Defense Lights it Up
A GlenOak defense led by athletic 6-2 Shelby Henkel puts the hammer on Green in a 49-31 district semifinal win at Walsh University. Somebody forgot to tell GlenOak’s 6-2 post Shelby Henkel to slow down and wait Monday. Henkel ran Green ragged on offense and defense in the Golden Eagles’ 49-31 win in a Division I district semifinal at Walsh University. She scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked five shots and played a team-high 30 minutes to help GlenOak (22-2) into Thursday’s 7 p.m. title game against Jackson (15-10). “She’s actually a guard,” GlenOak head coach Paul Wackerly joked after watching Henkel’s feats such as getting a steal at two-thirds court and dribble-driving it to the hole or chasing down a Bulldog guard from behind to get a swat.
But where Henkel and GlenOak shined Monday was on defense. Henkel hounded Green 6-footer Madison Jackson into an 0-for-8 night from the floor and kept her scoreless. The rest of the fearless Golden Eagles limited the Bulldogs to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters and to 26.7 percent (12 of 45) shooting from the floor.“She can run,” Wackerly said of Henkel. “She’s a great defensive player. She may not score a lot of points, but I’ll tell you what, she can flat out play defense. “She’s fun to watch. I enjoy her.” Henkel racing helter-skelter for her block from behind had the GlenOak fans on their feet, cheering. “We don’t want them to score in the paint,” Henkel said. “We really try and pack it in and make sure they can’t score.”
GlenOak didn’t score as much as usual, thanks to a Green defense that was exceptionally tough and methodical. But it shot to a 9-1 lead and then took the game for good with a 15-0 run in the third quarter, holding Green scoreless until Abbie Pence’s bucket with 1:10 left. Polk did the main damage for GlenOak’s offense. The sophomore hit two 3s in a seven-point second quarter to give her team a 24-16 halftime lead. Her drive down the lane to start the third quarter started the run and her fastbreak jumper in the lane made it 35-16. Polk even got her own free throw miss and was fouled, making one of two shots to finish with a team-best 13 points. Mills had 10 points to match Henkel, with Repp adding nine to the mix. Green had only three players score until the final minutes. Guard Julia Guyton dropped in a game-high 18, half coming on 3 for 3 shooting from beyond the arc.
But this night belonged to the GlenOak defense. “We’re so much better (now),” Henkel said. “We started off shaky in the beginning (of the year). We weren’t working as a team. Now we’ve come together and really picked it up.” Henkel showed Monday that, even at 6-2, she can pick them up and lay them down when it comes to running the court.