Plagued by early foul trouble that limited her minutes, United Township High School senior basketball player Katie Daggett admittedly was driven to make amends in the second half.|
Three fourth-quarter baskets provided some relief.
Playing with poise and a purpose down the stretch on Thursday night, Daggett's three baskets in a four-possession fourth-quarter stretch gave the Panthers the cushion they needed to snag a 47-38 Western Big 6 Conference win over Alleman at Don Morris Gym. Daggett scored seven of her team high-tying 10 points in the final frame, with two buckets off inbounds plays under the UT basket.
"It was surprising," Daggett said of those two baskets. "In the first half, it didn't happen. Then, it just happened out of nowhere."
Daggett picked the perfect time for some clutch plays.
Alleman (5-5, 0-3 Big 6) cut the Panthers' lead to 37-35 midway through the fourth on Isabelle Anderson's bucket, but Daggett ignited a personal 7-1 run with a three-point play on the ensuing possession.
After forcing an Alleman miss, the Panthers (6-5, 2-1) found Daggett under the basket on an inbounds play to push the lead to 42-35.
Two possessions later, UT had another inbounds play, but the Pioneers put two defenders on Daggett. With the play in motion, Daggett set a screen near the left block, curled around through the lane to the right block. Wide open on the block, Jamie VanWatermeulen, who also scored 10 points, sent a pass to Daggett, who converted another layup.
The basket capped UT's 7-1 run, putting it up 44-36 with 2:03 left.
"When she's on the floor and she's focused, she's a good player," UT coach Justin Shiltz said. "We need her because she's a skilled post player who can finish around the basket. I was getting nervous there because the games we've lost, she's been in foul trouble pretty much the whole game. It was important that she was able to play in the fourth quarter. That was a big part in the game."
Needing to make plays down the stretch, UT did so. On the other end, the Pioneers struggled scoring in the second half.
Alleman had 15 points in the last two quarters, the same amount it scored in the second quarter
"Clearly, we're not coaching very well," said Alleman coach Jay Hatch, who received 12 points from Anderson and 11 from Anne Bohnert. "We're confused and we don't know what we're doing on defense. The coaches aren't preparing the team the way they need to."
The Panthers allowed three fourth-quarter baskets and forced five turnovers.
"Our zone played the angles well," Shiltz said. "We got in the gaps and made them tentative. We had to be disciplined in our half-court defense."
More importantly, the Panthers had to execute on offense to get the road win. A couple inbounds baskets from Daggett epitomized that.
"She made two big plays," Shiltz said. "That was a momentum turn."
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