WINTERSVILLE - With four ties and seven lead changes in the first 15 minutes and 50 seconds of the Indian Creek and John Marshall girls basketball game on Wednesday, the advantageous spark came with two ticks before halftime.
Bre Berryman, the Redskins' 6-foot-5 junior, stole a pass at halfcourt, took three dribbles in, set her feet and fired a long 3-pointer which banked off the backboard as the buzzer sounded to give Indian Creek a 25-24 halftime lead.
"We drew that up," Redskins coach Erin DeSantis said, laughing. "It was picture perfect."
DRIBBLE DRIVE — Indian Creek’s Bethany Davis dribbles around John Marshall’s Haley Cunningham during Thursday’s 66-53 Redskins victory.
-- Matthew Peaslee
Creek held the lead for the entire second half to complete a 66-53 win at home.
It was Berryman's first game back since taking a class trip to Paris last week. Teammates Jenna Callahan and Kristen Shimko were also on the mini French vacation.
"I just threw it up," Berryman said of the last-second heave. "After that shot it kind of made me excited and I just went from there.
"It didn't take long to get adjusted. It all clicked in the second half."
Berryman scored a game-high 31 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked seven shots. Senior Kiarra Kamarec added 10 points with 10 rebounds.
"Coming in, I knew they were a load," said John Marshall coach Mark McCormick. "The gameplan was to put it into our tempo. We're a quicker team overall, so I wanted to push the tempo.
"At the same time, I wanted to sit back in a 2-3 zone because that's where our strength is at. We did a good job of that in the first half."
The Monarch's largest lead was six early on as they forced five Redskin turnovers in the first three minutes. They held Creek scoreless until Kamarec's jump shot at the 5:07 mark of the first.
The Redskins (11-6) made just four of 14 field goal attempts in the first quarter.
"I wanted us to be a little bit more patient offensively," DeSantis said. "We were getting some nice looks, but we were bringing the ball down and shooting off the first pass. (John Marshall) was kicking out and they were getting some easy lay ups. That was the difference."
Indian Creek outscored the Monarchs (9-6), 19-8, in the third quarter and took a 15-point lead early in the fourth when Bethany Davis picked up a steal and went the distance as she was fouled on a successful lay up. After converting the foul shot, the Redskins were up 51-36 and eventually had their biggest lead at 17 points.
Davis finished with 19 points, eight assists and two steals.
"We have to do a better job of stopping Ms. Davis," McCormick said. "We have to cut her off before they score in transition."
The Monarchs get that chance tonight as they host Indian Creek.
"Hopefully our spacing is a little bit better and we look to keep attacking a little more," McCormick said. "We can't let it get away from us again. When (Creek) forced us into a full-court man, it just became a lob fest down to Berryman and Kamarec."
Tori Darrow led John Marshall with 18 points and Bailey Philbin added 11 with eight rebounds. Even with a tremendous height advantage, the Redskins only held a 35-31 lead in rebounds.
Creek looks for its third win in a row as it beat Union Local, 41-38, on Monday to secure the No. 3 spot in Class 5A for the OVAC Tournament.
"That was a big win for us," DeSantis said. "It made them believe that we can win as a team and we don't need to rely on one or two people and you just can't run away. They've all stepped up nicely."
Ashley Durbin added six points with three steals for the Redskins and Karli Celestin recorded a steal and an assist.
Indian Creek 66, John Marshall 53
John Marshall 10 14 8 21 53
Indian Creek 9 16 19 22 66
JOHN MARSHALL (9-6): George 1 2-3 4, Philbin 5 0-2 11, Namath 4 1-2 10, Cunningham 2 3-4 8, Darrow 8 1-3 18, Patrick 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 20-69 7-14 53. 3-pointers: Namath, Cunningham, Darrow. Rebounds: 31 (Darrow 8). Steals: 10 (George 3). Assists: 6 (George 2, Cunningham 2). Turnovers: 14.
INDIAN CREEK: Davis 7 5-9 19, Kamarec 3 4-6 10, Durbin 3 0-0 6, Berryman 14 2-2 31. TOTALS: 27-53. 3-pointers: Berryman. Rebounds: 35 (Berryman 16). Steals: 9 (Durbin 3). Assists: 15 (Davis 8). Blocks: 8 (Berryman 7). Turnovers: 16.