Girls Basketball

Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls use effective press to top Xavier

Cougars improve to 5-4 with 60-46 victory

CEDAR RAPIDS — When you’re playing against a good point guard, you’re hesitant to put on a press defense. It’s that whole getting-burned-for-layups thing.

But in the second quarter Tuesday night, Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ basketball coach Tony Vis kind of figured his team had to give it a try anyway. It worked.

The Cougars turned a one-point deficit into a 13-point halftime lead and went on to knock off Cedar Rapids Xavier, 60-46, at Xavier’s Ron Thillen Gymnasium. The tide turned with the press, when fine Xavier sophomore lead guard Caitlynn Daniels was out of the game and even when she was in.

“We really wanted to speed them up,” said Kennedy guard Hailey Dolphin, who led her club with 18 points. “We knew Caitlynn Daniels was a really good point guard, but when she went out of the game there, we took advantage of it. Our bench gave us a lot of energy to keep that going through the first half.”

Kennedy (5-4) forced 16 Xavier turnovers in the first half, turning defense into offense.

“There are certain teams maybe we (press) more than against others,” Vis said. “I respect Caitlynn Daniels a lot, so I didn’t know if we could start out in it because I didn’t want them to get layups and get confidence. But they were getting good shots anyway, so I figured we had nothing to lose. So we came with it.”

Daniels had a game-high 21 points for Xavier (6-4). The Saints fixed their ball-handling problems in the second half, committing just three turnovers.

It was a case of too little and too late. Auddie Alepra and Madison Friauf added 11 points apiece for Kennedy, which has won four of five games.

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“I think we’ve been playing with a lot more energy than last year,” Dolphin said. “And I think that’s made a big difference for us.”

AT C.R. XAVIER

C.R. KENNEDY (60): Madison Friauf 4-8 2-3 11, Olivia Hellweg 1-7 1-2 3, Ashley Vis 2-5 0-0 6, Hailey Dolphin 7-13 4-5 18, Auddie Alepra 4-6 2-2 11, Laila Sain 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Sadie Powell 1-1 0-0 2, Lauryn Vaske 3-4 1-3 9, Sophia Barrett 0-0 0-0 0, Camryn Ray 0-0 0-2 0, Tessa Steffen 0-0 0-0 0, Kendal Runels 0-0 0-0 0, Maya Fitzpatrick 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 10-17 60.

C.R. XAVIER (46): Libby Arnold 3-9 0-1 6, Maria Steffen 1-3 0-1 2, Amelia Ivester 0-0 2-2 2, Caitlynn Daniels 8-14 2-2 21, Emily Jasper 2-8 4-7 8, Paige Diebold 0-1 0-0 0, Julia Shoger 2-6 1-2 5, Jenae Marshall 1-1 0-1 2, Avery Campbell 0-2 0-0 0, Caitlin Kramer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-44 9-16 46.

Halftime — Kennedy 28, Xavier 15. 3-point goals — Kennedy 7-16 (Friauf 1-4, Hellweg 0-1, Vis 2-3, Dolphin 0-1, Alepra 1-3, Powell 1-1, Vaske 2-3), Xavier 3-10 (Arnold 0-1, Daniels 3-6, Diebold 0-1, Campbell 0-2). Rebounds — Kennedy 28 (Alepra 8), Xavier 39 (Steffen 10). Total fouls — Kennedy 16, Xavier 12. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Kennedy 8, Xavier 19.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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