The Class 4-A No. 8 Lewis Central girls have had a dominant defense at times this season, giving up an average of just 34.5 points per game.
Thomas Jefferson got a first-hand taste of it Thursday as the host Titans thumped the Yellow Jackets 47-24.
Lewis Central held T.J. to just 8-of-42 (19 percent) field-goal shooting, and Megan Witte and McKenna Paulsen each scored 13 for the Titans, who improved to 14-1 this season.
The Yellow Jackets missed their first 13 shots from the field as they dug themselves a big hole.
Titan coach Derek Archer said his team had T.J. uncomfortable for much of the game. It was the Yellow Jackets’ lowest offensive output of the season.
“They don’t usually struggle as much as we made them struggle tonight. We did a really good job staying in front and making sure we kept our hands back,” Archer said.
“Realistically, if we’re going to play defense like that, it’s going to keep us in any ballgame we’re in,” he added.
High-scoring Allison Schubert of T.J., averaging 16.1 points a game, missed her first 11 shots before hitting with 1:15 left in the game. She finished with five points.
Archer credited Paulsen for that. She had the assignment of guarding Schubert.
“McKenna’s a person that can play such good defense that it frustrates a lot of people. (Schubert’s) not the first leading scorer to come into our game and end up with way less than what she’s used to,” Archer said.
The Titans led 8-1 after the first quarter, holding the Jackets to 0-for-9 shooting from the floor in the period.
But T.J. could have ended the quarter with the lead had they converted some easy plays.
The Yellow Jackets missed three layups and three free throws. Making those would have given them a 10-8 lead.
T.J. coach Devin Schoening said missed opportunities have plagued his team recently.
The Jackets, who fell to 8-8, scored 32 in a loss at Abraham Lincoln last week.
“That’s the story the last couple of weeks,” Schoening said.
“We find ourselves not being able to connect from the free-throw line. It’s not just tonight, but we’re missing layup after layup.
“We’ve got to find a way to dig in and fight for each other. That’s the only way you get out of these kinds of situations, and we’re good enough. But we’ve got to find a way to fight for each other when things are tough,” Schoening added.
Lewis Central scored the first nine points of the second quarter as the Titan advantage swelled to 17-1.
T.J. finally scored on its 14th shot attempt, a 3-pointer by Jasmine Ramos with 3:23 left in the second quarter to make it 17-4.
LaTeah Willie lead Jefferson in scoring with seven points.
Thomas Jefferson (8-8) 1 7 4 12—24
Lewis Central (14-1) 8 14 11 14—47
TJ: Hannah Belt 2, Jasmine Ramos 3, Allisa Schubert 5, Allison Schubert 5, Lateah Willie 7, Ellie Perrine 2.
LC: Hadley Hill 8, McKenna Paulsen 13, Jayden Cross 5, Isabella Smith 1, McKenna Pettepier 2, Megan Witte 13, Delaney Esterling 6.
Lewis Central boys 71, Thomas Jefferson 32
Lewis Central’s Cole Jensen scored 21 points, Logan Jones had 13 and Noah Rigatuso added 10 as the Titans routed T.J.
The Titans improved to 10-6 while the loss dropped the Yellow Jackets to 1-13.
Quran Owens led Jefferson with 14 points.
L.C. led 12-8 after the first quarter and 28-19 at halftime.
Jensen had 12 first-half points for Lewis Central, while Owens led the Yellow Jackets at halftime with nine.
The Titans broke the game wide open in the third quarter, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 23-7 to take a 51-26 advantage to the fourth.
“Thomas Jefferson played well in the first half,” said Lewis Central coach Dan Miller, “and things got a little sloppy at times. But in the second half, we played with effort. We forced turnovers and got out in transition.”
T.J. coach Nate Kreifels said the Jackets couldn’t match L.C.’s intensity after halftime.
“With three games next week, it’s important we have a few good practices and get right before Monday night.” he said.
Thomas Jefferson (1-13) 8 11 7 6—32
Lewis Central (10-6) 12 16 23 20—71
TJ: Reese Schlotfeld 1, Cameron Lukavsky 4, Beayha Gilo 5, Quran Owens 14, Noah Weinfurtner 8.
LC: Nolan McKenzie 7, Cole Drummond 4, Cole Jensen 21, Logan Jones 13, Dane Norville 6, Noah Rigatuso 10, Thomas Fidone 5, Seth Wineland 5.