A suffocating full-court pressure defense and Emma Meyer's offensive outburst led the Vandalia Community High School girls basketball team to a convincing 52-40 victory over Gillespie on Thursday night.
The Lady Vandals had visiting Gillespie out of sorts from the start, trapping and pressing the Lady Miners into turnover after turnover.
"We talked about getting back to an intense defense," Vandalia Coach Michelle McNary said. "We really wanted to get after it and force some turnovers. I wanted to see us do that. And the girls did a nice job of that tonight. It was nice that we were able to pull away like that."
On the other end, Meyer carried the load offensively for the Lady Vandals, knocking down jumper after jumper from the perimeter. The sophomore guard finished the night with 26 points.
"Emma shot the ball well and played very good defense, too," McNary said. "She had several steals. When she's on, she's on. She got some nice open looks tonight and hit them. I think hitting those early shots helped her relax. She had a nice game."
The final score was a bit misleading, as the Lady Vandals had a 28-point lead late in the third-quarter before the Lady Miners made a late push against Vandalia's bench players.
"The score ended up a lot closer than it was, but we were able to get everyone into the game," McNary said. "Some of those girls don't get in much, so it was nice that we were able to do that."
Vandalia's girls improved to 4-2 on the season with the victory.
"It's nice to be 4-2," McNary said. "We've got a tough game Saturday at Piasa. We're going to have to come out and play with the same defensive intensity that we had tonight. They're a good team. It will be a tough game."
See the related story for Saturday's results.
Meyer poured in 26 points for the Lady Vandals. She scored 15 points in the first quarter alone.
Seven players got into the scoring column for Vandalia. Junior guard Karlie Bright scored eight points, while Madelyn Hosick, Makayla Tinker, Haley Cannon and Elizabeth Miller all scored four points apiece.
Bright also had six rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore guard Amanda Schmidt scored 18 points to lead the Lady Miners.
The Lady Vandals dominated the first quarter by converting turnovers into easy hoops the other way.
Gillespie turned the ball over 13 times in the first period against Vandalia's full-court pressure.
Vandalia's lead was 16-4 with 3:30 to play in the period after Hosick scored. Meyer knocked down two three-pointers and turned a steal into a layup, as the hosts raced out to a 23-8 advantage
Vandalia's lead quickly reached 20 points early in the second quarter after points from Bright and Tinker.
The Lady Vandals led, 36-10, at one point. By the time the first half came to an end, Vandalia had a commanding 36-16 lead.
After outscoring Gillespie 12-5 during a third period spurt, Vandalia's lead ballooned to 48-20. Meyer scored eight points late in the period.
A hoop by Elizabeth Miller pushed Vandalia's lead to 50-24 early in the fourth-period.
McNary got all of her subs into the game in the fourth quarter. Gillespie finished the game on a 18-2 run to make the final score more respectable.
Vandalia's JV girls also cruised to a lopsided win on Thursday, beating Gillespie, 50-22.
Molly Kern scored 11, and Olivia Marquardt and Anna Miller scored eight points apiece for the Lady Vandals.
Vandalia 52, Gillespie 40
GI 8 8 6 18 — 40
VA 23 13 12 4 — 52
Vandalia: Karlie Bright 3 2-3 8, Kelsey Swain 1 0-0 2, Leah Francis 0 0-0 0, Haley Cannon 1 2-2 4, Elizabeth Miller 2 0-0 4, Emma Meyer 11 2-4 26, Madelyn Hosick 2 0-0 4, Makayla Tinker 2 0-0 4, Anna Miller 0 0-0 0, Ashley Swain 0 0-0 0, Madison Klanke 0 0-0 0, Olivia Marquardt 0 0-0 0, Molly Kern 0 0-0 0, Jalea Paslay 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 (2) 6-11 52. Three-pointers: Meyer 2. Fouls 13. Fouled out: None.
Gillespie: Bette Hammann 1 0-0 2, Amanda Schmidt 8 2-4 18, Paige Niemeyer 2 0-0 4, Bailey Jarman 5 2-2 12, Karli Carr 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 (0) 4-6 40. Three-pointers: None. Fouls 12.
JV girls: Vandalia 50, Gillespie 22
GI 1 7 8 6 — 22
VA 17 10 13 10 — 50
Vandalia: A. Miller 8, Austin 2, Zimmerman 2, Workman 4, Klanke 7, Marquardt 8, Wilkerson 2, Paslay 4, Kern 11, Ruot 2.
Gillespie: Halpin 3, Hall 2, Barber 6, Lienemann 4, Clay 5, Woodring 2.