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MA ladies stymie Sumter

Playing with a lineup in which the oldest player on the team was a sophomore, the Marengo Academy Lady Longhorns (7-11) defeated Sumter Academy 45-31 Monday evening.

Both teams struggled offensively for the bulk of the evening, combining for only 14 points in the first quarter of play. But the Lady Longhorns’ stifling defense served them well, sparking an 11-2 second quarter that led to a 19-8 MA halftime lead.

“Our game plan going in — we didn’t think they had too many ball handlers — so we were going to press them the whole knight,” Marengo Academy head coach Danny Stenz said. “Our key is defense. Offense comes and goes, but you can always play good defense. We try and create our offense off our defense. With our lack of height right now, we rely heavily on our defense.”

That defense keyed primarily off the aggressive play of the Lady Longhorns’ young backcourt, a tandem comprised of eighth-grader Chandler Stenz and freshman Katie Tucker. The duo combined for 13 of their team’s 21 total steals in the game.

“They are our ballhawks,” Stenz said. “Before we went to full-court press, I told the other three (Lady Longhorns on the floor) to just back off and let (Stenz and Tucker) double-team the ball. It’s almost like sharks smelling blood in the water when they see a girl coming up the floor with the ball. They know they can get it. They are just so quick.”

The Lady Longhorns have been without senior Anna Edmonds and sophomore Maleah Digmon for the bulk of the season. That pairing was set to be the team’s starting frontcourt, but injuries have limited their contributions. The win saw nine Lady Longhorns play and eight of them score with no athlete contributing more than nine points. Chandler Stenz led the team in scoring with nine points, six steals, four rebounds and four assists. Brooke Smyly added eight points and nine rebounds. Andrea Edmonds scored eight points. Destiny Huckabee scored six points while Anna Michael Crocker contributed six points and five rebounds.