Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2013, 11:02 pm
Kelso's return sparks Pioneers to rout
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By Dan Tomlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
She didn't have a double-double. She didn't even start.
However, for Alleman, just having Zoe Kelso dressed and on the bench was enough to inspire the Pioneers to pick their game up.
Playing for the first time all season with their All-State center, the Pioneers rolled over Rockridge in a defensive gem, 69-22.
Kelso played sparingly in her first game back since tearing her ACL this summer, but she was effective, registering a pair of blocks, getting three rebounds and three points. At times she looked cautious, not willing to dive on loose balls, but at other times looked all of the star she emerged into last season.
Within three seconds of coming into the game, Kelso was dished the ball and was fouled on the shot. She made 1-of-2 free throws, which calmed her down.
"I thought I was going to air ball the first free throw I was so nervous," Kelso joked. "My teammates really helped me through when I was injured and helped me out tonight too."
The Pioneers were ferocious on defense. Through three quarters, when the game was still a game, Alleman held Rockridge to just 12 points. Tthe Rockets went the entire second and third quarters scoring just one basket.
Alleman forced the Rockets into 26 turnovers, marking it the second time this season the Pioneers have forced more turnovers than points allowed. Earlier this season they held Camp Pt. Southeastern to 19 points while forcing 25 turnovers.
"That was the best pressure we've applied all year," Alleman coach Jay Hatch said. "Izzy (Anderson) and Anna (Wetherell) started it up top, but all five girls were in the passing lanes.
"We did a lot of things really well tonight."
Wetherell was approaching triple-double status through three quarters as she had amassed 11 points, nine rebounds and five steals, but sat the bench most of the fourth. She still finished with game-highs of 12 points, nine rebounds and six steals. Rockridge's entire team registered just 11 rebounds.
Kelso's return may spark a Pioneer team that has rode the .500 line much of the season, again getting over it with their 14th win against 13 losses Tuesday.
"We'll figure out what we're going to do with her as we go forward," Hatch said. "Just having her out there really lifted our spirits though and the play showed that. Some kids were doing things they haven't done all year."
Kelso knows she it will be a while before she is back to her form of a year ago when she was averaging a double-double every night, but she doesn't care about that right now.
"I want to savor the moments of my senior year and not jeopardize my future," Kelso said. "I feel like now that we're with our normal group of players and we're healthy and back together, everyone is excited and ready to go."
For the Rockets (11-15), the roller-coaster season continues. The highs of beating Sherrard and Orion are matched by the lows like Tuesday night where offensive futility and mistakes led to a blowout.
"It's frustrating knowing who you have and wondering which team is going to show up," longtime Rockridge coach Shawn Strachan said. "We didn't execute the game plan and Alleman just did a great job of pressing up and putting pressure on us. We have to respond better."
The Rockets were led by Miranda Potter and Michaela Stoneking who each had five points, but it was Devin Hasson's bucket just before the clock expired in the first quarter that started the drought. Over the next 16 minutes, Rockridge shot 1-for-19 as Alleman worked their way to a 42-point lead heading into the fourth.