The holiday break is not a favorite amongst most coaches. Without a doubt, they recognize not only the need, but importance of taking time off to celebrate important things with family. But, it is a major disruption in the rhythm of the season. The disruption was noticeable in the Malcolm girls’ 42-32 win on Jan. 3 at Louisville.

“It was just an ugly night of basketball,” Malcolm head coach Andy Klepper said. “I think it had a lot to do with the holiday break and us not being in our normal routine.”

What was working early was the Clippers’ full-court press. The Malcolm defense held the Lions to just five first-half points as it went into the break up 18-5.

“We jumped on them early and got some steals that we turned into points,” Klepper said. “But, sometimes when we get up early, we tend to let up and that happened.”

The Lions got back in the game by taking advantage of the Clippers’ lack of defensive intensity in the third quarter as well as an injury to Ashlynn Sehi. The junior post player injured her hand in the first half and sat the rest of the night.

“We weren’t sure the extent of the injury,” Klepper said. “But we’ve had recent experience with hand injuries and decided to play it safe and keep her out.”

With the experienced Sehi on the bench, Louisville’s Faye Jacobsen used her height advantage to get the Lions back in the game. The 6-1 senior had five offensive rebounds and a pair of assists to help cut the Malcolm lead to just six.

With the lead down to single digits, Jordan Denton hit a big three-pointer to give the Clippers some breathing room.

“That was important,” Klepper said. “They had gone on a run and we were on our heels a bit before Jordan knocked that shot down.”

Alyssa Fortik led the Clippers with 10 points and four assists while fellow freshman Diamond Sedlak added eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“We’re getting some nice production out of a few freshmen,” Klepper said. “That’s good to have on the nights when some of our upperclassmen are struggling.”

One veteran who stepped up and had a productive night was Jasmine Small. The junior guard got her first start of the season and came through with nine points and two steals.

“Jasmine helped get us going with some early scoring off the press,” Klepper said. “It was good to see her step in and play well.”

The Clippers (7-2) play host to Palmyra (0-9) on Thursday, Jan. 9, before taking the short road trip to No. 5 Milford (7-3) on Friday, Jan. 10.

“It would be easy for us to look ahead to Milford and lose focus Thursday,” Klepper said. “We can’t let that happen. If we play poorly against Palmyra, it will carry over to Friday and that won’t be good.”

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