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Titans dynamite on D: Dickinson Trinity holds Wilton-Wing to 23 points in strong defensive effort

Midway through the third quarter with her team enjoying a comfortable lead, Dickinson Trinity sophomore guard Kara Wanner picked the pocket of Wilton-Wing senior forward Erin Thompson.

Dickinson Trinity sophomore guard Kara Wanner steals the ball from Wilton-Wing sophomore Jordan Tooke on Monday, Dec. 3 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity sophomore guard Kara Wanner steals the ball from Wilton-Wing sophomore Jordan Tooke on Monday, Dec. 3 from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Midway through the third quarter with her team enjoying a comfortable lead, Dickinson Trinity sophomore guard Kara Wanner picked the pocket of Wilton-Wing senior forward Erin Thompson.

Dribbling from one end of the floor to the other, Wanner calmly banked in a breakaway lay-up, giving the Titans a 26-15 advantage before Miners head coach Lisa Jenkins signaled for timeout.

The ensuing inbounds pass went to Wilton-Wing sophomore guard Jordan Tooke, who was immediately trapped under the Titans' basket. Looking to get rid of the ball, Tooke's advancement was tipped by the long arms of sophomore forward Amaya Willer, who off the deflection, shoveled it over to Wanner for another wide-up layup. Fourteen seconds after calling one timeout, Jenkins needed another.

Takeaways were the name of the game for Dickinson Trinity, defending its way to a 42-23 victory on Monday, Dec. 10, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Off the strength of 21 steals, the Titans held their opponent to 12 total points in the final three quarters.

"We're satisfied with the victory," Titans head coach Carter Fong said. "We're excited for a couple of reasons: First of all, we've got a stretch of our schedule at home leading into Christmas break; we know we have the opportunity to build some momentum here. The other thing is that this opponent has beaten us two consecutive years. ... After a slow start, I'm glad to see that we found a spark there and it started with the defensive end."

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The Titans didn't provide much resistance after the opening tip as Wilton-Wing scored the game's first seven points. However, the home team adjusted, and began causing some havoc.

Senior forward Alexa Walby jumped into the passing lane and took it the distance for an easy two. Moments later, Wanner collected her first of a game-high five steals, leading to a lay-up by sophomore forward Abbey Kubas, tying the game at nine.

Two minutes into the second frame, senior guard Bre Tessier gave Trinity its first lead as part of a 10-0 run. Driving by her defender on the baseline with a right-handed dribble, Tessier, with the same hand, kissed the ball high and softly off the glass, pushing the Titans in front 15-13.

Following another Walby steal and Kubas bucket, the Titans increased their cushion to 19-13 before forcing a Miners timeout.

Wilton-Wing, a young team with only two seniors, generated much of their early offense through contrast curl cuts into the paint. But instead of having a defender trail the offensive player during the cut, the Titans began switching and letting one of their taller players - either Kubas or Willer - linger near the paint.

"They switched and made some adjustments. ... They bumped us and kept the big in the middle," Jenkins said. "Right now, we don't know how to get to the seams and attack the basket. We didn't get to the foul line, and they did. We just tried to do some different things offensively just to show some different looks, but hats off to them."

The change not only led to more contested shots inside as the tall duo combined for three blocks, but with protection behind them, Dickinson Trinity's perimeter players started taking more chances by being physical, reaching at the ball-handlers and swiping at the ball.

The road team scored its 10th and 11th points with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter; it needed nearly 24 minutes to produce six more.

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"I think that we did better job of playing as a team today. We all came together and worked really hard on defense," Walby said. "I think everything kind of started with our intensity on the defensive end, and then our shots started to fall on offense. ... We haven't had very many games this season, but I definitely think this was a good one for us. We all kind of worked on the same page on defense and that was huge."

Kubas led all players with 17 points and nine rebounds. Wanner chipped in 11 points while Thompson paced Wilton-Wing with 10.

Walby finished with four steals, three points, two rebounds and an assist, but it was her effort on one particular third-quarter possession that stood out most.

With Trinity applying full-court pressure, the Miners advanced the ball past half-court and had a developing 3-on-2 break. Walby, who was back on defense, quickly closed out on the dribbler, detering the ball-handler from throwing a pass for an easy basket and allowing her Titan teammates to get back in play. Seconds later, during the same possession, she drew an offensive foul.

"Alexa is a fantastic floor leader," Fong said. "She's a teammate who is willing to do anything, guard anyone and fill any spot on the floor. Her effort is contagious, she knows the game well, and with her knowledge of the game, she tends to be one step ahead. She made the hustle play there, we appreciate her leadership and we hope to see more of that."

Dickinson Trinity 42, Wilton-Wing 23

WW 11 4 2 6 - 23

DT 11 12 5 14 - 42

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WW: Erin Thompson 10, Tatelyn Schurhamer 4, Hailey Quinn 4, Jordan Tooke 4, Kiara Johnson 1.

DT: Abbey Kubas 17, Kara Wanner 11, Bre Tessier 5, Amaya Willer 4, Alexa Walby 3, Masy Kuntz 2.

3-pointers: WW 0, DT 1 (Wanner 1). Free throws: WW 3-6, DT 7-16. Total fouls: WW 13, DT 12. Fouled out: 1 (WW, Johnson). Rebounds: WW 30 (Thompson 7), DT 37 (A. Kubas 9). Assists: WW 4 (Johnson 2), DT 2 (Willer 1, Walby 1). Steals: WW 12 (Schurhamer 2, Tooke 2), DT 21 (Wanner 5). Blocks: WW 0, DT 3 (Willer 2). Turnovers: WW 21, DT 12. Records: WW 3-3, DT 3-2.

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