Country Day starts slow, bounces back to beat Midland at Roundball Classic
Detroit – While Detroit Country Day didn’t get out to an ideal start in the first half of its game against Midland, it was the second half that proved to be the difference for the Yellowjackets.
Country Day opened up the second half with a 10-2 run to break a 23-23 halftime tie and never lost the lead as the Yellowjackets stayed perfect on the season with a 53-47 win at the Motor City Roundball Classic, improving to 8-0 on the season.
Country Day coach Frank Orlando said that the difference in the early stages of the second half was his team’s pressure defense as the Yellowjackets made defensive changes and sped the pace of the game up in the second half.
“I think it was the pressure,” he said. “We tried to run a three-quarters press and kind of mix it up and anticipate some passes. We were pretty stagnant up to there, so we were just trying to get them to run and it looked like they (Midland) were a disciplined team and we were going to play the same way, but we were too slow. We were playing too slow, so I tried to speed it up, and to me, that was the difference.”
After a slow start in the first quarter, Country Day trailed 15-7 as five Midland players scored in the opening quarter, the Yellowjackets bounced back in the second quarter, outscoring Midland 16-8 to send the game to halftime tied at 23-23 behind 14 second quarter points from star junior Destiny Pitts.
The Yellowjackets broke the tie at the start of the third quarter, highlighted by six straight points from Jordan Wright to put Country Day on top, 33-25.
Midland then bounced back to cut the deficit down to just three after a 3-pointer from Sadie Dewildt and a basket from Jayden Williams, but four points in the final minute from Pitts pushed the Country Day lead back to 42-35 at the end of the third quarter.
Pitts echoed what her coach had to say, noting that some changes defensively after the first quarter proved to be the difference for her and her teammates.
“We weren’t playing defense like we usually do,” she said. “We were giving a lot of stuff up and we weren’t getting back in transition on the long pass and then we went back into a 1-2-2 (defense) and that helped us at the end. We were getting a lot of steals and put quicker guards in and they were getting to the ball quick and out-letting it more.”
In the fourth quarter, Midland’s 32 trimmed the deficit down to just six, 44-38, but as was the case for much of the second half, Country Day again had a response as 14 knocked down a 3-pointer as the Yellowjackets continued to hold off the Chemics throughout the final stanza.
Pitts noted that Country Day’s 8-0 start on the season has been one that her and her teammates have enjoyed, and added that they young Yellowjackets have learned plenty throughout the early season and have learned to continue working together in tough situations, like the early stages of Tuesday’s game.
“It’s been good and it’s taught us a lot of things too,” she said. “We’ve had good practices and practices where we worked and games like this game. I didn’t think we expected to be down early on, but we just came back and stuck together. That’s what we’ve been trying to learn because we’re young, just stick together throughout the game even if we’re down.”