Defense was the main contributor to a deep run in the Indiana Kitchen Classic for Rossville’s varsity girls basketball team this week when they edged out North Montgomery and Tri-County for a second place finish in the Delphi Tournament.
Speaking after their win against North Montgomery, Chad Geheb touched on the importance of his team’s aggressive natures on the defensive end of the floor, particularly when it came to kickstarting his team’s offense in the first half.
“We knew that they are prone to turn the ball over and we wanted to exploit that,” Geheb said. “I thought we did a good job of turning them over and not always did those turn into points. We gotta do a better job of finishing those plays but we did turn them over and 10 points (off turnovers) in the first half and that’s crucial if our offense is going to be as stagnant as it was in the first half.”
While the team’s offense may have looked stagnant from the sideline, Rossville gave fans in the stands plenty to cheer about as they turned the Chargers over six times in the opening eight minutes while Ava Burkle led the charge with six of the team’s first eight points.
As a team, Rossville shot 44% from the field while the Hornet’s defense came up with 11 steals throughout the night.
Burkle led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds followed by 9 points from Corryn Geheb and eight from Addi Gorbett.
On the heels of their first round victory, Geheb reflected on the difference he’s seen in his team after they’ve won five of their last six with their lone loss coming against No. 5 in Class 2A Carroll.
That difference boiled down to simply put: learning how to win.
“We’re young. We’ve got two freshmen, Avery Layton, a sophomore as well. Trying to get them to understand the speed and physicality of the varsity game. … Learning how to win. We went through a spell last year where we didn’t win a game for a while and we won four last year and sometimes, kids gotta learn how to win and I thought finally we were able to do that,” he said.
That same youth came up big in the second half against North Mont as Avery Layton came out and set the tone offensively with a jumper for the Hornet's first score of the third while Tori Skiles and Ava Burkle got into the scoring mix with baskets of their own.
Burkle kept up the same scoring trend two nights later when she led Rossville in their 48-40 win over Tri-County with another double double in 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The following day, Rossville faced off against No. 12 in Class 2A Pioneer in a championship loss of the IKC, 59-28, but were unable to keep pace with a Panthers team that boasts Miss Indiana Basketball candidate, Ashlynn Brooke and an offense that averages over 55 points a game.
The Hornets will play host to Frontier (4-8) on January 5.
HORNETS 38, CHARGERS 31
Rossville – Cortney Huffman 2 0-1 4, Ad. Gorbett 2 2-2 6, Geheb 0 1-4 1, Skiles 2 0-0 6, Layton 2 1-2 9, Burkle 4 5-6 13, Av. Gorbett 1 1-4 3. 13 10-19 38.