News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

December 19, 2013

Terre Haute North girls fight off West Vigo

TERRE HAUTE — Sometimes the twain doesn’t meet.

West Vigo’s girls basketball team had its highest win total (five) entering its annual matchup with Terre Haute North since the 2000-01 season.

It would seem it was the best chance for West Vigo to beat its county rival in over decade, but for one thing ... North entered the game with its best record in the same time period.

In the end, history had little to do with it. North’s size and defensive speed were too much for the Vikings as North earned a 53-34 victory.

West Vigo certainly had belief this was their year against North. The Vikings lost to the Patriots 45-22 at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Tipoff Classic in November, but had gone 4-2 since.

“We fully expected to come across the river and win a basketball game. We truly did, but we didn’t play like it,” West Vigo coach Ryan Easton said. “They were way better than us tonight. I thought we were ready. They did a lot better. I don’t know.”

Adrienne Pritchard led North with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting. The senior also had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. Jennifer Bendickson had 14 and was 4-for-4 from 3-point range. Lexus Elkins paced the Vikings with 11 points.

North did a lot of things right, but what it did first was break West Vigo’s defensive resistance. The Patriots got five easy buckets — four by Pritchard and another by another North mainstay Layne Curley — in the first four minutes of the contest to take 11-2 lead.

“We took them out of their game a little bit. We put some pressure on the ball. We knew coach Easton would have them ready to be physical and aggressive. We were just able to take that away from them,” North coach Mike Allen said. “We executed our offense and shot the ball pretty well.”

The inability to stop some of the Patriots’ best-known scorers stuck in Easton’s craw.

“The scouting report said help on good shooters. They’re all good shooters. We let people get loose we knew not to. North did a very nice job. When you don’t do a good job it makes it look worse than it really is,” Easton said.

North used its full-court pressure defense at times, but the Vikings were victimized by the quick hands of North’s guards in its half-court set as much as anything else.

Curley was particularly troublesome. The North senior had three first-quarter steals. It comprised a third of West Vigo’s nine first period turnovers as the Patriots’ advantage was 18-9 by the end of the first period.

Pritchard, who has a four-inch advantage over any Viking, was also on-task for the Patriots. She scored 16 in the first half, including a 3-pointer late in the half. North had a 35-13 halftime lead.

West Vigo outscored North in both second half quarters, but by then, it was in too deep of a hole to dig out of.

North will continue to be dangerous as it has the post-driver-shooter combination in Pritchard, Curley and Bendickson. Sierra Sykes, the fourth senior in North’s starting lineup, is also more than capable.

“On any given night, the four seniors have scored close to 20. For us to be successful, we need two or three to fill the void on a night when someone else isn’t scoring,” Allen said.

Both teams have conference games on Saturday. North hosts Ben Davis in a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference tilt while West Vigo travels to Brown County for a Western Indiana Conference contest.

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