Doug Springer was the benefactor of that as the Northridge Raiders cruised to a 56-17 win over the visiting Elkhart Central Blue Blazers in a high school girls basketball game Wednesday night.
“We are not about keeping the starters in the game. We are more about building the program,” the coach said. “I don’t think any of our starters played more than 18 or 20 minutes and none of them played in the fourth quarter at all.”
The Raiders led 38-8 at halftime and 50-13 after three periods.
“Our offense dropped off when we put the reserves in, but I was pleased by the way they kept up the intensity level on defense,” Springer said.
The game was the first part of a girls-boys doubleheader between the two schools.
“Ronnie Thomas (Raider boys coach) and I are good friends and we have talking about doing something like this every since he took the job,” Springer said. “We wanted to schedule a game with Fort Wayne Snider and the only open date Snider had was on the Saturday we had Central scheduled. The Central game was slated for an early start so we called them and suggested this.
“We are going to try and do a couple more of these this season.”
The Raiders had a game Tuesday night at Jimtown and have another one on Saturday.
“We started the game tonight at 6:15 so it was more like a sectional,” Springer said. “That is what this whole week is about. We are treating it like a sectional week. It was also nice for the girls to play before a larger crowd.”
Northridge had only one player score in double figures and she came off the bench. Sophomore Taylor Miller tossed in 11 points. She was the first substitution and wasn’t on the floor long before she dished out an assist and drilled a 3-pointer.
“She gave us a huge lift off the bench,” Springer said. “Taylor would probably be a starting point guard for most of the teams in the area. Her defense makes things happen.”
Senior Haley Schrock netted nine points, junior Molly Bontrager eight, senior Madison Schrock seven and junior Mikaela Zook six for the Raiders.
“Our girls are playing so unselfish,” the coach said. “There were a number times tonight when you saw one pass up a wide open shot in order to pass to a teammate for an even better shot.”
The Raiders were up 3-2 at 6:02 of the before going on a 9-0 run and never looking back. Taylor Miller was key in that stretch hitting a trey at 3:47 and adding a pair of free throws at 3:10.
Senior Tia Garnett and sophomore Daitriona Bonds both scored five points to lead the Blazers.
“Garnett was a focus of our defense,” Springer said. “We lost her one time and she hit a ‘3’ on us.”
Northridge (4-0) will have their first test on Saturday when they host Hobart (4-0).
“Hobart is legit,” Springer said. “The have two 6-0 girls and three very good guards. We beat them last year at their place by seven or eight points and they have everyone back this year.”