By Tony Hooker
VGH used eight first-quarter steals to race out to a 16-0 lead, and then cruised to a 64-22 win over Uni High on December 3.
Turning defense into offense was by design, according to coach Corey White. “We’ve been trying to push ourselves with our defense, turning other teams over and getting some easy looks on the offensive end. I think our half court defense is way ahead of where it’s been in the past and we’re just waiting for our press to catch up,” White said. “Once that happens, defensively we’re going to be really solid.”
Jake Eversole had a solid overall game, tallying a game-high sixteen points, but perhaps more importantly, spearheading the Hawks defensive pressure. “We kind of look for him to get us going on the defensive end with some steals and tipped passes,” White stated. Of course, his game lends itself to the offensive end as well. “ Offensively, he gets to the basket and distributes the ball well, finding open guys. He kind of gets us going, he said of the junior, who finished the game with six steals and two assists in addition to his scoring total.
Classmate Blake Smith also had a good all-around game, tallying six points, five steals and four assists. “With Blake, I sometimes have to get on him to take open shots,” Coach White iterated. “He wants to get his teammates involved, which is a good thing, I guess.”
Villa Grove Heritage also got a game-high seven rebounds from junior Logan Nohren, who also pumped in fifteen points. Matt Gulick also chipped in seven points, including the Hawks’ only three-pointer of the contest. VGH, led by Sam Reno’s 4-4 effort, nailed nine of eleven free throws in the win. “That’s a major improvement from our 49% we’ve been shooting on the year,” White laughed when asked about the team’s performance at the charity stripe. “Hopefully we can continue to improve on that. We’ve talked to the guys at practice about taking it more seriously (in practice).”