Nikki House scored 21 points against her former team as State Fair beat Penn Valley 115-32 on Wednesday at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
The 5-9 guard from Waynesville averaged 5.9 points per game last season for the Lady Scouts before transferring to State Fair. On Wednesday, in her first start of the season and her second game against her former team, House shot 10 of 11 from the field. She scored most of her points in the second half, often beating the Penn Valley defense back in transition and sinking open layups.
“We would get the rebound and we wanted to push the ball,” House said. “That was the game plan. We wanted to use this game to prepare us for Three Rivers on Saturday.”
House also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots and showed hustle when she was on the court, going after loose balls, nearly saving one from going out of bounds and picking up a steal.
“That’s what she was doing in practice and that’s why we rewarded her with starting,” said State Fair coach Kevin Bucher. “If she practices hard here the next two days, she’ll be starting down at Three Rivers as well. We’re trying to get that mentality to all of our players that who competes, who plays hard, get the opportunities to start and have more minutes.”
As State Fair put the game out of reach early, many players who haven’t seen as many minutes on the floor this season got a chance to showcase their skills. Erin Boothe, who came in averaging 5.2 points per game, came away with 19 points and also played some at point guard as Bucher wanted her to get used to that.
“We’ve been rewarding players that have been working hard in practice and at the same time we’ve really started extending our defense by using our bench,” Bucher said. “I think that really helped us against Mineral Area (on Saturday). I feel very confident putting anybody on the floor. I think they see the importance of getting four or five minutes and getting that rotation, but when it comes to that second half, we really have owned teams and especially down the stretch on the road.”
Like House, Boothe also got many of her points in transition. State Fair made 72 defensive stops in the game and outscored Penn Valley in points off turnovers 50-3.
“Coaches wanted us to push the ball, so we pushed the ball,” Boothe said.
Booth came away with five of the Lady Roadrunners’ 17 steals.
“She always picks up the quickest player and she does a great job defensively,” Bucher said. “She’s probably the fastest one laterally and she’s been doing a great job of playing defense.”
Six players scored in double figures. In addition to House and Boothe, Alecia Cooley added 16 points, Sydonia Daniels scored 15 and Apiphany Woods and Asia Mosley each scored 10.
State Fair jumped out to a 32-0 lead with the Lady Scouts getting their first basket on an Octavia Allen drive with 10:45 left in the first half. During the run, State Fair at one point forced 10 consecutive turnovers a five-second call, three steals by Antionette Taylor and steals by Boothe and Woods. Six of those 10 turnovers led directly to State Fair layups. State Fair also got defensive stops on a 10-second call and three shot-clock violations in the game.
The Lady Roadrunners led 55-12 at halftime and continued to push the lead early in the second half. A 3-pointer by Adella Randle-El and a pair of House layups were part of a 9-0 run to start the half and the Lady Roadrunners later put together a 13-0 run including a 3-pointer by Derriel Banyard and a Banyard layup to make it 101-24 with 7:17 left in the game.
Now the Lady Roadrunners turn their attention on Three Rivers. The teams met Jan. 11 with State Fair coming away with an 81-62 win at home. Now the teams will battle at Three Rivers where the Lady Raiders have a lot of success recently.
“We’re already 10 points down when we go in there,” Bucher said. “We already beat Three Rivers here by 19 so I know they haven’t forgotten about that. It’s going to be a large crowd. We’re going to have a nice booster bus that’s going. I told (the team) at the end of the game, we’re going to have two intense practices to let them know how much and how important this game is.”