Many teams have tried to stop Canterbury senior Kindell Fincher this season, but no one has had much success.
For Concordia Lutheran girls basketball coach David Miller, it isn't about stopping the senior Xavier signee but slowing her down when the two state-ranked teams collide Saturday night.
“We are typically a (man-to-man defense) team, so we will match up as well as we can,” Miller said. “We will try and limit her touches a bit.
“Obviously, you cannot totally stop her, but if you can limit her a little bit that's to your benefit.”
Fincher has rarely been slowed so far this season as she enters the weekend averaging close to 29 points per game. She has dropped 40-plus points twice, 41 against Wayne in November and 46 on Triton Central earlier this month.
The 5-foot-10 wing has upped her scoring average almost 10 points per game while still averaging a double double, with 10.2 rebounds a game to go with 3.1 assists and 3.2 steals.
“She is really, really difficult to guard,” Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger said.
Fincher has made herself even more dangerous by working on her midrange and perimeter shooting. Putting in extra work over the last several months has increased her effectiveness from the outside, forcing defenses to respect her both inside the paint and out around three-point range.
“She has worked really hard in getting that part of her offensive arsenal together,” Kreiger said.
Miller knows his Class 3A No. 13 Cadets (11-3) will have their hands full with Fincher.
“She has got nice size …and her speed in the open court is really difficult (to slow down),” Miller said. “The whole team pushes the ball and you have … to stop her from transitioning.”
Class 2A No. 2 Canterbury (12-2) is the highest-scoring team in its class at 79 points per game. It is a team that wants to run, run and run some more.
Fortunately, Concordia has played a team with that similar style, South Side, twice over the last two weeks.
“I really thought with the snow problems and not playing another game in between (the South Side games) it would hurt us,” Miller said.
Instead, the Cadets beat the Archers in double overtime Friday and continue to prepare for the challenge of Fincher and the Cavaliers.
Kreiger also expects a tough game this weekend.
“Dave Miller does a great job putting squads together every year,” Kreiger said. “It is a good, athletic club that plays strong defense. We play different styles where we are up-tempo and they play more conservative, so it will be a game that probably will be a little like chess match.”
Unfortunately, the Cadets will have some emotions to deal with as well this weekend. Assistant coach Cathy Pusey's husband, Mark, died after drowning in a private pond where he was ice fishing. The team will attend the funeral Saturday before the game.
“It has been quite a shock for all of us,” Miller said. “All our kids will be (at the funeral).”