ROCKTON -- Anyone venturing to Hononegah Tuesday night to see the Indians' high-powered offense in action may have been a tad disappointed.
It wasn't exactly a vintage performance for the attack.
But it was far from a disappointing effort. What the Indians may have lacked on the offensive end they more than made up for on defense, stifling Belvidere North, 63-37.
"We talk about our defense has to be there every night," Hononegah head coach Randy Weibel said. "We're not going to shoot the ball great every night. We're not going to make layups every night. In the first half tonight we weren't very good offensively. We took some poor shots.
"I thought our defense won us the game."
Ok, so maybe it wasn't a barrage of three-pointers or a dominating night by everybody's MVP, Jordan King, that silenced the Blue Thunder. This was good old-fashioned pressure, fullcourt "D" driving the visitors to distraction to the tune of 37 turnovers.
"I thought our back two people on the press, Jordan and Cali, were really flying around," Weibel said. "We had better traps and we forced some long passes. I thought defensively, particularly in the first half, we forced them out of doing what they wanted to do. We want to force tempo. Our girls are in such good condition that they wear people down."
Cali Schmitz, who led the winners with 17 points, said the defense fuels the attack.
"I think we get a lot of our points through our defense," she said. "We also get our energy from it. Even if we don't score immediately off a steal we set up our offense off it. Playing our defense is fun. We have a lot of freedom to move around a lot."
The Indians (18-3, 8-0 NIC-10) built a 28-9 lead with just over 3 minutes left in the first half, but with King on the bench, North outscored them 7-0 the rest of the way to close within 28-16. Halfway through that surge, Weibel tried to reinsert King in the lineup, but she was turned back to the sidelines by the referees due to having some blood on a wrap over her knee.
"When Jordan was out we just seemed to look lost there without her in the first half," Weibel said. "The girls just need to play. We're more comfortable with Jordan in the game, but it shouldn't matter."
"Jordan is a great asset to our team and often-times puts up 20 points or more," the 6-foot senior said. "But we can't always rely on Jordan to score. Other people always need to be ready to step up."
The Blue Thunder never got closer in the second half than the 12 points they trailed by at the intermission. They had 30 turnovers through three quarters and trailed 46-28.
• NOTES: King finished with 15 points and Julia Burns had nine. ...The Indians converted six treys, by six different players. ....Ashlyn Smith led the Blue Thunder with 13 points.
• UP NEXT: The Indians travel to Rockford Boylan Thursday night.
• BOXSCORE: Hononegah 63, Belvidere North 37.
BELVIDERE NORTH (fg ft-fta pts) - Diercks 3 2-2 8, Ulferts 1 0-0 2, Lake 2 2-2 6, Horgan 3 1-3 7, Garza 0 1-2 1, Smith 6 1-2 13. Totals: 15 7-11 37.
HONONEGAH (fg ft-fta pts) - Burns 3 3-4 9, Martinetti 1 0-0 3, Abney 1 0-0 2, Malcomson 3 0-0 7, Schmitz 7 2- 2 17, King 6 2-2 15, Murdoch 3 0-0 7, Kershner 1 0-0 3. Totals: 25 7-8 63.
Belv. North.......... 5 11 12 9 - 37
Hononegah...........20 8 18 17 - 63
3-pt. Goals - BN 0, Hononegah 6 (Martinetti, Malcomsen, Schmitz, King, Murdoch, Kershner). Fouled out - none. Total fouls - BN 9, Hononegah 9.