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Lady Vandals can't contain Litchfield

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By Andrew Harner

For the second straight game, a Lady Vandals player scored her 1,000th career point, but the team was unable to secure a victory.

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Senior Haley Wollerman on Monday became the 10th female member of the school’s 1,000-point club, six days after junior Amber Bruno also reached the milestone.

“Hopefully, it will help us settle down and relax, but it’s a great accomplishment,” said coach Michelle McNary. “I knew a couple of years ago that they would have an opportunity to do this if they stayed healthy.”

Wollerman reached the milestone on a layup in the third quarter, but a talented Litchfield team produced a consistent outpouring of points and used aggressive defense on Monday to win, 57-35.

Bruno led Vandalia (10-12, 4-7 South Central Conference) in scoring, with 12 points, and senior Hannah Edwards grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and had four blocks.

Edwards – who was out with illness the last time the two teams met, which resulted in an 83-63 win for Lady Panthers –  helped slow down the Litchfield post players, but Kelsey Going and Shelby Smith still gave the Lady Vandals fits.

“Hannah Edwards was here, which was a huge difference,” McNary said. “Having her in gave us some tips and blocked shots.”

Edwards also allowed Vandalia to run a man-to-man defense, unlike the zone look in the first matchup, which gave Litchfield a lot of looks from 3-point range.

When Edwards was out of Monday's game, sophomore Kaitlyn Kershaw took over at center, and she had a productive game, with four points and three rebounds.

Kershaw, who has seen more playing time the past couple of weeks, has impressed McNary with her improvement.

“She’s stepped up lately,” McNary said. “I told her, ‘You’ve got to be huge for me,’ and from then on, she’s stepped up and gotten better and better off of the bench.”

All of Kershaw’s points came in the final 1:17 of the first quarter, as she hit two free throws and then made a layup to cut Litchfield’s lead to just four, 14-10.

The Purple Panthers, however, scored often in the second period to take a 34-17 lead at halftime.

Their lead would not drop below 15 for the rest of the game, but because the pace wasn’t fast, the Lady Vandals were able to get some time to work on their new offense.

Since sophomore Megan Godoyo, the starting point guard, was lost for the season with an injury four games ago, Vandalia has struggled on offense, but there were some positive possessions in Monday’s game.

With just three more games before the regional tournament, McNary said she needs to find out soon what are the biggest offensive problem areas.

“We’re getting there offensively,” she said. “Tonight, Litchfield was defending close and taking us out of our plays, but hopefully, we’ll see a little bit more (of where we are at) on Thursday at Roxana.”

Monday, Jan. 23
Litchfield 57
Vandalia 35
LHS: 16-18-10-13—57
VHS: 10-7-9-9—35
Points: Bruno, 12; Wollerman, 9; Kershaw, 4; Morgan Whightsil, 4; Morgan Cripe, 2; Edwards, 2; Brandy Protz, 2.
Rebounds: Edwards, 11; Bruno, 3; Cripe, 3; Kershaw, 3; Team, 3; Whightsil, 2; Krissy Connell, 1; Abby Dugan, 1; Kylie Sellers, 1; Wollerman, 1.
Steals: Edwards, 4; Wollerman, 2; Bruno, 1; Whightsil, 1.
Blocks: Edwards, 4.
Record: 10-12 (4-7 SCC)
LHS: Going had 28 points.