BLUE RAPIDS — TheValley Heights girls blitzed the visiting Doniphan West Mustangs from beginning to end for a 64-42 victory on Friday night to stay undefeated.
Mustangs’ sophomore Brandi Roepke led all scorers with 28 points, while junior Sidney Blackburn finished with 23 to combine for 51 of Valley Heights’ 64 points. Both players exited the game with just less than 5 minutes to play.
Throughout the game, Valley Heights head coach Jenny Yungeberg urged her team to keep pushing the pace against Doniphan West.
Roepke and Blackburn obliged.
The pair used their versatility to cause nightmares for the Doniphan West defense.
“That’s what our offense runs through,” Yungeberg said. “The other players do a nice job of getting them the ball, too.”
Roepke continually grabbed rebounds, pushed the ball up court, either scoring herself or dishing it down low to Blackburn.
Yungeberg said Roepke’s abilities are the catalyst for the offense, while Roepke said her and Blackburn complement the others’ skill set.
“It’s a lot of fun because we work well together,” Roepke said. “Like we can read each other’s minds so we know what is going to happen next.”
Utilizing a pressing man-to-man, Valley Heights (5-0) was able to push Doniphan West into a number of unforced errors.
Yungeberg said she likes to use her team’s athleticism and has simply called her up-tempo style of play “Go.”
“We like it fast,” Blackburn said. As if she were echoing coach Yungeberg from the sidelines, Roepke added: “Push, push, push.”
The pressure allowed Valley Heights to jump out to a 19-6 lead in the first quarter, while Doniphan West stalled out of the gate.
Doniphan West was able to get within 11 at 31-20 early in the third quarter after four straight points, but Valley Heights continued to put pressure on the Doniphan West guards and ended the quarter on a 12-5 run.
That run put the game out of reach for the visiting team heading in to the fourth quarter.
“We just want to push the ball and get the defense on their heels,” Yungeberg said.
Because of the Mustangs’ big lead, Yungeberg was able to empty the Valley Heights bench, allowing three freshman to play, including Miranda Ohlde, who scored four points and filled the defensive role of Roepke of guarding Doniphan West’s McKenzie Blevins in the last 4 minutes of the contest.
Yungeberg said Ohlde brings the same length and athleticism as Roepke, but is still learning how to play basketball.
“She plays a lot with instincts,” Yungeberg said.
Blevins was Doniphan West’s second-leading scorer on the night with nine.
Payton Leach, who had 14, including two 3-pointers, led the way for Doniphan West.