By Garth Shanklin
The Clermont Northeastern Lady Rockets entered their home game against the Felicity Cardinals on Thursday, Nov. 30 looking to rebound from a loss to the Western Brown Lady Broncos in their prior game. In that matchup, CNE’s’ defense allowed 65 points in a 65-31 loss.
The team’s defense returned to form against Felicity, limiting the Lady Cardinals to 22 points en route to a 50-22 win for CNE’s second victory of the season.
The game was tied at four with 5:45 left in the first period, when the Lady Rockets exploded for 23 consecutive points. Felicity didn’t score a basket for the final 5:45 of the first quarter or the first 6:15 of the second, a 12-minute drought.
By that point, the game was already out of hand, as turnovers and forced shots continued to plague the Lady Cardinals for the rest of the game.
Olivia Bricker led CNE with 11 points, seven of which came in the second quarter. Makayla Drewry added 10, with Kassi Billow chipping in nine. Kiley Cooper led the Lady Rockets with 10 rebounds. Drewry and Jillian Kirby each snagged eight boards.
Kylie Sponcil led Felicity-Franklin with seven points. Hannah Sandker scored five.
Lady Rockets’ head coach Bill Goldfuss said the team’s defense is a crucial part of his gameplan this season and the way the team plays without the ball will detriment their future fate.
“We’ve been preaching defense since day one,” Goldfuss said. “We said we were going to win with defense, hustle and effort and we finally played four quarters tonight where we got after it on both ends of the floor.”
Goldfuss added he was also happy with the team’s effort during the entire contest, the best effort since the final quarter of the team’s season-opening win over CHCA.
“I’m proud of the effort,” Goldfuss said. “We’ve been talking about it for a while. The first game, we played well for the most part. We really played well in the fourth quarter. Tonight we came out focused and ready to play.”
The Lady Rockets forced plenty of turnovers in the game, and those turnovers helped set up the offense with quick transition baskets, which is what Goldfuss said will have to happen from now on.
“If we can get turnovers and push the ball up the floor we have a chance to score,” Goldfuss said. “If we have to settle for half court we might struggle a bit. We want to get out and run, push the ball, use some of our quickness and press. That’s how we have to play, speed the other team up a little bit.”