SALEM — John Diehl has had some great basketball teams over the past decade at Howland.
This year’s edition of the Tigers might be the quickest.
Howland used that speed and pressure defense to frustrate, harass and shut down Salem and its standout player Amy Scullion. The Tigers defense was dominant as Howland ran away with a 50-33 All-American Conference win on Saturday night.
The road victory kept Howland (12-2, 4-0) comfortably in first place in the league race.
The Tigers pressured Salem into 20 turnovers, including nine in the third quarter as Howland turned a tight 20-15 halftime lead into a 15-point margin after three quarters.
Sophomore Taylor Williams did an outstanding job of defending Scullion along with a lot of help from her teammates and held the Quakers leading scorer and rebound in check for most of the contest.
A frustrated and fatigued Scullion had just three points at halftime and seven after three quarters.
The senior did manage to tally 13 points and grab 13 rebounds but was not able to lift the Quakers.
“We call it our net defense,” Diehl said about the defense designed to stop Scullion. “We weren’t about to let her drive to the basket. She loves to drive left and we were definitely trying to stop that with the double teaming.
“Taylor did a real nice job on [Scullion]. It took [Williams] away from the basket and cost her some points and rebounds but her defense was outstanding.”
Diehl said Howland’s pressure may have wore down the Quakers.
“We pressed full court the entire game except at the end and I think that wore them down,” said Diehl. “Defensively we did a real good job tonight.”
Howland put the game away by scoring the first six points of the third quarter to push the lead to 26-15 and Salem struggled to recover.
The Quakers (10-3, 2-2) had trouble getting off many good looks at the basket because of the Howland defense.
Salem shot made just 10 of 29 shots from the field and were only 11 of 20 from the foul line.
“After halftime for whatever reason they came out and turned up the pressure a little bit and we kind of stumbled,” said Salem coach Jeff Andres
Diehl said Howland has the kind of speed at every position that can bother opponents.
“We said at the beginning of the year that this is probably the quickest team I’ve ever had here,” said Diehl.
Three Tigers scored in double figures led by sophomore Erika Nites with 15 points.
Williams, who leads the team in scoring, tallied 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Kaylee Redon was a force as well for the Tigers as she scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.