HAMMOND | When Logansport junior Whitney Jennings hit the bottom of the basketball frame, grabbed the rebound and was fouled on the follow-through, that's when the game changed.
E.C. Central was ahead by 12 points, but Jennings' three-point play that was part of a game-high 30 points helped spark a 15-0 run that eventually gave the Berries a 57-53 win over the Cardinals. Jennings, an Iowa recruit, was named MVP of the Times Region Roundball Rumble game at the Hammond Civic Center.
"I thought that was a huge, huge play in the game,'" E.C. Central coach Eric Kundich said. "It could have been up to 14 and now it's nine. She got them back in the game real quick."
Until that point, which came with 6:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals (6-8) had dominated the Class 4A fifth-ranked Berries (13-1). E.C. Central outrebounded Logansport 25-19 in the first half and was forcing the Berries into quick turnovers in the third quarter.
Jerry Hoover, formerly the boys basketball coach at Lake Central and now the Logansport girls coach, gave his team a one-word directive at halftime.
"Box out!" said both Whitney and Rachel Jennings, who combined for 41 points.
"We're undersized against a lot of teams we play, but that's no excuse for not boxing out," Whitney Jennings said. "Anybody can box out against anybody, so that's no excuse and we need to work on that."
"We got a couple turnovers and we were able to start playing a little bit," Hoover added. "We're a better running team than we are just standing around. We're good when we get into running mode."
Whitney Jennings picked up 16 of her 30 points in a 22-point fourth quarter for the Berries. Rachel Jennings had six of her 11 points on two 3s that were part of the 15-0 run.
"(Whitney) can take over a game, there's no question about that," Kundich said. "I was real impressed with her quickness and first step, she can get to the basket with ease. She's the real deal."
E.C. Central sophomore Tiajaney Hawkins notched the game's only double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Dariyelle Ricks added 14 points for the Cardinals, including six points and an assist as part of a 12-2 run that put E.C. Central up by 12 points with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter.
"We just have to get over the hump and win one of these big games," Kundich said.