Woodlawn’s girls basketball team started filtering into the gym during the second quarter of the opening game of the Sandoval Tournament Monday.
What the Lady Cardinals witnessed over the next three quarters of could not have left them feeling particularly elated about their upcoming semifinal matchup with a red-hot Vandalia team.
After hitting 10 of 16 from the field and racing out to a 23-12 first-quarter lead, Vandalia’s defense took over against an overwhelmed host team, as the Lady Vandals allowed just six points over the final three quarters, rolling to a dominating 59-18 win.
The victory not only extended Vandalia’s win streak to six games and improved its overall record to 15-3 – it served notice to the rest of the field that playing the Lady Vandals will be no picnic.
‘I think when you play good defense like that, that gets a teams’ attention,’ Butler said. ‘They realize they’re going to have something to deal with. That’s what we want.’
Despite entering the game as a clear favorite, the Lady Vandals brought the same defensive intensity you’d expect them to display against a Pana or Hillsboro.
Sandoval finished with 34 turnovers – most of which were of the forced variety, as Vandalia finished with 15 steals.
And after posting 12 first-quarter points on 4 of 11 shooting, the Lady Blackhawks made just 1 of 20 from the field the rest of the way.
‘If you can do that, you’ll do pretty good,’ said Butler of his team’s defensive dominance from the second quarter on. ‘But it won’t happen very often.’
As good as the Lady Vandals’ defense was, their offense was the story early on.
Vandalia put together its highest-scoring opening quarter of the season, putting the ball through the hoop at will both in transition and in its half-court sets.
‘That was good to see,’ Butler said. ‘Sometimes we start off a little slow offensively.’
Laura Hobbie led the way in the first eight minutes, posting 12 of her game-high 16 points, in addition to setting up a trio of transition buckets with three steals.
But Hobbie had plenty of company in the scoring column, as Shelby Cearlock (four points) and Amanda Walton (five points) kicked off big nights by contributing to the Lady Vandals’ 23-point outburst.
If not for five first-quarter turnovers, the Lady Vandals might have put 30-plus points on the board.
‘The only thing is that I didn’t think we boxed out very well in that first quarter,’ Butler said. ‘But it was a good performance and a good way to get this tournament going.’
Cearlock went on to score 12 points, to go along with six steals and four assists. Walton added 14 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Nine Lady Vandals wound up registering in the scoring column, as Vandalia shot 48 percent from the field (26 of 54).
Vandalia will continue its quest to claim its eighth Sandoval Tournament title when it faces Woodlawn Wednesday at 7:30 in the semifinal round.
Vandalia 23 13 17 6 – 59
Sandoval 12 2 4 0 – 18
Vandalia scoring – Cearlock 4-7 2-4 12, Warner 1-6 1-2 3, Hobbie 8-12 0-0 16, Walton 6-10 1-1 14, Banal 2-5 0-0 4, Durbin 1-3 0-0 2, Shields 2-2 0-0 2, Houston 1-2 0-0 2, Stunkel 0-2 0-0 0, Dodson 1-2 0-0 2, Hagy 0-1 0-0 0, Bennett 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-54 4-9 59.
Vandalia 51, Greenville 27
The Lady Vandals’ offense is a lot like a diesel engine – it sometimes takes a while to start up, but it is tough to stop once it gets going.
Fortunately, Vandalia’s defense is always firing on all cylinders.
The combination led to another lopsided VCHS victory in an SCC-East game against Greenville Saturday.
The Comets led 15-14 midway through the second quarter, despite turning the ball over nine times in the first period. But Vandalia’s offensive engine finally fired up just before halftime, as the Lady Vandals started a 22-0 run that turned a close game into a blowout.
Vandalia hit its final six field goal attempts of the first half, carrying a 28-15 lead into halftime.
The Lady Vandals kept the momentum going early in the third quarter, scoring eight unanswered points before Greenville finally broke an 8 1/2-minute scoring drought.
‘We started a little slow on offense,’ Butler said. ‘We forced them into a lot of turnovers and didn’t take advantage of it. But once we got going, we made a good run at the end of the second quarter and kept it going into the third quarter.’
Julianna Banal started Vandalia’s decisive run with a jumper, part of a strong overall performance in which the senior scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds and came away with three steals.
Hobbie pumped in a game-high 19 points, to go along with six rebounds and two steals, as the junior forward had her mid-range jumper going all game long.
‘She’s struggled with that shot a bit lately, so it was good to see her get that going today,’ Butler said.
But the story of the game was once again the Lady Vandals’ defense. Greenville finished with 25 turnovers, as Vandalia (4-1 SCC-East) held an opponent under 30 points for the fifth time this season.
‘Our defense was pretty strong today, and when we’ve got that going, we can hang with people until we get the offense going,’ Butler said.
The Vandalia JV team was also victorious, topping the Comets, 34-28. Kayla Houston led the way with 16 points, while Tori Hagy had 10.
Greenville 7 8 6 6 – 27
Vandalia 10 18 12 11 – 51
Vandalia scoring – Warner 3-11 0-0 7, Cearlock 2-3 3-4 7, Hobbie 9-15 1-4 19, Walton 2-8 0-0 4, Banal 5-11 2-3 12, Durbin 1-1 0-0 2, Shields 0-2 0-0 0, Houston 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 6-12 51.
Last Thursday’s Game
Vandalia 51, Staunton 31
The Lady Vandals moved to 3-1 in SCC-East play with an easy road victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
Cearlock led the way with a game-high 17 points, nine of which came in the first quarter. The junior guard hit four 3-pointers. Banal added 10, while Cassie Warner chipped in nine and Amanda Walton had eight.
The JV Lady Vandals fell in a defensive struggle, 22-17. Kris Stunkel led the way with six points.
Vandalia 10 6 17 12 – 51
Staunton 3 8 2 18 – 31
Vandalia scoring – Walton 3 2-4 8, Hobbie 2 1-2 5, Cearlock 6 1-3 17, Banal 3 4-4 10, Warner 4 1-2 9, Hickerson 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 9-15 51.