South relies on ‘D’ to stop West
Defending state Class 4A champs top Cyclones 53-34
The South High School girls basketball team is defending its 2013 state title with plenty of defense.
Colts senior Kendra Jesik helped showcase the Colts’ stingy defense Tuesday in a 53-34 South Central-League victory over Pueblo West at Jerry Kersey gym.
“We pride ourselves on defense a lot. That’s one of our main priorities every game,” Jesik said.
“We go in with the mindset that we are not going to let any player beat us.”
South defenders held Pueblo West’s leading scorer, junior Haley Simental, to seven points.
“We know Haley is a great player. They have a great team and we know they are going to penetrate on us, but we did a great job with a lot of help side and everyone stepped up and played really good,” Jesik said.
Jesik and teammate Shannon Patterson helped South (15-1) play commanding pressure defense against Pueblo West (12-4) for most of the game.
Jesik made it tough for any player to get an open shot.
“Kendra is always solid. She’s always going to be there. She’s like 3-to-1 turnover assist ratio,” South coach Shannan Lane said.
“She’s the kid you want on the floor and you don’t want to take her off.”
Lane said her team knew it had to play well to beat Pueblo West at home.
South held the Cyclones to five points in the first quarter and only two baskets for four points in the third.
“Right now, we are trying to perfect little things,” Lane said.
Patterson led South with 15 points and Jaylyn Duran added 14.
“There are a lot of things that we obviously can do better and we will get to work at that and we will get another chance at them in a couple of weeks,” Cyclones coach Gil Lucero said.
“I think we played pretty good defense on them. They are just a balanced team.”
Pueblo West 44, Canon City 35
The Cyclones didn’t stay down too long after their loss to South, defeating Canon City 44-35 in their next game.
The victory over Canon City was starkly different than the game against South.
“South did a good job of keeping the ball out of Haley Simental’s hands, only allowing her to score 7 points. Bri Rodriguez played well scoring 11 points and going 5 for 6 from the free-throw line,” Lucero said.
Against Canon City, the Cyclones rediscovered their usual rhythm.
“We found ourselves down 8-10 at the end of the first quarter. The girls settled down and had a good second quarter scoring 14 points with a balanced attack and hold Canon to 8,” Lucero said.
Six players scored in the second quarter and the team was able to switch it up defensively. “Canon City has a great 1-2 punch in Nicole Archambeau and Lindsey Schwab. Our post players held Schwab to only 7 points well below her season average of 14. Simental and Gina Carochi carried the scoring load with 13 and 11 points. We had 7 players contribute in the scoring column in this game which was very satisfying,” Lucero said. Lucero explained that although the loss to South was a tough one, he was pleased with the way the girls bounced back and responded against a tough team like Canon City. “We have another tough week ahead of us going to East on Tuesday and playing Central at home for senior night on Friday.”
View reporter Hope A. Sickler contributed to this report.