Mel Swanson cut right to the chase when he summed up his Lady Wildcats' early struggles on Thursday evening.
"We had too many days off," he said. "We haven't done anything in four days. They needed a break, but obviously it (showed)."
Luckily, however, he's got some players who can, rather quickly, shake off the rust of inaction.
Sherman’s Elle Reed shoots over Southwestern’s Sara Rauh during a first-round basketball game in the Jock Shop Holiday Shootout at Jamestown Community College on Thursday. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
After an opening period in which the Lady Wildcats went 0 of 14 from the field and scored just five points - all by virtue of the free throw - standout Elle Reed found the range over the next three quarters, leading Sherman to a 47-35 victory over Southwestern in the opening round of the Jock Shop Holiday Shootout at Jamestown Community College's Physical Education Complex.
Sherman, which remained unbeaten at 5-0, will now square off against Ellicottville (3-2), a 58-36 winner over Cassadaga Valley in the other opening-round game, at 7:45 p.m. today.
Reed, who accounted for all five of Sherman's first-period points, poured in 10 of the team's 17 in the second, 14 of 16 in the third and four of nine in the fourth for a grand total of 33 points. She also pulled down 16 rebounds, made seven steals and dished four assists.
This marked the fourth straight game in which the senior has scored at least 30 points, and the third straight contest in which she has recorded at least 11 rebounds.
In short, it was pretty much a run-of-the-mill evening for one of the area's best.
"Day after day," Swanson said with a smile. "She's a workhorse."
Sherman, however, wasn't the only one that struggled to get back into the swing of things early on.
Southwestern missed its first nine shots - it finished 2 of 12 for the quarter - on the way to equaling Sherman's total of five points.
But while Reed and teammate Bridget Yaw, who tallied all seven of her points in the second quarter for the Lady Wildcats, bounced back after one quarter of less-than-stellar play, it took Southwestern a little longer. The Lady Trojans followed their five-point output in the first with an eight-point total in the second to trail at the break, 22-13.
"We were a little cold from the outside (early)," Southwestern coach Anne Beck said. "On any given night any one of my girls can score so they've got the green light. We just struggled a little bit, but most of the time they make (their shots) so I didn't have a problem with the shot selection or anything like that."
Beck's squad started to find its stride in the third quarter as four different players found the bottom of the net on the way to tallying 11 points - their highest total of the night.
Unfortunately for them, however, Reed was hitting her stride as well.
The point guard began the period by stepping in front of a Southwestern pass and hitting a 3-pointer (one of her five on the night) in transition. She then hit a pair of free throws, scored a fast-break layup, netted a pair of offensive rebounds down low and finished it all off with a trey from straightaway center after her defender, Jenna Yuchnitz, gave her just a tad too much space at the top of the arc.
"I liked our defense tonight," Beck said, "but what we learned is that against a player like Elle, you can't have a lull at all. For the most part Jenna did a pretty good job on her, but she's not used to a player that you have to guard the moment she steps into the gym, because if you give her a foot she's going to take a shot."
Together with Reed's 14, Katrina Christmas chipped in with her lone bucket of the evening to give Sherman a solid, 14-point advantage, 38-24, heading into the fourth period.
Southwestern, which also had some difficulties at the free throw line (9 of 17) did it's best to cut the deficit, pulling to within 12 thanks to some late-game "intensity" (as Beck called it) by Emily Wuebbolt, who led the Lady Trojans with 10 points and 14 rebounds. But Reed connected on one final triple and then Danielle Reed sunk a trey of her own with a little more than two minutes remaining to extinguish, once and for all, any Southwestern hopes of a comeback.
NOTES: Julia Rater followed Elle Reed with seven rebounds. ... Along with Wuebbolt, Alex Sullivan had 10 points and a pair of steals. ... Southwestern faces Cassadaga Valley at 6 p.m., in the tournament's consolation game.
E. Reed 9 10 33, Yaw 3 0 7, D. Reed 1 0 3, Christmas 1 0 2, Delcamp 1 0 2. Totals 15 10 47.
Wuebbolt 2 6 10, Agarwala 1 2 4, Sullivan 5 0 11, Yuchnitz 3 0 6, O'Boyle 1 0 2, Schutte 1 0 2. Totals 13 9 35.
3-point goals: E. Reed 5, D. Reed, Yaw, Sullivan.
Sherman5 17 16 9 - 47
Southwestern5 8 11 11 - 35