Commerce Township — Walled Lake Western point guard Kailee Ford had some suggestions for her head coach Steve Emert on how they wanted to slow down Walled Lake Central point guard Rizaria Franklin Monday night in a Division 1 district first-round game.
Ford and Emert had texted each other for nearly an hour Sunday discussing different types of options.
Western used the 3-2 zone while also causing problems trapping to lead to a 48-31 victory to move on to Wednesday’s district semifinal against Milford.
Ford, who averages 16 points, was limited to two in the first half with Western — 20-1 and ranked No. 14 in The News Super 20 — clinging to a 17-14 halftime lead.
Western knew what Central (14-7) was capable of, winning two of the three games between the crosstown rivals during the regular season, including a 55-52 win in the Lakes Valley tournament championship game last Thursday.
Well, Ford made sure she answered the bell during the second half after getting an earful from Emert and went out and scored 18 of her 20 points, getting out and running in transition at every opportunity.
And, it helped that Western started making the perimeter shot in the second half, making 4-of-8 3-pointers after missing all six of its long-range shots in the first half.
“We just went in and talked about how we just came out slow and we needed to push it and run it like our normal game,” said Ford, who admitted Western had trouble with Central’s zone in the first half. “He (Emert) basically yelled at me and told me I needed to push it and we changed our offense to something, which is actually like our type of offense. Their zone was giving us trouble. We’re not used to slowing it down. We’re used to penetrating and kicking it out.”
After Central pulled within 26-20 with two minutes left in the third, Ford sparked Western on a 22-11 run during the final 10 minutes, scoring 12 points, including a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left.
Jenna Galecki added 11 points for Western, scoring nine in the first quarter to set the tempo and give her team a 13-6 lead.
So, what was Western’s game plan defensively?
“I just wanted the girls to play as hard as they possibly could, and it’s really interesting because we talked about some defenses that we wanted to run,” Emert said. “I talked to one player last night, texted back and forth for 45 minutes and she gave me her thoughts, and that was Kailee Ford, and she had some great suggestions so we put them together last night and we implemented tonight so that says a lot about these kids, that you can change on the fly.
“Our goal was to make sure that Riz Franklin didn’t over-penetrate on us all night and we had to take the shooter out of the mix, number 12 (Angelina Haisha) so we went with a little bit of a 3-2 zone, squeezing the middle, trying to keep her out of the middle.”
Western’s strategy worked. And, Emert’s granddaughter, Central center Olivia Emert didn’t leave happy, the way she did on Feb. 6 following Central’s 33-32 win over Western.
“I want her to do well, but not too well,” said Emert of his granddaughter.
Central shot 33 percent from the field and missed its first 11 3-point attempts until Maria Teodoro made a 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining. No Central player scored in double figures.
More girls basketball
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Riverview 50, Allen Park 31: Samantha Dorn scored 24 for Riverview (12-7). Izzy Gonn scored nine for Allen Park (15-6).
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