Glen Este and Amelia give a whole different meaning to cross-town rivals. The schools literally sit some 2.5 miles apart.
And as we’ve seen with rivalry games around the area in the recent weeks, not a lot of love is lost when two teams that reside in a close proximity to one another share a basketball court.
Wednesday, Dec. 21 was no different as a strong contingent of supporters from both schools filled Glen Este’s gym to see the Lady Trojans propel themselves to an 11-point win, 54-43, largely off a lopsided third quarter.
From the tip, Amelia looked to have the edge offensively as the Lady Barons were able to penetrate into the Glen Este defense and get off shots from close-range. The Lady Trojans guard-oriented offense faced some opposition as the similarly sized Amelia squad was able to guard all five positions on the perimeter.
“We weren’t able to take bigger girls off the dribble,” Glen Este coach Jeff Click said. “It was a little different (from mismatches we usually create), but I thought we handled it pretty well.”
As a result of the Amelia defensive pressure, Glen Este settled for outside jump shots to start the game, but they weren’t falling.
“We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we’re accustomed,” Click said. “We had some looks early on and when you have a young team, that starts to get in their head a little bit.”
The Lady Trojans were able to jump out to an early lead thanks to a strong start from junior forward Katie Gaskill. Gaskill opened up the scoring for Glen Este with a three-pointer from the top of the key and added two more points from the foul line.
Amelia countered with a junior forward of their own, Cassidy Bailey. Bailey likewise showed her range, stepping out to hit a three and moving inside for a tough basket down low to keep the Lady Trojans within striking distance.
After the first quarter, Glen Este led 9-7.
Scoring picked up in the second quarter as the tempo of the game increased as well. With the game already close, the teams traded baskets and the lead several times throughout period with neither side facing a deficit greater than four points.
Glen Este implemented a two-two-one three-quarter-court press in hopes of causing some Amelia turnovers.
“We’re not the most athletic team, we’re just trying to make them have to work and maybe they do something careless,” Click said. “We don’t really want to gamble, we just don’t want to let them dribble the ball up the court nice and easy like they do in practice every day.”
Even with a few missteps, the Lady Barons were able to get a couple easy buckets off of their press break, but it seemed Glen Este had an answer the next time down the floor.
As the halftime buzzer sounded, the game already had four ties and five lead changes, but Amelia went into the locker room with a one-point advantage, 22-21.
Things were different for Glen Este at halftime as some former Lady Trojans came back and were honored at halftime. The team never left the floor, instead, they were given their pep talk on the bench by Coach Click and then cheered on their former teammates.
“At halftime, it was different and we’re young, so we’re already learning to play through a lot of different situations,” Click said. “So, yeah, it was different, but they settled down and I was happy with how they responded in the second half.”
The response Click referred to was an 18-7 third quarter.
Gaskill took the reigns in the third, scoring eight points and playing point-forward, bringing the ball up the court and getting some of her teammates involved.
“She does a little bit of everything,” Click said of his junior. “I think that makes us versatile and difficult to guard.”
While the Lady Trojans struggled shooting the ball from the outside going just 4-for-22 from behind the arc, Hannah Carson was able to knock down a pair of threes in the quarter to add to Gaskill’s charge.
Megan Mentzel scored four of Amelia’s seven third quarter points, but the Lady Trojans had opened up a comfortable lead by the time the fourth quarter came around, leading 39-29.
The fourth quarter was very reminiscent of the first two, with Amelia throwing points at the Lady Trojans, only to have Glen Este answer on their offensive trip down the floor.
There was no give up in the Lady Barons, however, something Click had warned his team about prior to the game.
“For a lot of our team, it’s the first time they’re playing major minutes and a major role in a rivalry game,” Click said. “We always know that [Amelia] is going to play their best against us, that’s what we told [our team], but until you go out and do it, talking about it and doing are two different things.”
Click’s squad handled their first test against Amelia pretty well by all accounts. With the Lady Barons throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Glen Este, the Lady Trojans answered every bucket with one of their own en route to an 11-point win, 54-43.
Gaskill led all scorers with 16 points, going 5-for-6 from the field and adding seven rebounds and three assists. Kenzie Hall played a solid game scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards.
“She played real well tonight,” Click said. “She’s a sophomore and only seven games into her varsity career so if she keeps rebounding and playing like tonight, we’ll be happy.”
For the Lady Barons, Bailey led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds. Mentzel and Kymmy Simon added nine points each.
Glen Este got back to .500 on the year at 4-4 with the win and Amelia fell to 3-4. Both teams were back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Amelia (3-4) — Mentzel 3 2 9, Perry 2 0 6, Lang 2 1 5, Simon 2 3 9, Bailey 5 2 14. Totals: 14 8 43.
Glen Este (4-4) — Gaskill 5 5 16, Bogan 1 1 3, Keith 2 5 9, Hall 4 3 11, Carson 3 0 9, Brenes 3 0 6. Totals: 18 14 54.
Halftime: Amelia 22-21. 3-Pointers: G 4 (Carson 3, Gaskill); A 7 (Terry 2, Simon 2, Bailey, Mentzel).