigs, who combined for 34 points and 23 rebounds. We actually ended up running a man offense against their zone to get some movement, and that seemed to work. And we got it inside, and our bigs converted.
It’s just what they do, apparently.
That’s our game, said Kourtney Edwards, who scored 21 points and took 13 rebounds while Kavan finished with 13 and 10. Not many teams have two 6-1 players, so we like to use that as much as possible.
And just like that, the storm passed. Wimby, who scored 13 of her game-high 33 points in the third quarter, cooled off marginally. The Knights stopped trying to throw the skip pass over the top that Snider turned into seven turnovers in the third. And a fast start for the Knights was not squandered after all, as East Noble (17-5) advanced to tonight’s championship game against Carroll.
The Knights led 3-0 after 17 seconds, 8-0 after two minutes and change and 10-2 with 4:18 to play in the first, as everyone for the Panthers (8-12) except Wimby struggled. Courtney Jones’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer was the punctuation mark to an 18-6 getaway for East Noble.
The Knights countered a 9-0 Snider run in the second with another 8-0 burst to reach halftime with a 26-20 lead, and they led 35-26 with 4:13 to play in the third.
But then Wimby stuck three 3-pointers and Kiersten Eley another to fuel a 13-2 run for Snider, and suddenly the Panthers led 39-37.
Back went the Knights to their bread-and-butter.
The two Edwards scored six straight points as the Knights opened the fourth quarter on yet another 8-0 run, and suddenly it was 47-40 with 4:40 to play. Snider never got closer than the final score again.
We needed to start strong, and when we started strong I knew we were going to be OK throughout the game, Booth said.
They made some runs at us and we knew that they would do that, but we kept our cool. Having eight seniors, the leadership role, we’ve done a great job with that this year.