Menard corrals Olfen Mustangs
The Olfen Mustangs (9-4, 3-3) boys varsity team was routed, 70-26, by the Menard Yellowjackets (6-11, 5-1) on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The game was fast and furious as the Yellowjackets soared to victory, scoring 26 points in the 4th period, alone.
Menard brought a size and strength advantage to the court, using every bit of it to out play the Mustangs from the opening buzzer. The Menard defense repeatedly blanketed any Mustangs player who had the ball. They double-teamed any player, not just select players as most teams do.
The smothering defense opened up the offensive side of the game for the Yellowjackets. They repeatedly blocked shots and intercepted passes. Menard used their advantage in quickness to draw the Mustangs into making long passes, which they intercepted several times. The Yellowjackets held the edge in blocked shots, takeaways and rebounds, both offensive and defensive.
Menard made several steals at half-court, just by double teaming Mustangs players. It was a matter of something had to give. Menard was pulling down rebounds, which forced the Mustangs to get to the other end of the court on defense quickly. This didn't leave more than a player or two under the basket to vie for rebounds. Menard's blazing speed was a key to their getting several open shots as they knocked down a number of three-pointers.
To Olfen's credit, the players never stopped giving the game 100%, even when it was out of hand. They played hard until the final buzzer, displaying their never-surrender attitude and showing grit. It's always difficult when the other team has a distinct size advantage. The Mustangs just happened to have run into a buzz saw Yellowjackets team that has only dropped 1 district game, a 48-42 loss to Eden. Olfen got several open looks, they just couldn't coax the ball into the net. Shot after shot bounced off the rim, usually resulting in a Menard rebound.
After the game, Menard coach Brock Gerlich spoke about the smothering defense, "We know we're a little team, so we have to play good defense. We know that we have to get steals to win against some of these bigger teams. That's what our defensive philosophy is. We thought that we could steal some of those over-the-top passes."