Considering Webster County returns just one starter from its district championship team, Friday’s night’s 59-47 win by Henderson County in Dixon was closer than most would have expected.
The much deeper Colonels pulled away at the end of the game, largely behind their overwhelming 38-15 advantage on the boards.
Webster County dictated tempo most of the way and caused Henderson County fits with its 3-2 zone defense.
“They did a great job of getting the tempo they wanted. Give a lot of credit to Webster County for the way they game-planned,” Henderson County coach Tyler Smithhart said.
“We never could get the ball moving in the zone. We could never the ball up the court quick enough because Coach (Jon) Newton did a great job of subbing on every free throw so we never got a chance to break on a make. What our guys did was panic a little bit and they got sped up. As a coaching staff we’ve got to do a better job of getting those guys calmed down.”
Because the early portion of the season has been filled with games and few days for practice, the Colonels haven’t practiced much against zone defenses. “We haven’t spent much time on a zone. As we see more and more of that, that’s going to be something we’re going to have to start to work on,” Smithhart said.
You can bet the Colonels will see more zone defenses but shooters like D.J. Smith and Corey Sanners, who hit four threes in Saturday’s win over Lincoln County, could make teams think twice about a zone defense.
“Henderson’s so deep so we had to come out and establish a tempo. I thought our zone did a good job of taking away looks inside from (Cain) Cooper and (Kaleb) Duckworth,” Newton said.
Besides the rebounding, Henderson County’s depth was a factor late in the game. The Colonels used 10 guys, while the Trojans primarily stayed with seven.
“Our guys were just gassed,” Newton said. “We only went seven deep and Logan Prow was in foul trouble most of the night so it was more of a six-man rotation. We were really gassed. We made some careless turnovers late because of that.”