PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Alexa Jamison, Storm handle Buffaloes 'junk' defense

Jan. 5—GEORGETOWN — During the offseason, Salt Fork junior guard Alexa Jamison suffered a knee injury that she thought was going to cost her this season.

The honorable mention all-state performer found an alternative surgical procedure that allowed the 5-foot-6 guard to return to the court sooner than expected.

On Thursday night, Jamison was the focal point of the Georgetown-Ridge Farm box-and-one defense.

She had just 7 points in the Storm's 35-22 victory, but her three-point play in the second quarter was part of a 9-0 run that allowed Salt Fork to take a 26-11 halftime advantage.

"It's awesome to be back," said Jamison, who is still a little bit limited on the court. "This was such a hard thing to do, but all of my friends, my teammates, my family and people I know have been right there by me the whole way.

"I was trying my hardest to get back with this team."

Jamison, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee, acknowledged that the Storm were prepared for the box-and-one defense from the Buffaloes.

"We were definitely expecting a junk defense," she said. "Everyone had a role. We needed to step up and hit some shots."

That wasn't a problem in the first half.

Salt Fork (14-5 overall, 5-0 in the VVC) scored 26 points as senior Macie Russell had 12 of her game-high 13 points in those first two quarters.

But the final two quarters was a different story for the Storm as they managed just four field goals and 9 points.

"We had a feeling they would play a box-and-one defense, but until you see it in a game, it takes a little while to get used to it," said Salt Fork coach Brian Russell. "I thought we responded really well in the second quarter. And then it was basically, we got good looks but we didn't put the ball in the hoop.

"That's going to happen sometimes."

While those offensive struggles contained Salt Fork's ability to score, it didn't change it's defensive intensity. The Storm held the Buffaloes to just 11 points in each half.

"Super proud of the girls. They kept fighting and kept playing defense," Brian Russell said. "That defense ended up winning the ballgame for us."

Georgetown-Ridge Farm, which falls to 7-7 overall and 1-4 in the VVC, was actually happy with the shots it got against the Salt Fork defense, but once again, it was the Buffaloes inability to make shots that was the difference.

"That's been us this year," said Georgetown-Ridge Farm coach Brad Russell. "We do a good job of getting the ball where we get good, open shots but we've struggled, at times, getting those shots to fall.

"To me, that was the difference in this game — not being able to make those shots."

And how did Brad Russell think his box-and-one defense did against Jamison and the Storm.

"For the most part, it was good," he said. "There was a stretch in the first half where we were closing out too hard, thinking we were going to block a shot instead of just making them shoot from the perimeter. Salt Fork is a good enough team where that turns into a shot fake, a little sweep, and they are going to the hole.

"In a box-and-one defense, penetration kills you."

He also noted that the Storm got a handful of transition baskets off of live-ball turnovers and runouts after missed shots.

"One of their strengths is their quickness," Brad Russell said. "We forgot that we needed to get back on defense against them. We were trying to be aggressive, but we have to understand the situation. We can't allow them to get easy baskets."

Senior Kendall Roberts had a team-high 10 points for Georgetown-Ridge Farm in the loss.

These two teams will meet again on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in the Vermilion County Tournament at the Mary Miller Gymnasium.

Salt Fork 35, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 22

Salt Fork (35) — Macie Russell 5 3-6 13, Brycie Hird 2 0-0 4, Bracie Hird 2 0-3 4, Alexa Jamison 3 1-1 7, Sailor Pacot 1 0-0 2, Ella Cary 0 0-0 0, Taylor Remole 2 1-1 5, Rhaelyn Filicsky 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 5-11 35.

Geo-RF (22) — Kendall Roberts 2 6-8 10, Savanna Cunningham 2 2-2 6, Sierra Cunningham 1 0-0 2, Sydney Spesard 2 0-0 4, Madi Spesard 0 0-0 0, Milee Ellis 0 0-2 0, Peyton McComas 0 0-0 0, Addi Spesard 0 0-0 0. Totals: 7 8-12 22.

Salt Fork 12 14 5 4 — 35

Geo-RF 6 5 7 4 — 22

3-pointers — none. Total fouls — Salt Fork 13, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 14. Fouled out — Madi Spesard.

Records — Salt Fork 14-5 overall, 5-0 in the Vermilion Valley Conference. Georgetown-Ridge Farm 7-7 overall, 1-4 in the VVC.