Washington Catholic girls basketball coach Michael Hopkins had been looking for scoring balance all season, and Friday night his team got a little closer to his goal.
The Cardinals (1-8) defeated Cannelton (2-8) 52-34 behind 22 points from Elizabeth Perkins and 19 from Mary Anne Wichman at the Bird Cage.
Washington Catholic shot out of a cannon on the game's first possessions to take a commanding 12-0 lead after just six offensive possessions. Perkins made three straight shots and then Wichman followed with three straight of her own. Cannelton's Mikah Hemmings (20 points) snapped the run with a jumper at the 3:25 mark. Hemmings connected on a 3-pointer in the final minute of the quarter, but the Cardinals led 12-5 after one quarter.
"Mary Anne (Wichman) has that potential — she's a good shooter," Hopkins said. "She has the ability to be a good scorer and she's looking for her shot and yeah we talk about that a lot. Everybody knows Elizabeth (Perkins) is going to get her shots and will take her shots. If you open up Mary Anne and someone else it does help. Mary Anne has played really well the last couple games, she's looking to shoot and she's got confidence."
Perkins and Wichman continued to pace the offense as the two seniors combined to score all 29 Washington Catholic points in the second half, but the staunch defense helped give the Cardinals an 18-point halftime lead. Hemmings scored four more points in the second quarter to give her nine for the half and Melissa Clausen added a basket to account for Cannelton's 11 points in the half.
"We knew coming in that they had a very good shooting guard (Hemmings) and she was the focus," Hopkins said. "We wanted to dare the other girls to beat us on their own and Hemmings still had most of the points in the first half. We made a little adjustment and plugged up the middle to stop her from driving. I was happy for the most part, because we bought in right away and did a good job of boxing out, which they have been working on for quite a while and really spending a lot of time doing. I'm very happy with the effort."
Coming out of the locker room at halftime, the Cardinals wanted to maintain the 18-point lead they built in the first half, but Wichman was forced to go to the bench with four personal fouls. Junior Sydney Dunbar stepped in as the primary ball handler and was able to stem the tide until Wichman returned in the fourth quarter. Dunbar finished with seven second half points after being held scoreless in the first half. Cannelton won the quarter 14-9, but Washington Catholic led 38-25 entering the final quarter.
"I think Sydney (Dunbar) gets a little nervous until she catches up with the speed of the game, but once she started to relax and unwind she attacked the press and looked for her shot. It's just a matter of time until those girls get their confidence. Kasey Ivy (3 points) did a good job of rebounding and looking for her shot and hit a 3-pointer. Sydney did a good job, but she needs to keep her confidence up and not let one mistake lead to two."