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Faith Lutheran smothers Clark girls with defense

High school basketball coaches have a variety of defensive schemes in their playbook.

Faith Lutheran’s girls needed only one Thursday.

The Crusaders played a 2-3 zone to near perfection for 32 minutes, forcing host Clark to shoot mainly from the perimeter in a 63-24 win over the Chargers in a Sunset League game.

“We were hoping we would show up with our best team on the floor,” Faith Lutheran coach Jennifer Karner said. “We knew they were a very good cutting team, and they want to get everything going to the basket. We wanted to contain them and keep them out of the paint.”

Clark built a 10-6 lead with 2:49 left in the first quarter on consecutive baskets after Faith Lutheran turnovers, but the Chargers made one of their next 38 shots, including 25 straight misses.

By the time the drought ended — on Ashley Robinson’s stick-back basket with 6:25 left — Faith Lutheran led, 53-18.

The Chargers made only 9 of 66 from the field, including missing all 15 of their 3-point attempts.

“We wanted to make them try to shoot us out (of the zone),” Karner said. “That was our goal. We prepared very hard on that yesterday. They took care of business.”

Faith Lutheran (9-8, 3-0 Sunset) also forced 21 turnovers.

On offense, the Crusaders used balance, striking with long-range jumpers and good ball movement inside.

Julia Benko led the way with 16 points. Sam Leonard and Lily Bonora each came off the bench to contribute eight points, and four more Crusaders scored at least five points each. Leonard grabbed eight rebounds.

“It bodes very well for us to have several people who can put the ball in the hoop,” Karner said. “We’re a confident team.”

Bobbi Floyd led Clark (6-13, 1-2) with six points and eight rebounds.

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