For nearly the entirety of Wednesday night’s nondistrict matchup between Fort Defiance and Monticello, the Indians were the more aggressive team.
That aggression, along with stout defense and well-executed offense, keyed Fort Defiance’s dominant 72-42 victory.
“I thought our defense played really well,” Fort Defiance head coach Patrick Hartley said. “We’re not going to match up against anybody size for size. We’re about 5-6 across the board, so we have to try and find other ways to utilize our quickness and I thought tonight it worked out well.”
Wednesday’s matchup between the two teams was a makeup of a game that was postponed earlier this season due to weather conditions, but it wasn’t the first meeting between the squads. The Indians edged the Mustangs in their first head-to-head matchup, and completed the sweep of the season series on Wednesday night with the win on the road.
In contrast to their first meeting, the game was never in doubt after the Indians took control following a quick start by Monticello. The Mustangs relinquished control of the scoreboard just over two minutes into the contest and were overpowered the remainder of the game.
“I think tonight Fort Defiance out hustled us,” Mustangs coach Juwuhn Smith said. “They wanted it more and it showed. I don’t think they missed many buckets and they just outworked us tonight.”
Trailing 6-3, the Indians went on a 16-0 run that ran into the opening of the second quarter to take a double-digit lead. Four different players scored during the span, led by Jordan Schulz and Lilian Berry.
Both players posted five points during the stretch and connected on shots from beyond the arc. A stingy and physical Fort defense consistently pressured the Mustangs’ offense, which struggled shooting the ball, and eliminated second-chance points, which led to offensive opportunities in transition for the Indians.
Monticello senior Dasha Kinlaw connected on a close-range shot early in the second quarter to end the scoreless drought for her team. Teammate Katelyn Williams added six points in the second to pull her team to within seven points before Fort Defiance extended their lead to double digits again prior to halftime.
Following intermission, the Indians stretched their lead even further by scoring the first 11 points of the second half. MaKayla Kershner scored five consecutive points during the streak and Kiersten Ransome added four.
“We sprinkled everybody in tonight early, not just when we had the lead and our young kids did a good job finding open spots,” Hartley said. “We made some in-game adjustments at halftime with our offense and we scored a good bit off of just those tweaks in the second half.”
Ransome ended the night as the game’s leading scorer with 21 points. Berry added 15 for the Indians, while Kershner finished with 11. Kinlaw and Williams each finished with 10 points to lead Monticello.
The loss is the third straight for the Mustangs, who will attempt to stop the skid when they host Fluvanna County on Friday. Fort Defiance hosts Wilson Memorial on Friday