STREATOR — The 3-point shot has been a critical weapon for the La Salle-Peru girls basketball team this season.
That was the case again Friday.
The Lady Cavaliers knocked down eight 3-pointers as they cruised to a 65-42 victory over Streator in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game.
“They were wide open and Britt (Zawacki) and Mia (Porter) can hit them,” L-P coach Hollis Vickery said. “We ran a couple plays very well and they didn’t defend them, so I told Britt and Mia and a few others to shoot when they are open. So far this season the 3-pointer has been our go-to bucket. We’ve done well on the perimeter. In fact, I think we’re shooting better from the perimeter than we are underneath.”
Zawacki and Porter each knocked down a trio of 3-point shots.
“Our plays were working well tonight,” said Zawacki, who scored a game-high 21 points. “We were really executing all of them, and when we execute, we have a lot of open shots. When you’re passing in rhythm and your plays are working, shots are easier to make.”
The long-range shots helped the Lady Cavs (3-6, 1-1 NIB 12 West) pull away from the Lady Bulldogs.
Zawacki and Porter hit back-to-back 3-point shots to start a 10-0 run to open the second quarter, and they each knocked one down from beyond the arc as part of a 10-0 run to start the second half.
“At halftime we talked about our bad second half starts. We’ve had them all season long and I’m not sure why because we’re a pretty well-conditioned team right now,” said Vickery, whose team led 29-13 at halftime and extended its lead to 49-29 after three quarters. “We should be having our legs. I said, ‘We have to come out with a lot of energy at the start of the half and that’s what we need to focus on and nothing else. The energy will take care of the defense and it will take care of the offense.’ We came out with great energy and were ready to play.”
The Lady Cavs showed their energy on defense with aggressive pressure that pestered Streator into 27 turnovers.
“We made them hurry their passes,” Vickery said. “We trapped well. They hurt us a little bit in the post because we didn’t front them a few times and they hurt us on some rebounds. Basically, we tried to keep the ball in front of us all the time and anytime they got into the corner or just past the mid-court line, we put on some good traps and anticipated the weakside pass very well.”
With L-P’s lead as big as 27 points, 15 players got on the court for the Lady Cavs and 11 scored. Porter joined Zawacki in double figures with 13 points, while freshman Quincie Weber scored her first varsity points and finished with four.
“I think everybody played really well tonight,” Zawacki said. “It was nice to get everybody in. Everybody who came in really played their best game, too. Everybody did a good job passing the ball and shots were falling.”
Note: The L-P sophomore team won 43-20.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.