Randy Roden thought shifting Kelly Walsh into a half-court trap defense was “gimmicking” stops against Star Valley on Friday night instead of actually creating them. Saturday, Roden challenged his team to create those same turnovers in a conventional one-on-one man defense.
That call was was answered in less than 4 minutes at Kelly Walsh High School. The Trojans simply overwhelmed Jackson with defense from the onset — jumping out to a 19-8 lead in the first quarter — and pulled away in the second half for a comfortable 66-47 win.
“Our defense carries us a lot of the time,” Kelly Walsh senior Ross Padilla said. “When we struggle our offense struggles. It’s about execution, too. We just need to get better in practice next week and get moving forward.”
Timely 3-pointers from Matt Ellingson and Coby Larsen kept Jackson (7-10) alive in the second half as the Trojans (13-3) began their charge. Larsen and teammate Nate Fairbanks each had 12 points to lead the Broncs. As the Trojans revamped their defense those shots stopped falling and Kelly Walsh was able to pull away. Senior Davion McAdam led the Trojans with 18 points and junior Michael Bradley added 16.
Padilla, the point guard, has noticed something about the offense when things are going well, just like they were in the second half of Saturday’s contest. The Trojans simply do what the system was designed to do.
“It’s all about execution,” he said. “If we play our best we can stop them. It all comes down to execution.”
That’s what the Trojans will continue to work on in the remaining weeks leading up to regionals.
Despite a slow start and a scrappy opposition, the Trojans were able to get back on the winning track Saturday with a 55-41 victory over Jackson.
A big second quarter lifted the Trojans (12-4) to their first double-digit lead of the game, ultimately taking a 10-point lead into the interval. That lead would occasionally grow thanks to timely corner 3-pointers from junior Danilynn Schell. She finished with a game-high 20 points, including four makes from distance.
By the fourth quarter Jackson (2-15) had figured out the Kelly Walsh press and countered it enough to keep the game within 8-12 points. Over-aggression on defense then got the better of the Broncs. Instead, junior Hailey Hardeman was called for a blocking foul, her fifth, trying to force a turnover with just over 3 minutes left.
Numerous rebounds from junior Corin Carruth and senior Hadley Lloyd forced Jackson into fouling situations down the stretch. Both teams converted from the line in crunch time, meaning that early lead was enough to lift the Trojans to the win.
Both KW squads return home next Friday to host Cody for the final games of the season at Kelly Walsh High School.