Admirals face 'big' challenge at All 'A' Classic

February 02, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

It may be a small school tournament, but the Danville girls are facing a mighty big challenge.

When the Admirals make their debut in the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic in Richmond Wednesday, they'll be facing one of the biggest threats to win the tournament. They'll also be facing a big size disadvantage when they line up for their first-round game against Covington Holy Cross.

The size disparity is a big concern for Danville coach Justin Schommer.

"They're a lot taller than we are," Schommer said. "Their guards are all 5-8, 5-9."

Holy Cross (19-3) also starts a 6-0 center and a 5-10 forward. In contrast, Danville (11-3) doesn't start anyone over 5-9.

The Eastern Kentucky University court is 94 feet long, 10 feet more than high school courts, and Schommer hopes that helps Danville.


"It'll be good for us that we play on a bigger court. It'll give us a little more room to run," Schommer said.

Holy Cross, however, will probably try to run right alongside Danville.

"They like to press," Schommer said. "They like to get up and down the court. They'll be similar to us; they'll just be a little taller. We're going to have to do a good job rebounding."

Holy Cross upset No. 10 Newport Central Catholic in the 9th Region All "A" final nine days ago, winning 59-55 in overtime.

But the Indians did Danville no favors. They're easily one of the top teams in the state field and probably the favorite to emerge from the tournament's lower bracket.

"We know it'll be tough for us to come out with a win," said guard Monica Vonderbrink, one of four seniors who start for Danville. "All I want is a good game. Just so we know we've reached our potential, that's all we can ask."

Danville, whose only winning season came nine years ago, is enjoying what could become the best season in the program's history, and Schommer said the All "A" appearance has made more people recognize that.

"They've been getting lot of compliments, not only in school but around the community," Schommer said. "I think it shows when they work hard and they play together good things happen. All season we've played well together."

Danville are allowing an area-best average of 46.4 points a game

Defense has been one of Danville's driving forces. The Admirals are averaging an area-best 46.4 points allowed per game, and they're forcing 22 turnovers per game and outrebounding opponents by 3.7 per game.

"Defensively, I think we get five girls on the court that work hard together," Schommer said. "That's something we just had to stress over and over last year and a half, and they've finally started to do it."

"Having four or five kids that have played over three years of varsity ball really helps. They do a great job of listening, and I think that's a good example for the younger kids."

Senior guard Krystal Jackson leads the Admirals on both ends of the floor. She averages 14.7 points, 4.1 assists, 3.6 steals 0.9 blocked shots per game.

Vonderbrink is averaging 12.3 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Senior Shatoniah Miller and junior Renee Chiu average 7.5 and 7.1 points, respectively, and eighth-grader Tasha Milby adds 6.7 points per game off the bench.

Schommer said Danville has raised its free throw percentage (.668) by 20 points from this time last season, and its field goal percentage (.380) is also up.

Holy Cross is led by 6-0 center Brittany Bass and 5-8 point guard Amie Noll, two juniors who average about 13 points each. Sophomore guard Rachel Lantry was the regional most valuable player.

"Bass is really athletic. Noll and Lantry are tall and they've got long arms, and Lantry has a really good jump shot," said Schommer, who scouted the Indians twice last week.

This is Holy Cross' fourth trip to the All "A," but it's the first for all of the current players. Its last appearance was in 1999.

Of course, it's a first for Danville, too.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how it is up there," Jackson said.

Danville had no games last week but has only one day between playing Tates Creek tonight and Holy Cross on Wednesday.

"I like playing Tates Creek; it's a tough opponent," Schommer said. "It will be basically what I call a hard practice, and Tuesday will just be a lot of review, going over things we need to work on."

Central Kentucky News Articles