During the summer, TJ Case implemented a 1-3-1 zone defense to pressure teams that shoot a lot of 3-pointers.
Before Friday night, North Scott’s girls basketball team didn’t run it in game action.
They used it all 32 minutes against Davenport North and ran away with their first win of 2019.
Thanks in large part to a 15-point, 21-rebound night from Grace Boffeli and going 9-for-22 from beyond the arc, the Class 4A third-ranked Lancers turned their defense into instant offense as they took home a 60-41 victory over the Class 5A, 15th-ranked Wildcats at Davenport North High School.
“These guys love to get in the corner, so we felt like having that bottom girl get to the corner was crucial,” said Case, North Scott’s head coach. “When we got into it, my assistant coach and I had a little bet going on that we’d probably be playing man two minutes into the thing.”
It was drilled into the Lancers (10-1, 8-1 MAC) in the last two weeks of practice. No one knew what to expect come tip off.
“Our scout team is as talented as a lot of teams,” Case said. “They got us ready.”
That defense made North shoot 15-for-49 from the field and 7-of-31 from 3-point land for their lowest scoring output of the season.
“We saw that in a scrimmage over the break, and we’ve been working against ourselves,” Wildcats head coach Matt Hoeppner said. “We got flat-footed on offense, the game came down to the fact they made their open shots and we didn’t.”
And in the process shutting down the Wildcats' three double figures scorers, Bella Sims, Ivy Wilmington and Camry Dillie, who combined to make seven field goals for a total of 19 points.
It was something Hoeppner hasn’t seen all year.
“We don’t even see those kind of things in practice,” he said. “We’ll be fine going forward, but it’s a hard one to take.”
On paper, North (6-4, 6-3) had a height advantage. On the court, it couldn’t have been more different.
Boffeli, who came into the first game after Christmas averaging a double-double, snared 14 caroms in the first half and scored nine of her points in the final eight minutes.
The 21 rebounds mark a new season high for the 6-foot-2 junior center.
“All week at practice, our team focused big on fronting Anne (Awour),” Boffeli said. “We were really excited for this game, and we wanted to come out and prove a point against this ranked team.”
Her presence inside allowed the outside shooters of North Scott to increase their lead to as many as 22.
Presley Case poured in a game-high 16 points on four 3s and Chloe Engelkes chipped in with 13 points on three 3s.
“It makes us feel way more comfortable being able to shoot,” Presley Case said. “We have a lot of confidence in each other.”
Presley Case, Engelkes and Brooke Kilburg all dropped in treys during a 13-0 run that turned a 3-point lead into a 16-point advantage in the second quarter.
That lead ballooned to 20 after three quarters thanks to nine points from Presley Case and seven of Rylie Rucker’s 10 points coming in that third quarter.
“That’s how we’ve always played,” coach Case said. “We want someone to prepare for three to four girls.”
Reese Ranum and Bella Sims led the way for the Wildcats with nine points each.
Both teams now turn their attention to the IHMVCU Shootout today at the Carver Center. North faces Annawan in the fifth game while North Scott battles Rock Island in the finale.