Honeycutt nets career-best 23 points in Pioneer win over Skyline
Janese Honeycutt led the Pioneer High School girls basketball team Tuesday night with a 23-point, 10-rebound performance in a 56-37 win over rival Skyline.
“Wherever we put her, she tries to be the best on the floor," said Pioneer coach Crystal Westfield. "She was all over the place. She did a good job on (Janae) Sims."
Honeycutt’s 23 points was a career high. She helped spark the Pioneer offense early in the first quarter scoring seven of the team’s 12 points in the opening stanza.
Westfield said Honeycutt's versatility was a key tonight for the team who struggled with the press from Skyline early on.
Honeycutt helped put Pioneer (6-7, 4-2 SEC Red) in the lead of what was a close game late into the first half.
“I thought we did a great job in the first half being in position and moving our feel,” said Skyline head coach Keith Wade.
Despite talking about it before the game, Pioneer failed to box out and stay out of foul trouble early, which helped the Eagles (3-11, 0-6) stick around.
With just over two minutes left in the first half, Pioneer lead 19-17 when Skyline fell apart. Three consecutive turnovers by the Eagles led to a 6-0 run leaving Skyline trailing 25-17 at the break.
“This was by far our poorest performance,” said Wade. “We played well up until the last two minutes of the half.”
Wade said his team continues to lose its composure when it faces adversity and cannot seem to ever overcome a deficit because of it. Combined with unforced errors, the Eagles never got back in the game after going down by eight.
The Eagles were led on offense by Anita Vandermeulen who had eight points. Leading scorer Janae Sims was held to just five points, more than six below her average.
Coming out of the break, Westfield wanted her team to be aggressive and not allow Skyline to climb back into the game.
Westfield pointed to the play of Desiree Cougill and Emily Turner in the second half as strong points for her club.
“Her (Cougill) points don’t show it, but she was a force. She was the difference on the boards for us,” said Westfield.
Cougill finished the game with five points and 10 rebounds. Turner had 13 points and four steals, but also helped her team with Skyline’s pressure.
"We got good minutes and good decisions out of (Turner),” said Westfield.
Pioneer would take a 39-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We were out of position and giving up easy baskets,” Wade said.
Westfield said her team did a much better of job of not turning the ball over for the majority of the second half, which helped her team stay in rhythm and put pressure on Skyline.
With the win, the Pioneers improved to 6-7 on the season and 4-2 in SEC Red play. Skyline dropped to 3-11 on the year and has yet to win a conference game at 0-6.
Westfield said she wasn’t surprised by the career-night out of Honeycutt.
"All her hard work that she put in this year is paying off," Westfield said.