JA girls basketball gets back in win column
By Chris Miles
The rules of the game of basketball prevent a team from having any more than the customary five players on the floor at any one time.
For visiting Marion Harding, it must have seemed like the Jonathan Alder girls basketball team had seven, maybe even eight players on the hardwood at various times during the first half of their contest Thursday night.
The Pioneers (2-9) swarmed the Presidents, forced a ton of turnover and turned them into easy baskets as the home team waltzed to a 41-24 victory, in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
Pioneers coach Terra McDaniels has watched her young team struggle this season to find its way, but on this night it was the defense that stepped up to help snap an eight-game losing streak.
“We like to mix up our presses because we’re short,” McDaniels said. “We’ve worked on that all year, tonight just happened to be a good night.”
Alder got hands in passing lanes and used their exceptional speed to make getting across the midcourt stripe an accomplishment for Harding in the first half.
That scrappiness is something the coach likes to see and credits a number of her kids who have experience playing another sport.
“I’ve got some scrappy players because they’re use to playing soccer,” McDaniels said. “That crosses over a little. They’re fast and they want the ball.”
Senior Alexis Milesky, an All-Ohio soccer player said the skills used for soccer are easily transferred to basketball, at least when it comes to playing defense.
“I think that helps,” Milesky said. “We not only use our hands on defense, but we know how to use our feet and people have a hard time getting around us. It helps with our quickness too.”
The Pioneers jumped out to an early first quarter advantage and refused to let up the pressure until they were comfortably ahead early in the third quarter.
Alder led 14-6 after one quarter and broke the game oopen late in the first half when it closed the second quarter on a 11-0 run.
Molly Arnott, who scored all of her eight points in the first half, started the game-deciding run with a bucket that put her team up 21-10.
Milesky (six points) had a pair of steals in the final minutes and Arnott scored a couple more times before the halftime arrived.
With eight different players scoring points, Alder may have finally made a breakthrough on the offensive end. If it can continue to use its defense to generate points on the other end there just might be hope for the second half of the season and the district tournament.
“It worked tonight,” McDaniels said of the offense. “We haven’t been as lucky in the past. Maybe we’re making a step forward. We’ve got two or three girls that can score.
“We don’t have an easy schedule, it’s a doozy. Our goal is to continue to come on and be ready for the tournament and make a run. Right now we’re playing a lot of good teams. Hopefully these next couple games can build that confidence back up again.”
The team has had its share of struggles but Milesky said she and her fellow seniors are trying to keep spirits up.
“We just try and have fun as much as we can,” Milesky said. “We try and lift them up and not tear them down. We’ve just got to keep working and not get down on ourselves.”
Melissa Noel led Alder with nine points, Arnott hadded eight, Lacy Purdum chipped in seven and Milesky finished with six.