As forward Adela Smutna of the Czech Republic put it in her accented English, “It’s for me, the left.”
As in left-handed, which is something Williston State’s defense did not seem to clue into during Northwest College’s dominating 70-45 women’s basketball victory Sunday afternoon.
Repeatedly, Smutna, a 6-foot freshman, was free to make left-side-of-the-hoop layups with her left hand, raising the question of whether the Tetons forgot about her strong hand.
“Sometimes,” said Smutna, who scored 10 points in a diversified attack.
This was 9-7 Northwest’s first game since mid-December and the Lady Trappers played as crisply as if they had not had a day off over the holidays.
“Most of us were in the gym,” Smutna said.
Something coach Cam Levett liked hearing, although he also made sure to work the players hard in the week leading up to this return to action.
“The first day back from break and they were ready,” Levett said.
The Trappers led 13-12 after one quarter, scored 23 points in the second and really dismantled Williston in the third. The quarter margin was 24-6 and a periodic full-court press, mixed with a half-court zone, bothered the Tetons with every dribble, in addition to an aggressive offense.
“I think we played good defense and pushed it hard,” said Northwest point guard Samiyah Worrell, who had a team-high 15 points, many coming on perimeter shots.
Northwest used 11 players and 10 scored, with guard Melissa Martinez also in double figures with 10. It was the type of all-around team performance coaches love.
“It felt that way,” Worrell said. “Everybody played their part, whether it was defense, rebounding or points.”
It was still only 36-28 at the half, before the Trappers clamped down defensively in the third, starting the second half with a 9-0 run that mushroomed into a 20-4 eruption.
“We got all the cobwebs off,” Levett said of that 10-minute period.
Worrell, guard Raquel Turner, Martinez and freshman Riley Aiono, were integral to the fast-paced scoring.
“Defense will always lead to offense,” Martinez said. “We all contributed. It was a good team win, for sure.”