FORT WAYNE – The first salvo came 15 seconds in, and it arrived from another ZIP code. Then there was another, and another, and another, a little jump-start for a South Side girls basketball team that arrived at Bishop Luers before the hop in its step did.
Defense is where it begins for the unbeaten Archers (5-0, 1-0 SAC), whose wall-to-wall, hair-on-fire playing style slows only for halftime, and then reluctantly. But Friday it began at the offensive end, out beyond the three-point line, where Lakyn Gulley dropped two threes and DeJoyah Johnson two more in the first 2 1/2 minutes to get South going on a 75-54 rout of the Knights.
Yeah, that was a great way to get things going, South coach Juanita Goodwell concluded.
After which it was the Archers’ endline-to-endline ball pressure that really got it going.
South shook down Luers (3-4, 0-1) for 25 turnovers, and its lightning transition from defense to offense eventually ran the Knights out of their own gym. It was a 22-21 game early in the second quarter before the Archers cranked up the D, reeled off 16 straight points and left Luers in its wake.
Yeah, defense is very important to us, said forward Brittni Clopton, who scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second quarter. It’s kind of how we get our whole game fired up and everything.
Goodwell seconded that.
That’s really what it is, she said. Once that defense just picks up, it kind of turns everything on. So if we can stay out of foul trouble – that’s really key for us – and if we can keep the strong legs, we’re going to play a lot of girls and that’s because we need those legs out there.
If we can get them tired, that’s what we’re going to do, Clopton added.
Luers didn’t look tired so much as merely swept away in the pivotal second quarter. The Knights went more than six minutes without a field goal in the second quarter, as Emma Miles’ free throw was its only point between the 6:51 mark and Allison Butler’s three with 38 seconds to play in the half.
Luers got back within 42-31 with 6:40 to play in the third, but the Archers jetted off again, outscoring the Knights 19-6 the rest of the quarter to take a cavernous 61-37 lead after three.
The lead would eventually reach 32 points, 73-41, with five minutes to play.
Besides Clopton, Johnson (16), Ariana Simmons (15) and Chelsea Rogers (11) hit double figures for South.
Butler’s 12 points led four double-figure scorers for Luers, which started one freshman (Tashayla Sutorius) and brought another (Emma Wolfe) off the bench.
Luers really is a good team, and we know coming in here it’s always a tough atmosphere and environment to play in, Goodwell said. We started off really slow. Things just had to come together.