LP guards learning to avoid the bench

Published 9:16 pm Monday, December 19, 2011

Lyle-Pacelli's Courtney Walter, left, tips the ball away from Glenville-Emmons' Kayla Woodside during the Athletics' 56-19 win over the Wolverines in Lyle Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

LYLE — As the clock ticked down in Lyle-Pacelli’s game against Glenville-Emmons, guards Ann Rysavy and Courtney Walter were in a place they’ve seen far too much of this season — the bench.

Except this time they could handle it as the Athletics (4-3 overall, 4-2 SEC) were running away with their third consecutive win, a 56-19 victory over the Wolverines (0-6 overall, 4-2 SEC) Monday.

The Athletics have won their last three games by at least 10 points after dropping three games in a row — including two that were by five points or less. The difference in the winning and losing streaks is that Walter and Rysavy have stayed on the court and avoided foul trouble.

Email newsletter signup

“At the beginning of the season our goal was to play the way the best teams in the state play by putting a lot of pressure on the ball, but we found out early on that that wasn’t working for us, because our guards kept getting in foul trouble,” L-P head coach Brad Walter said. “(Ann and Courtney) are so strong offensively and they keep our offense going. When we’ve got all five of our starters on the floor, our offense is pretty good.”

Rysavy, a sophomore, is averaging 15.8 points per game and Courtney Walter, an eighth grader, is averaging 14.2 points per game for L-P.

Lyle-Pacelli's Ann Rysavy dribbles the ball up the court against Glenville-Emmons in Lyle Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

The duo also serve as the team’s primary ball handlers and perimeter defenders, so it hurts the Athletics whenever they have to sit out.

Rysavy hopes the days of foul trouble are in her rear view mirror.

“I think we’re finally figuring out that we do need to stay out of foul trouble to win games,” she said. “It sucks to sit and watch and not be able to help when you’re in a close game.”

Walter had to adjust to the fast pace of varsity basketball as a seventh grader and things are a coming along a little easier this season. She also plays for her dad, who said he’s a coach first when the two are dealing with basketball.

“It’s kind of stressful, but it’s getting better,” Walter said of her learning experience. “Last year was pretty intimidating to be out there with seniors.”

Rysavy also started varsity as a seventh grader so she can relate to what Walter is going through. She has lended a helping hand to Walter, and the three other middle schoolers L-P has on its roster.

“You’ve got to help them out and encourage them as much as you can,” Rysavy said. “You can’t bring them down because they’re so young.”

Unfortunately for the Athletics, now that they’re starting to figure out how to play the right way, they must wait another two weeks before their next game as they enter Christmas break. L-P returns to action when it plays at Lanesboro (5-4 overall) Jan. 3.

“I hate to see Christmas come,” Brad Walter said. “The last three games we’ve probably scored eight times on our first 10 possessions and the games before that Courtney or Ann were sitting on the bench with foul trouble after the first five possessions.”

GE 6 13 — 19

LP 39 17 — 56

LP scoring: Ann Rysavy, 11; Courtney Walter, 9; Madison Truckenmiller, 7; Maggie Lewison, 6; Annie Holtz, 6; Bethany Strouf, 6; Sarah Holtz, 4; Abby Leif, 3; Whitney Hinz, 2; free throws: 60 percent (6-for-10)

GE scoring: Kayla Woodside, 11; Madi Ziebell, 3; Jaden Rasmusson, 3; Paige Marlin, 3; free throws: 50 percent (5-for-10)