Eisenhower girls rally for win over Sheffield in Tip-Off Classic
It might only be two games into the season, but the Eisenhower Lady Knights are certainly showing they have the ability to come from behind.
Trailing 9-2 after the first quarter against host Sheffield on Saturday, the Lady Knights rallied to tie the game at halftime and ultimately win 38-32 in the Sheffield Tip-Off Classic, thanks in large part to a career high 19 points from Emily Wheeler.
“We like this Classic because we know we’re getting good competition with Port Allegany and Sheffield challenging us,” said Eisenhower coach Mike Logue. “We’re excited because this year we were able to win both games. We were able to fight hard and come out with two wins.”
An offensive putback by Payton Mineweaser with 2:14 left in the fourth quarter gave the Lady Knights (2-0) a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
After Sheffield’s Mya Grubbs made 1-of-2 from the free throw line, Lydia Giannini hit a jumper and Mineweaser came up with a big steal to help secure the win.
The capper was a long inbounds pass from freshman Leah Peterson to Wheeler, who put the finishing touches on her game and a 2-0 start for Ike.
“Leah Peterson as an inbounder does a tremendous job,” Logue said. “She read that right away. She did last night (Friday) as well with out us even having to tell her. That’s just a tremendous plus for us.”
For Sheffield and coach Brandon Troutman, despite an 0-2 start, his team competed and showed that they are definitely heading in the right direction after a couple of tough seasons.
“We’re taking a step in the right direction … we’re more competitive,” he said. “Tonight I thought we were more complete. Last night (Friday) against Youngsville, we didn’t rebound well and didn’t get to loose balls. Tonight we did. We got into a little bit of foul trouble, but we rebounded well and passed well. Obviously I would have liked to have seen it end with a W, but I told the kids from where we’ve been as far as not being in a lot of games to being where we’re at now, we’re going to start finding away to win those games when we get that experience.”
Sheffield jumped out of the gates strong, with a three-pointer from Mya Grubbs and forcing Eisenhower into some early turnovers.
Destiny Wynn’s jumper with 2:35 to go in the first quarter gave the Lady Wolverines (0-2) their biggest lead of the game at 9-1.
Eisenhower rallied, however, and Wheeler took over on the offensive end, scoring eight consecutive points to open the second quarter and give her team a 10-9 lead.
“Emily Wheeler has worked really hard – she has great footwork in the paint,” noted Logue. “We’ve worked hard over the summer on her being able to drive and she hit a pull-up jumper tonight as well. She put in a lot of time. One of the things that helped us tonight is that we also have Lydia Giannini who’s also very strong. There’s two good post players. You can’t just focus on one. Tonight they put (Lexi) Lyon on Lydia and that left Emily available to do her thing. On Friday, they focused more on Emily and Lydia controlled things.”
Sheffield pushed back, with back to back buckets by Lyon, who finished with a team-high 16 points, connecting on back-to-back buckets to help her team retake the lead before a free throw and a bucket by Giannini tied the game at halftime, 13-13.
With Sheffield leading 20-19, the key mark in the second half courtesy of an 8-2 run by Eisenhower, that included a pair of buckets by Wheeler and suffocating defense led by Delaney Nizzi.
Giannini had 15 rebounds, six steals and three blocks, Wheeler seven rebounds and six steals, Nizzi six assists and six steals and Mineweaser four assists and six steals.
“We’re asking them to do something new (on defense) this year, so we’re still learning it,” Logue said. “It’s starting to look good, we just need to make sure we make our rotations every trip down the floor in the future.”
For Sheffield, now that they are competing in close games, the next step is winning them.
“It’s definitely learning how to win. Winning, like in any sport, is a contagious thing. Once you get the hang of how to do it, you can do it,” Troutman said. “For us, games like that, we’ll find away to dig those out. I really credit our kids for battling. Our intensity in practice is up and it helps to have a full squad. I like what the kids are buying into and I like the effort that they’re putting into it. A big thing I credit the kids for is we had a full group over the summer. We played almost a full schedule during the summer. The kids are buying into learning how to play and playing with each other. The progress is there.”
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Nizzi 2-0-0-4, Wheeler 9-1-5-19, Spicer 0-1-2-1, Mineweaser 1-1-3-3, Giannini 2-5-7-9, Frederick 0-0-0-0, Peterson 1-0-2-2, Kuzminski 0-0-0-0, Garris 0-0-0-0, McKown 0-0-0-0, Totals 15-8-19-39
Wynn 2-0-2-4, My. Grubbs 2-2-4-7, Ma. Grubbs 1-2-3-4, Davidson 0-0-0-0, Lyon 7-2-8-16, Nelson 0-0-0-0, Lauffenburger 0-0-0-0, Dunham 0-0-0-0, Frederick 0-0-0-0, Leichtenberger 0-1-4-1, Totals 12-7-21-32
Eisenhower 2 11 14 11 – 38
Sheffield 9 4 11 8 – 32
Three-point FGs: Eisenhower – None; Sheffield (1) – My. Grubbs