Effingham Daily News
Madison Ohnesorge scores a lot of points in transition for Altamont, which is no secret, so St. Anthony took the speedy guard's ability to run away from her.
The Bulldogs, a defense that likes to use a full-court press, sat back in half-court zones and man-to-man looks, forcing Altamont to find other ways to score.
Altamont couldn't maintain a scoring presence other than a 14-point second quarter, only scoring seven points in the second half, as St. Anthony (5-0, 2-0 NTC) stayed undefeated this season with a 46-26 win on Monday.
“You can't gamble too much because Madi (Ohnesorge) is such a good player and can knock down shots,” St. Anthony head coach Bart Wiedman said. “Lauren Wendt, Morgan Gardewine and Kelsea Dust did a good job on her that once she did give up the ball they tried not to let her get it back.”
Ohnesorge's 13 points was half of the Indians' total, but the National Trail Conference tournament most valuable player was limited to one point in the second half, via a free throw.
The Indians picked up the pace of the game in the only quarter in which they scored more than five points. They moved the ball quicker in the half court and shot the ball earlier in their possessions during a 14-point second quarter that brought them within eight points, 27-19, at halftime.
The conviction the offense played with in the second quarter disappeared in the second half, but not because Altamont head coach Katie Lurkins told her players to pull back the reins.
“It's the court awareness,” Lurkins said. “They know what is successful for us and we just have to find a way to do the things we are successful at. It comes down to us having to do it.”
Altamont (4-4, 1-1 NTC) fumbled away early third-quarter opportunities, committing a handful of unforced errors. Don't ask Lurkins how many.
“I didn't even want to look,” she said. “We made mistakes we didn't have to make. I was a lot of, 'I don't want the ball,' or playing a step in front of behind someone.”
The third quarter was both teams' worst of the game. Altamont scored four points and St. Anthony only eight, but the Bulldogs' offense often had more scoring outlets – four players with more than seven points, led by Kate Richards' 13 points.
Meanwhile, the Indians continued to try to buck the trend of Ohnesorge being their only offensive scoring threat on the floor. Macy Wendling's six points was the second highest on the team.
Lurkins said the solution could be a matter of Ohnesorge sensing when to step on and off of the gas.
“Sometimes she tries to do too much and her teammates fall back and let her take that burden on,” Lurkins said. “We need to find a nice, safe balance there.”
St. Anthony exposed Altamont's offensive weakness and dealt with a concern of its own – a nine-day layoff since the National Trail Conference tournament.
The Bulldogs shot the ball well early, finishing the first quarter with a 17-5 lead, which was enough to prevent their tired legs from getting the best of them late in the game.
“We were extremely tired to finish the game,” Wiedman said. “They were starting to run out of gas.”
Helping a winded team, St. Anthony got back one of two injured starters from last season's team. Lexie Niebrugge played no more than 10 minutes and scored two points.
Makayla Walsh, recovering from a torn ACL, is nearing her return to the court, too, Wiedman said. She was in uniform, on the bench, during Monday's game.
“She's been doing a lot of practicing with us,” Wiedman said. “It's like having another assistant coach (one the bench) because she knows everything we do, and that's nice.”
The Bulldogs and Indians hit the road on Thursday. St. Anthony will be in Cowden-Herrick, while Altamont will play Okaw Valley.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Anthony 17 10 8 11 46
Altamont 5 14 4 3 26
St. Anthony: Gardewine 9, L. Niebrugge 2, Wendt 4, Nuxoll 7, Brown 9, Richards 13, H. Niebrugge 2
Altamont: M Ohnesorge 13, L Ohnesorge 3, Smith 2, Tillman 2, Wendling 6