By CHUCK RIDENOUR
Daily Globe Sports Editor
Slow starts to halves have been problematic this season, but that was not the case for Shelby Thursday night.
The Lady Whippets ramped up their defensive intensity and feasted on sloppy ball handling in a 58-34 clobbering of Mansfield St. Peter’s in the Dawg House.
The SHS girls helped force 15 first-quarter turnovers while building a big lead and snapping a four-game losing streak to improve their record to 4-8 on the season.
Midway through the opening quarter Shelby kicked their offense into gear with a 15-point bonanza in the final 3:43 of the frame to build a 21-4 lead.
A 16-7 flurry, fueled by a 13-1 burst to open the third stanza, broke the contest wide open.
“I was very pleased with our starts tonight,” said Whippet coach Natalie Lantz. “Up until now, first and third quarter starts have hurt us. We got off to a great start, especially at the defensive end. That’s been a point of emphasis and we picked up our intensity.
“It took us a while to get on the board, but once we did it started to roll for us.”
SHS never trailed in the game and was plagued by 1-of-7 shooting early on, but rattled off 12 unanswered points to end the first quarter.
Shelby hit its first four tries to begin the second period and stretched the lead to 24 (30-6) on a layin by Emma Randall.
The Whippets checked in at halftime with a 36-17 cushion.
SHS tallied the first nine points of the second half and pushed it out to a 31-point margin (49-18) on a jumper from the wing by Sydnie Seibert at 3:30 mark.
Shelby’s biggest lead was 56-24 on a rebound basket by Bailey Walter with 5:43 left. At that point Lantz emptied her bench.
Walter’s 20 points led all scorers. She also had four rebounds and three assists as she continued her solid play for the Whippets.
“Bailey is playing very strong for us right now. She’s doing her part, whether it’s playing defense, attacking the basket or getting rebounds. She plays bigger than she is and is a nice positive leader for us,” said Lantz.
Randall contributed 12 for the winners. Raven Hill handed out four assists and grabbed five rebounds.
Sydney Cavanaugh and Julia Rizzo each scored nine for the Spartans (5-7).
St. Peter’s turned the ball over 33 times and the Whippets were guilty of 28, including 11 in the closing frame.
Shelby was 24 of 54 from the floor and made 6 of 10 free throws. The Spartans were 12 of 39 from the field and 8 of 15 at the charity stripe. The red and gray also won the rebound battle 30-20.
“That was much needed. It was a great win for the girls to get a check in the ‘W’ column going into Saturday’s conference game.
“This team has some talent and when they pull it together, we see spurts of good things. We need to keep our focus on defensive intensity and let our offense flow from that. When we get the consistency, you’ll see some good things,” said Lantz.
The Whippets welcome Sandusky Saturday afternoon in a Lake Division battle between Sandusky Bay Conference schools.
MANSFIELD ST. PETER’S (34)
Rizzo 3 1 9, Mitchell 1 0 2, Daniels 3 2 8, Cavanaugh 3 3 9, Hendrickson 2 2 6, Totals 12 8 34.
Seibert 3 0 7, Taylor 2 0 6, Yates 1 0 2, Bishop 2 0 5, Perry 1 0 2, Randall 6 0 12, Gurney 1 2 4, Walter 8 4 20, Totals 24 6 58.
St. Peter’s 4 13 7 10 -34
Shelby 21 15 16 6 -58
Three-point field goals - Rizzo (SP) 2, Seibert (SH), Taylor (SH) 2, Bishop (SH).