(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
The Incarnate Word Red Knights, ranked No. 8 in Class 5, jumped out to a 20-4 first quarter lead over the Dexter Lady Bearcats, and cruised to a 65-40 win.
"We talk to our team about starting out and setting the tone for the game," Rolfes said. "Our first quarter really dictates a lot of our games."
The Lady Bearcats, ranked No. 9 in Class 4, came out in a 2-3 zone and Incarnate Word made them pay, hitting 6-of-7 shots to start the game, jumping out to a 17-3 lead.
"Coming into the game, looking at their stats, they didn't really shoot that well from the perimeter so we went to the 2-3 zone, tried to pack it in and make them shoot from the outside and boy they didn't miss anything," said Dexter coach Chad Allen. "Not only were they knocking down shots, but defensively they really got after us."
"We really stress defense and getting after it," Rolfes said. "We have some good athletes that can really get after it. A lot of our offense comes from our defense in turnovers and layups."
After leading 20-4 after a quarter, Incarnate Word continued to convert turnovers into points in the second quarter. However, when they were forced to run a half-court offense, they found Jami Kroll. Coming off the bench, the junior hit 3-of-4 3-pointers in the second quarter, giving the Red Knights a 40-12 halftime lead.
"That's what she does," Rolfes said of Kroll's shooting performance. "She comes off the bench and she can just shoot the ball. If teams start playing zone or they sag in on our big kids, we're able to hit some threes with her and it opens some things up for us."
Down 28, Dexter wouldn't quit and started the second half on a 13-2 run, cutting the lead to 42-25. However, Krull struck, knocking down another 3-
pointer and the Lady Bearcats never threatened again.
"We gained some confidence toward the end of the first half and we finally realized we could play with them and we actually outscored them by three points in the second half," Allen said. "We really got after it. I'm proud of the girls, they didn't lower their heads, they fought hard and kept on playing."
Dexter, a team known for their rebounding ability, was out-rebounded 33-21 on the game, often times limited to one shot on each offensive possession.
"(Dexter is) such a good team, they score so many points we just can't afford to give them more than one look every possession," Rolfes said. "We talk about getting after it on defense and controlling the boards and if we do that we feel like we'll be pretty successful."
Incarnate Word was led in scoring by junior Kayla Person who finished with a game-high 17 points to go along with her five steals. Britteni Williams finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Kroll finished with 12 on 4-of-6 3-point shooting.
Dexter was led by Ashlee Taylor's 13. Cathryn Heil and Jill Temples added 12 and 10 respectively.
With the loss, Dexter falls to 13-3, stopping their 12-game winning streak.
"There's no doubt Incarnate Word is a great team and is one of the best teams in 5A," Allen said. "We definitely need games like this. It will just make us better for district time."
Dexter will be back in action Tuesday night when they host the Jackson Lady Indians.