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Gophers basketball dominates with defense

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GETTING POSITION: Clinton Prairie freshman Sydney Swan works for position under the basket during Thursday’s road win over Fountain Central.
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DRIVING THE LANE: Clinton Prairie guard Tynlie Neal drives the lane during the Gophers’ 65-16 win over host Fountain Central on Thursday.

BY CLAY MAXFIELD - sports@ftimes.com

Clinton Prairie opened the girls basketball season on Thursday with defense leading to a convincing 65-19 win over host Fountain Central.

The Gophers forced the Mustangs into nearly 10 turnovers in the first quarter, opening the game on an 8-0 run that included back-to-back buckets by Tynlie Neal. Prairie went to a full-court press midway through the first that wreaked havoc on Fountain Central limiting them to just three points in the first stanza of play. The Gophers limited Fountain Central to just 17% shooting from the field and no 3-pointers for the game. 

“Our key was to play Clinton Prairie basketball, playing with heart, pride and emotion,” Prairie head coach Amie Anthrop said. “Our defense is going to lead to our offense. It was a slow start getting going but once we set up into our press we started to feed off of that.”

The Gophers held Fountain Central to just five points in the second quarter while erupting for 26 points themselves. A press with Emma McKinney and Katie Blacker in the backcourt made it difficult for the Mustangs to set their offense up all evening. Prairie had no such problems themselves shooting 47% on the evening.

Leading 40-8 at the half, the Gophers didn’t take their foot off the gas, tacking on another 17 points in the third period. Blacker had back-to-back steals and layups as part of a 15-0 run. Kylie Maish added an old-style 3-point play and Blacker a 3 from behind the arc, with Blacker scoring nine in the run. Playing reserves, Prairie close the game with an 8-5 fourth quarter for the final margin.

Anthrop praised her team’s effort on the defensive end of the floor and was encouraged by their attention to detail.

“I was really impressed with our defense and our rotations,” she said. “In our communication, we were able to cut off the sideline quite a bit and force a lot of turnovers. We’ve talked all offseason that our defense is what’s going to win us games.”

The Gophers placed 10 players in the scoring column with Blacker leading them with 12 and Neal close behind at 11. Blacker also had a team-high six steals while Neal led the team with five rebounds and four assists.  

Despite the big win, Anthrop noted that her squad needed to continue to work on their execution as the level of competition increases.  

“We need to be able to execute,” she said. “We are going to see teams that we aren’t going to be able to play a full-court man-to-man defense against so we need to be able to execute in the half-court. We can always fall back on defense, if things aren’t going well on the offensive end of the floor, the defense is where you can always get a stop.”

Clinton Prairie travels to Covington tonight for a 7:30 p.m. game. Prairie’s junior varsity also prevailed winning 40-30. 


At Fountain Central


Clinton Prairie – Blacker 5 0-0 12, McKinney 2 2-2 7, Lloyd 1 6-8 8, Maish 2 3-3 7, Hannah Wilson 3 1-5 7, Neal 4 3-5 11, Kylie Martin 2 0-0 5, Sydney Swan 1 1-2 4, Hadley Wilson 1 0-1 2, Padgett 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 15-23 65.

Fountain Central 3 5 3 5 – 16

Clinton Prairie 14 26 17 8 – 65

3-point goals: Fountain Central (0), Clinton Prairie (Blacker 2, McKinney 1, Neal 1, Martin 1, Swan 1). Total Fouls – Fountain Central 19, Clinton Prairie 20.