In the game predicted by the coaches at the seeding meeting to be the tournament’s biggest mismatch, expectations are different on each bench.
“I wanted (guards) Addesha (Collins) and Destinee (Briskey) to get back in the feel of this floor then get their teammates more involved,” Saks coach Michelle Morgan said.
Briskey had nine points in the first quarter and Collins five. Collins came out with more than three minutes left in the first and the Wildcats up 17-0. Briskey followed her to the bench thirty seconds later. From there, Morgan substituted liberally, sprinkling different combinations of starters and reserves on the floor.
“I tried to keep as many subs as I could on the floor,” Morgan said. “(The reserves) asked me not to put all five subs on the floor (at the same time) because that’s not what we do in practice.”
Freshman Caroline Holt broke the scoring drought for Faith when she grabbed a long rebound and drove for a layup with 1:19 left in the first quarter. Neither team scored the rest of the first.
By halftime, Saks led 36-2. Ten of the 11 Wildcats played and six scored in the second quarter. Collins had seven points in the second quarter and Taylor West four. Substitutions began with more than four minutes remaining before intermission. The reserves had trouble finding the basket initially but Tiffany DeBoer netted a basket with her foot on the 3-point line with 1:25 to play before halftime and Saks led 34-2. A buzzer beater by Justice Whatley set the halftime total.
With 4:25 left in the third, senior Jasmine Moten, a starting guard who seldom even shoots for the Wildcats, scored to give her team a 46-2 advantage. A small smile crept across Moten’s face as her teammates on the bench cheered.
“My girls, they really get along together,” Morgan said. “I don’t have any selfish players. They all want to do it for each other. They don’t care who gets the fame and the glory. They just want to win.”
Faith’s Madelyn Adams banked home a 3-point basket with 10 seconds left in the third but Collins answered a trey at the buzzer and Saks led 54-5 at the end of the quarter.
For first-year Faith coach Scott Shiflett, there were no false hopes.
“We wanted to get 32 minutes of hustle,” Shiflett said. “To get to be a Spring Garden and a Woodland, they have to play 32 minutes and we played 32 minutes. We executed well. We just didn’t hit the shots. You can’t miss 38 shots and win basketball games.”
West had 15 points and 17 rebounds, 10 of those on the offensive end. Collins finished with 17 points, seven steals and six rebounds. Briskey scored 12 points and added seven boards. Whatley had seven boards and four points and Kristen Goodman six boards and three points. The Wildcats dominated the glass with 57 rebounds, 26 offensive, to 22 total boards, five offensive, for the Lions.
Holt ended with four points. Adams and Megan Purdy each had three points for Faith. Tori Veach had seven rebounds for Faith. Purdy and Gracie Huie added six rebounds apiece.