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Coal City coach Brad Schmitt keeps on preaching the same message to his team.
Your jump shot and offense may fail you, but defensive effort should always be there.
Hosting Herscher Wednesday in an Interstate Eight matchup, Coal City’s offense struggled, but the Lady Coalers ratcheted up the defense in a 39-16 win.
“That’s what we have to rely on,” Schmitt said. “Monday against Serena we were hot offensively, and we come back today, and it’s not there. It’s our motto, and we keep stressing that the defense is always there.”
Coal City (10-2, 4-1) forced 26 turnovers and finished with 16 steals overall. Emily Halliday finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four steals to lead the way with Brittany Jezik (five steals) and Donjeta Shabani (eight points, eight rebounds, three blocks) contributing.
All the Lady Coaler starters had at least four rebounds and two steals in the conference win.
“We know that if we’re not having a good offensive night we can still keep [an opponent] down,” Halliday said. “We had to play patient on offense and tight on defense.”
Halliday scored 10 of her 17 in the first half, including her team’s first eight points, as Coal City went up 18-10 at halftime.
The ball finally started dropping to open the third with a quick 10-0 run. Halliday rebounded a missed free throw for a bucket and scored again seconds later to open the run. She found Shabani for an open look with Nicole Borgetti capping the burst with a corner 3-pointer.
“We got a little more confidence, and we were able to shoot the ball better in the second half,” Halliday said. “Our confidence was up even more on defense.”
Herscher (5-9, 1-4) was led by Dana Hodgin’s seven points. The Tigers shot just 5-of-31 from the field.
“The girls got in the passing gaps, and we played well in the post,” Schmitt said. “We slowed things down, and Herscher had to work for every bucket they got.”