JOHNSONBURG – The Ramettes saw 11 players get into the scoring column Tuesday night as Johnsonburg (8-5) cruised to a 60-19 win over Sheffield (2-13).
The Ramettes, who extended their winning streak to six games, were led by junior Rhianon Fowler, who paced all scorers with 17 points and was the only player in double-figures for the night.
"We were able to get some work on our zone defense and our girls hit some shots," said Johnsonburg head girls varsity basketball coach Mike Zilkofski. "We usually see a man-to-man defense but I was happy with the way we came out and shot the ball.
"We hit some 3-pointers early and pressed a little bit but as a young team, Sheffield will grow."
Johnsonburg jumped out to a quick 9-0 run with a 3-pointer from senior Kiana Myers, and six points from Fowler to get things rolling. Fowler hit one of two from the line after being fouled and then scored on a jumper from the paint 30 seconds later.
The junior standout would later nail a 3-pointer as she scored six points in less than one minute to propel the home team to an early advantage.
Sheffield's only answer in the first quarter was senior Julie Ely, who found the back door under the net three times for six points in the first quarter.
Ely found the basket at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter but Johnsonburg answered on the other end with a layup from sophomore Chelsea Benson and two free throws from junior Brittany Watts.
Ely and Sheffield freshman Jennifer Isenberg scored back-to-back layups near the halfway point to cut the lead to 13-6; Ely would later add another layup with three minutes to play to cut the lead to 13-8.
The next 13 and a half playing minutes were a blur for Sheffield as Johnsonburg went on a 26-0 run that stretched from 3:01 left on the clock in the first quarter to 5:31 on the clock in the third quarter.
"This time, it was one of those games where everything seemed to go our way," Zilkofski said. "I told our players that I wanted to see some fire in their eyes. When you play a team with a losing record, sometimes you tend to play to their level but I wanted to see the intensity that we have when we played Kane or Elk County Catholic.
"We played that way in the second quarter, we hustled a lot and rebounded well, and I was happy overall with that."
The Ramettes closed out the first quarter with a field goal from Watts in the paint, a long jumper just inside the 3-point line from Myers, and one free throw from Benson for an 18-8 lead.
Johnsonburg continued in the second quarter, outscoring the opposition 16-0 as Sheffield never even went to the charity stripe in the quarter.
Fowler got things rolling with her second trey of the night just 20 seconds in and Benson followed with a layup 15 seconds later for a 23-8 lead. Fowler later hit a free throw with 6:18 to go before Watts again delivered in the paint for a 26-8 lead. Benson grabbed a steal on the other end and raced down the floor for an uncontested layup and a 20-point lead before sophomore Kassa Kocjancic knocked down two free throws for a 30-8 advantage. Fowler reached double-figures for the first half with a layup with three minutes to play and Johnsonburg's McKenna Rowles came up with a steal and layup down the stretch for a 34-8 halftime lead.
The streak continued into the third quarter as Myers nailed her second 3-pointer of the game for a 37-8 lead; Benson later complemented the play with a layup for a 39-8 lead. Sheffield got back on the board with Ely's free throw at the 5:31 mark but the score did little to rally the Lady Wolverines. Kocjancic hit a long jumper on the other end before Fowler and Sheffield junior Hannah Vile traded free throws for a 42-10 Johnsonburg lead. Johnsonburg sophomore Kathryn Polaski followed with a jumper and Fowler burst through in the paint for a 46-12 lead.
Sheffield closed out the quarter with a jumper from junior Abby Labesky and a layup from Isenberg to cut the lead to 46-14.
Zilkofski was able to get junior varsity players into the game in the fourth quarter and they enjoyed success down the stretch.
Johnsonburg freshman Ashley Imbrogno got things rolling early with a layup for a 48-14 lead; Watts put in a short jumper from the paint a minute later and Fowler followed with a layup after a turnover for a 52-14 lead as the Ramettes eyed the 40-point mercy clock.
Sheffield junior Ashley Davidson helped close the margin with a free throw with 5:19 left in the game. Lady Wolverine freshman Tierra Hanson followed with a layup to cut the deficit to 52-17 before Johnsonburg junior Lydia Hefright and Imbrogno hit consecutive layups for a 56-17 lead. The Ramettes would get the mercy clock rolling with just 1:08 remaining in the game after freshman Taylor Wolfe emerged from a pile after a turnover for an uncontested layup and a 58-17 lead.
After Sheffield senior Sarah Hoden scored a layup down the stretch, Johnsonburg's Brianna Cardoni was sent to the line where she hit both free throws for a 60-19 win.
"It's always good for the younger girls to get in for some experience at the varsity level," Zilkofski said. "They play a whole JV game but the varsity level is totally different.
"They're still learning the system to be patient and don't force anything; at the JV level, it's really a free-for-all with some organization but at the varsity level, you absolutely must play smart because these wins count and go towards the playoffs. They get in the game and have to realize this counts."
The Ramettes have their sight set on 5-8 DuBois Central Catholic as they come to town Thursday.
"They're always tough, even with a down year," Zilkofski said. "We have to stay focused because the records don't really matter, any given team can win on any night.
"Hopefully this carries over to DCC, then the big game Friday night with ECC."