Benton Academy’s Lady Raiders evened their overall record to 2-2 on the season on Tuesday night with a dominating 60-30 win over Humphreys Academy.
The Lady Raiders jumped out to 12-6 start in the first.
They added to their lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Rebels 16-6 to go up 28-12.
In the third quarter of play, Humphreys upped their level of played and matched the intensity, and each team scored 13 to bring the score to 41-25.
Benton outscored Humphreys 19-5 in the final quarter to take the game 60-30.
Despite scoring 60 points in the win, it wasn’t the most efficient game for the Lady Raiders.
The Lady Raiders went 23-for-58 from the field.
According to Benton Academy head basketball coach Casey Arbuckle, that isn’t new for her squad this season.
“That’s kind of been our M.O. lately,” Arbuckle said. “We’re getting a lot of shots off, but we’re missing them. Our 3-point game should be better than it is. I don’t know that it was our best defensive game. We played better the night before. Part of that was the back-to-back nature of it. It was a pretty strong game, though. We were a little more under control offensively.”
Still, Arbuckle has been pleased with the effort and believes it is just a matter of time before the shots begin falling.
“The positive is we’re getting those shots,” Arbuckle said. “Our offense is working hard and getting those shots. We got 50+ shots off. That’s a lot of shots to get off in a high school game. I’m hoping by the end of the season they will be falling.”
Arbuckle was pleased with how her seniors performed in the win.
“I thought our seniors did a really good job,” I thought it was Avery Eldridge’s best game so far. She did a great job picking pockets. I thought Catie Merrell did a great job. She was very good last night. She had one of her best games defensively. She’s been picking off a lot of passes. We work on that.”
In the early part of the season, improvement has been evident in some of the younger girls, particularly in the post.
The development has Arbuckle excited.
“In the last two weeks, I’ve seen insane development from the girls who don’t start,” Arbuckle said. “They’ve done a great job coming in and getting the seniors a break. Jaeleigh Ann Girard is being asked to do a tough job against those bigger posts. She’s undersized for her position. She guards the post as well as anyone I’ve seen, but it’s a grind for her.”
While the offense hasn’t quite clicked on all cylinders yet, the defense has been a machine for Benton.
Arbuckle believes that’s the key for success for her team.
“We’re strong defensively,” Arbuckle said. “We caused 40 turnovers in 32 minutes against Humphreys. We played a very good Winston Academy team before Thanksgiving. We caused 28 against them, and they’re AAA. We caused 37 against Deer Creek. We mix it up a lot. We go from zone press to man press to different half court presses. We’re mixing it up most trips down. It can confuse coaches because they don’t know what we’re going to be in at any given time.”
Madilyn Manor led the Lady Raiders with 24 points despite not hitting a 3-pointer until the fourth quarter.
“Madilyn didn’t hit even a 3-pointer until the fourth quarter,” Arbuckle said. “Then she hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers.”
Manor also chipped in six steals, four assists, and two rebounds.
Avery Eldridge had 10 points, four steals, two assists, and two rebounds in the win.
Jewell Vandevere scored eight points, hauled in three rebounds, and dished out an assist in the victory.
Catie Merrell had a big game with seven points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Gracey Manor had six points, one assist and one rebound, while Jaeleigh Ann Girard had three points, two rebounds, one steal, and one assist.
Next week holds a full slate for the Lady Raiders, who will attempt to keep their winning streak going.
“We have a three-game week next week,” Arbuckle said. “It will be pretty grueling. We’re going to Winona. We’re going to host Central Holmes. Then we’re going to Humphreys. It will be a big week for us.”