Lady Eagles find winning tough habit to break

<I>Hector del Castillo/Chieftain</I><BR>Senior Christina Marks (left) plays her first minutes of the season and consults with junior Mariah Warnock.

Jo-Hi girls claim Winter Classic's championship, improve record to 4-0The Lady Eagles always solve puzzles.

So far this basketball season, Joseph High School girls are shooting poorly and giving the ball away too often. Through four games, the Eagles have converted just 78 of 234 (.333) shots and averaged 25 turnovers. Coach Lance Homan admits that is "not a good recipe to win.

"Again, we struggled to make baskets," Homan said, Dec. 12, following their most recent game. "We are doing some good things offensively and taking good shots. They just aren't falling."

But the Eagles have won each night. Their latest victory was a 43-23 decision over the Ione High Cardinals at the Winter Classic in Enterprise. The Eagles returned home with the tournament's first-place trophy.

Sophomore Jesse Kohlhepp managed to score 10 points for Joseph, while junior Anna Bird had 9. Seniors Nicke Parks and Shelby Harshman chipped in 8 points apiece. Everybody continued to struggle in making baskets. They shot just 30 percent. Those numbers would doom most other teams.

However, Joseph's fundamentally sound girls find alternatives. They play excellent defense and rebound missed shots for second chances. The Eagles overcame a bad start against the Cardinals, who led 9-4 in the first quarter. But the Eagles denied them any field goals in the second quarter and limited them to a couple of foul shots. Meanwhile, Harshman netted three baskets as her team went to halftime ahead 20-11.

The rest of the game, the Cardinals scattered a handful of baskets but barely challenged the Eagles. Bird and senior Paige Bailey both stole the ball five times. Parks blocked four shots. Parks also finished with 9 rebounds, while senior Mariah Warnock had 8.

Once the Eagles break out of their shooting slump, who knows how far they can go? "We are still working on our chemistry," Homan said. "Things are going to get better, and shots will start falling."

This weekend (Dec. 19 and 20), Joseph will host its own tournament.

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