George Murdock Gym hosted two teams on Tuesday night. They were rivals, separated by only a few mere miles. One left encouraged. The other left looking for answers.
Toledo was the former. Winlock was the latter. The Indians girls basketball team ran roughshod over the Cardinals, claiming a 65-19 win, triggering a running clock, in a 2B Central League girls basketball game.
“It doesn’t matter who we play. We want to compete,” Toledo coach Brian Layton said. “We truly believe anybody can beat anybody at any time in our league. It’s gonna be a dogfight so we want to be ready to play every game.”
Winlock (4-7, 0-2) won the tip, Addison Hall scored immediately and the Cardinals led 2-0. It was the last noticeable good thing that happened to Winlock all night.
Toledo (9-1, 1-0) totally dominated.
Kal Schaplow and Gracie Madill shouldered the scoring load. Schaplow scored 17 points, and Madill added 15. Both hit 3s. Scaplow added more in the midrange and Madill contributed some with steals and quick layups.
But they weren’t entirely alone on the offensive end.
Of the 13 Indians who played, 11 scored. As Layton said before the season, the Indians can go 10 deep and demonstrated that ability Tuesday night. They scored in the half court. They scored on the break. They scored with the starters, they scored with the bench.
“I thought we did a good job when we decided to get out and run,” Layton said. “That’s what we want to do. I thought in the third quarter that’s when we really separated ourselves with that transition break. It’s fun to play; it’s fun to watch. Again, we can play 10 girls, so it’s nice to get girls in there (with) fresh legs.”
Every player who entered could execute the defensive gameplan, as well, smothering Winlock ball-handlers and denying the supremely talented Hall.
The stellar Winlock sophomore had just 13 points and 4 rebounds, though she did have 3 blocks and a steal.
Toledo showed a zone against the Cardinals in the half court, falling back after the guards showed a full-court press that yielded 34 Cardinal turnovers.
Hall stayed at the high post, and Toledo collapsed around her, denying touches from occurring and forcing her to pass out of double teams. At halftime, with Toledo up 30-8, Hall had all of Winlock’s points. The defensive gameplan worked.
“We just knew that she has a really good left hand and we had to all collapse when she drove,” said Schaplow, who checked Hall most of the night. “Just help defense was a big key. She’s a good player, so that was one of the big keys to the game.”
But that isn’t to say that Winlock’s effort was totally wasted.
It’s a young team, one that is building experience and trying to find more options outside of Hall. Karlie Jones showed signs of handling ball pressure, working her way up the court and making smart passes. Azhia Camps did similar things. Eighth-grader Kindyl Kelly entered in the fourth quarter, after Hall fouled out, and was fearless against Toledo’s relentless defenders.
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The score suggests that Winlock went home hopeless. And perhaps that feeling flashed. But there were positives to be found, even if they have to be found with careful sifting.
“When we’re breaking the press, Karlie Jones looked up the floor a lot and got some good passes to the middle,” Hall said. “We passed it around, slowed it down, got some good looks for sure. They handled it well.”
But it gets no easier for the Cardinals.
It’s a tough stretch in the schedule. They get Toledo and Wahkiakum back-to-back. Winlock can’t dwell on the Battle of the Cowlitz, because the always-good Mules await.
“We play Wahkiakum next, so hopefully (we move on) quick,” Hall said. “We have a tough one coming up.”
Toledo, meanwhile, exited Murdock with growing confidence.
Stacie Spahr scored just 6 points, but she grabbed 11 rebounds, with 5 coming on the offensive end. Reserves like Haleigh Holmes, Emma Cline-Maier, Greenlee Clark, Marissa Smith and more gave good minutes. Cline-Maier was Toledo’s third-leading scorer with 8 points.
The depth was apparent, and the growth is an exciting development.
“We’re starting to learn we need to be confident when we walk into the gym,” Schaplow said before taking shots after the game. “The girls have put in tons of hours. Some were in fall ball and shooting on their own. Just being confident in that, walking in knowing that you have the skills. That’s something we’ve gained this year.”
Toledo visits Toutle Lake on Thursday at 7 p.m. Winlock hosts Wahkiakum on the same day at the same time.
Toledo 65, Winlock 19
WINLOCK — Addison Hall 13, Karlie Jones 4, Kiya Peppers 2, Elizabeth Wolfe, Alexa Barragan, Angela Gil-Munoz, Azhia Camps, Rylie Krusmark, Kindyl Kelly.
TOLEDO — Kal Schaplow 17, Gracie Madill 13, Emma Cline-Maier 8, Haleigh Holmes 4, Marina Smith 4, Alejandra Cadarso 3, Grace Tauscher 2, Greenlee Clark 2, Vanessa Rodriguez 2, Taylor Langhaim 2, Heather Tennison, Abbie Marcil.