AMBOY – Size didn't matter to the Amboy girls basketball team against Indian Creek.
The Clippers used some stout post defense, along with just enough clutch shooting, to take down the taller Timberwolves 50-42 on Saturday night in the championship game of the Amboy Holiday Tournament. Amboy last won its own holiday tournament in 2008.
"This is just really exciting," freshman guard Delaney Wilhelm said. "We've been working hard, and it paid off."
"I told them before the game, you don't get the chance to be a champion very often," Amboy coach Mike McCracken said, "so you've really got to go for it when you're here."
The Clippers (10-4) used an effective zone defense the whole game to clog the lane against Indian Creek, whose main weapon, 6-foot-2 sophomore center Josie Diehl, was held in check all night. She managed just seven points on 2-for-7 shooting.
Kaitlyn Liebing and Elizabeth Ortgiesen, a pair of 5-8 juniors, did most of the dirty work inside for Amboy. They combined for just five points, but collected 13 rebounds, and most importantly, controlled the paint.
"We've just got to stand our ground, basically," Liebing said. "Somebody's got to front their big girl, and somebody's got to have help-side. We've just got to talk and work together."
Indian Creek coach Paul Muchmore credited Amboy with solid defense, but still wanted more from his inside attack.
"The zone shouldn't give us that much trouble, but apparently it does," he said. "I don't think we were taking advantage of Josie in the post. I told the girls they were very aggressive at the top, and we needed to use ball fakes and be strong, and we didn't do that. They got in the passing lanes, and when you play against a good team that's well-coached, that's not going to work."
Amboy didn't light up the scoreboard, with its 17-for-51 shooting from the field, but put together enough offense to get the job done. A banked 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer by Micaela McCoy knotted the score at 24, then Delaney Wilhelm took over.
The Clippers turned the ball over on their first four third-quarter possessions, and dug themselves a 28-24 hole in the process. Wilhelm scored the next eight points to put her team up 32-28, and capped the quarter with a steal and layup to give Amboy a 36-28 cushion heading into the final 8 minutes.
Amboy hit eight of 10 free throws down the stretch to hold for the victory.
Delaney Wilhelm led the Clippers with 18 points, older sister Sydney Wilhelm finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, and McCoy added nine points.
Sophomore forward Alexis Van Whye led Indian Creek with 19 points.
Star of the game: Delaney Wilhelm, Amboy, 18 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds
Key performers: Alexis Van Whye, Indian Creek, 19 points; Sydney Wilhelm, Amboy, 10 points, 7 rebounds
Up next: Amboy at Fulton, 7:30 p.m. Thursday