Concordia Lutheran advanced to the IHSAA Girl's Basketball Class 3A Sectional 22 finals by defeating Bishop Dwenger 60-42 on Friday.
Here are five keys to the Cadets victory:
1. The extra pass
It's said in basketball all the time to make that extra pass. Coaches routinely look for the person to make the pass before the pass that leads to the basket. Well, Concordia doesn't have any of those issues. The Cadets pass the basketball all over the floor offensively and found easy layups and wide open jump shots by making one or two more passes. They ended the game with 14 assists on 21 made baskets, something that can't be done without looking to find the great shot instead of the good one.
Concordia isn't necessarily a small team but Bishop Dwenger did have a height advantage on the Cadets. The Saints started four players 5-foot-10 or taller compared to Concordia only having three people that tall on its entire roster, and two of them are freshmen who rarely see significant minutes. Despite being outsized, the Cadets limited Bishop Dwenger from getting offensive rebounds for second-chance points and managed to get a few second chance points themselves.
3. Shutting down the leader
Defensively, Concordia took Bishop Dwenger's Ally Christman out of the game in the first half. Christman only had one point in the half, and Bishop Dwenger head coach David Scudder admitted after the game his team only goes as far as Christman does. With her being hounded and eliminated offensively, the Saints couldn't muster enough points to keep up with Concordia as they only had 15 in the first half.
4. Eliminating hope
When a team is a heavy favorite, it becomes extremely important to not let the opponent hang around. Concordia came into the game having already beaten Bishop Dwenger by 15 points earlier this year and experience of being successful in the postseason. The Cadets didn't want to let the Saints ever get it in their heads they could move on, and did so almost immediately. Bishop Dwenger got ahead 3-0, but by the end of the first quarter, Concordia had a 15-7 lead and never looked back.
5. Better talent
This is nothing against Bishop Dwenger or its players but Concordia just had a more talented roster on the court. Scudder said his team would have had to play extremely well to upset the Cadets and the Saints just didn't get the breaks needed to pull it off. Concordia took advantage of its talent level and played a smart, efficient game to win despite the Saints' best efforts.