Defensive Presence: Cards' Stymie Cavaliers

New Bremen’s Katie Howell goes in for a layup during a Midwest Athletic Conference girls basketball game against Coldwater on Thursday.
Staff Writer

A sophomore had yet another tear on offense for the Cardinals.

But it was their effort on the defensive end of the court that shined the most on Thursday.

The New Bremen High School girls basketball team scored 25 straight points and held the Coldwater Cavaliers without a point for more than 14 minutes for a 51-39 victory Thursday at The Nest in the Midwest Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

“Well I think (Kate Leicthy) being in foul trouble kind of limited her a little bit and they had to take her out,” said NBHS coach Chris Burden, whose team is now 4-0 (1-0 MAC) on the season. “When that happened we were able to close out on the shooters and rebound the basketball.

“We were able to kind of sag in and not let (Lauren) Gilliland get into the paint. Credit to our girls to sticking to the game plan and adjusting in the second quarter there.

Gilliland, who led Coldwater with 17 points and grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds, scored the first basket of the game on a 3-pointer from the right wing.

But then things started to go awry for the Cavs as they did not hit a field goal for the rest of the half.

Kaylee Freund, a sophomore who entered the night averaging 16 points per game, scored consecutive baskets for New Bremen, one on a putback and another on a steal and a fast break.

Gilliland split a pair of free throws to tie the game at four apiece before another Freund basket. (Freund scoring was again a common theme throughout the night.)

Gilliland split a pair of free throws once more to make it 6-5 Coldwater with 3:17 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cavaliers didn’t score again for another 14:10, including the entirety of the second quarter and nearly three minutes into the third.

By that time New Bremen was ahead 31-5 and Coldwater had missed 23 consecutive shots — its final nine of the first quarter, all 12 in the second and the first three of the third.

Foul trouble kept Freund off the court for most of Tuesday’s win against Anna, and she made up for lost time in the second half that night.

Thursday, she poured in another 16 points during the first half on her way to a game- and career-high 23. So in the last four quarters she’s lit up the scorebook for 32 points.

She also had 10 rebounds — second only for the Cardinals to Madison Cordonnier’s dozen — four steals and a blocked shot.

“She just brings that energy,” Burden said. “She is a go-getter. She just gets it done. You get her out on the open floor like that and she’s kind of tough to stop. Put her inside to post up she’s kind of a mismatch inside. She gets the offensive rebound putbacks. She does a little bit of everything for us.”

Gilliland’s 3-pointer from the top of the key in the third quarter ended the scoreless streak for Coldwater, and from there the offense found its groove that was missing up until then. From that point on, the Cavaliers outscored the Cardinals 34-20, including a 17-4 run over the final six minutes of the game, but the damage had already been inflicted.

Cordonnier chipped in 10 points for the Cardinals for her first double-double of the season. Leichty, who only attempted two shots in the first half, was second for the Cavaliers with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. 

To read the full story, see Friday's print edition of The Evening Leader.