Western Hills coach Buddy Ritchie knew exactly what his team’s downfall was on Saturday.
“We stood,” he said.
Against the zone of Caverna, Western Hills settled for outside shots and lost 59-47 in the Centria Metals/Staxx BBQ New Year’s Shootout at Franklin County High School.
“We stood around all night long,” Ritchie said. “You’re asking kids to drive to the basket, but we want to take the 3, that’s the easy shot.”
The Lady Wolverines (6-4) made less than 30 percent of their shot attempts against the guard-oriented 2-3 zone of the Lady Colonels (8-6).
“We settled way too much tonight,” Ritchie said.
While WHHS was shooting mostly jumpers,
Caverna was taking the ball to the basket — especially sophomore Madison Faulkner.
Faulkner was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after finishing with a game-high 28 points and 19 rebounds. She missed only four shots and went 11 for 14 from the foul line.
“She’s solid. We had a chaser on her, but she was not going to be denied,” Ritchie said of the guard, who came in averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds. “That’s the thing we’re trying to get some of our kids to do.”
Freshman Kiara Kirk grabbed 13 rebounds for the Lady Colonels. Sophomore LaKenzie Ritchie had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Wolverines. Freshman Kimber Sutton added 10 rebounds.
“We’ve got good kids that play the game hard, but we’re still learning and struggling on some things,” coach Ritchie said.
WHHS led for most of the first quarter, but Caverna held a 20-3 scoring advantage in the second quarter to take a 27-15 lead at halftime.
“They started to hit some shots and they started driving to the basket,” coach Ritchie said. “They got to the free throw line.”
The Lady Wolverines chipped away at the lead in the second half, getting to within four twice in the third quarter and five in the fourth quarter. But the Lady Colonels always pushed the lead back to double digits.
“We busted our butts to get back into the game, and then again, it’s like we go back to the other way,” coach Ritchie said. “We’ve got to find the right nucleus there that’s going to play hard the whole time out on the floor.”
WHHS returns to action when it hosts Danville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in only its second home game of the season.
“It’s kind of like we’ve been the ‘Road Warriors,’” coach Ritchie said. “It will be nice to be home and not on the road as much.”
CAVERNA (59) — Ciara Waggoner 9, Nicole Bradley 4, Kiara Kirk 6, Madison Faulkner 28, Cailee Carter 4, Shanda Bradley 8.
WESTERN HILLS (47) — Jenna Harrod 2, Taylor Vance 4, LaKenzie Ritchie 16, Taylor Slade 6, Shelby McDonald 4, Aja Leachman 6, Samantha Roberts 7, Kayla Hortenbury 2.