DIXON – A rough start turned into a beautiful finish for the Dixon girls basketball team.
The Duchesses overcame a woeful shooting performance in the first quarter to post a 40-27 victory against LaSalle-Peru on Friday night in Lancaster Gym.
Dixon (12-8, 3-3 NIB-12 West) converted just one basket in 17 attempts in the first 8 minutes of play, but was a respectable 12-for-32 the rest of the game. Dixon coach Luke Ravlin didn't make any strategic adjustments, as he didn't think they were necessary.
"We just made some shots," Ravlin said. "We got to where we wanted to go in the first quarter, but we didn't finish. We knew if we stuck with what we were doing, kept playing hard and kept playing together, eventually those shots would drop, and they did."
Luckily for Dixon, LaSalle-Peru was just as wayward early. The Cavaliers went 1-for-12 in the first quarter, which ended in a 2-2 tie.
Leading the Duchesses' charge after that was junior forward Carly Hartle, who muscled her way inside for 12 points and 14 rebounds. Maggie Bushman was next with seven points, while Brittani Sohn and Brooke Bailey added six each.
Bailey, who averages 19.2 points per game, was just 1-for-13 from the field while facing a box-and-one defense, with LaSalle-Peru's athletic Jena Argubright shadowing her every move. She was glad her teammates picked her up.
"It's nice that even though I'm not playing my best, they have my back on that," Bailey said.
Poor shooting didn't affect Bailey's overall game, as she contributed seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.
"Brooke's game is more than just putting the ball in the basket," Ravlin said.
Dixon weathered a scary moment when Hartle picked up her fourth foul with 3 minutes, 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter, with her team clinging to a 32-23 lead. LaSalle-Peru's Hannah Wolfe then missed two free throws, however, and the Cavaliers didn't get closer than nine points the rest of the way.
LaSalle-Peru converted just 12 of 53 shots from the field, and went to the free-throw line just five times.
"[Dixon] played very good defense," LaSalle-Peru coach Hollis Vickery said, "but I think overall, we just didn't hit some shots. We had plenty of opportunities and wide-open looks. Our posts just did not get after it tonight, and they need to get after it. Hartle really hurt us in the post area."
Ravlin was thrilled with his team's work on the defensive end.
"We did exactly what we planned on doing," Ravlin said. "We executed the game plan. We finished the box-outs. We were very strong in that aspect, and in the end, that was the difference. We talk about relying on our defense, and that's the way it has to happen. Tonight was a great example of that."
Star of the game: Carly Hartle, Dixon, 12 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals
Key performers: Brooke Bailey, Dixon, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals; Hannah Wolfe, LaSalle-Peru, 8 points, 10 rebounds
Up next: Dixon at Streator, 11:30 a.m. Saturday