BY GREG FLINT
CAYUGA, Ind. —
North Vermillion defeated Riverton Parke to take the crown away from the defending sectional champions by the score of 47-33.
The Falcons looked as if the might be in trouble for much of the first half as they were constantly playing catch-up, but in the second half, they pulled away for an easy win.
Riverton Parke took the early lead, but Taylor Turchi had an answer for North Vermillion as she hit a pair of 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 19 points.
Her second trey put the Falcons up 9-8, but the Panthers had 3-point shooters as well. Kori Wood and Makenzie Pollard hit back-to-back three to give their team a 14-9 lead after one quarter.
The Panthers took the lead up to seven as the second quarter started, but Darby Martin hit a pair of free-throws, Turchi hit another three and Kylee Karr made a jumper to tie the game at 16-all.
Emily Virostko and Wood scored six straight for the Panthers to undo the Falcon run, but Turchi hit her fourth three of the half to cut the deficit to three, 22-19, at the half.
It was after the break that everything changed.
“I give credit to the girls,” said Terry Naylor, the North Vermillion head coach. “They told us what was and wasn’t working defensively and made the adjustments on their own.”
The Falcons scored five straight to open the third quarter then Sara Dickey tied the game at 24-all with 6:22 left. Those would be the last points by the Panthers for the next five minutes until she hit another jumper, but in the meantime, North Vermillion added seven more to lead 30-26.
Kinsey West and Martin scored another five before the fourth quarter started to take 35-26 lead in the final period.
Asked what changed, Naylor said it was that they were able to take advantage of matchups and do what they wanted to do.
Karr, who scored 19 the previous night said she did not know how she put in that many points – “I usually score about eight “ – knew exactly why the Falcons were successful after the halftime break.
“We blocked out harder. We pushed the ball harder and we ran harder,” she explained. “We try to run and when we got going they tried to match us and started to force shots. That’s what we wanted them to do and our playing hard forced them into it.”
In the fourth period, Riverton Parke tried to speed up the game, making very few passes and trying to score as fast as possible off the dribble. North Vermillion simply got into good defensive position and stopped the attacks.
The Falcon lead grew to 17 points at 41-26 and Naylor began to pull his starters. The Panthers soon followed suit and the game ended with subs on the floor for both teams.
Asked what the difference was between last night when North Vermillion struggled against Attica and this game where the Falcons took command, Naylor could only scratch his head.
“I don’t know,” he said, accompanying the gesture with a smile. “All I know is we were nervous last night, but not tonight. I don’t know why.”
Karr had her thoughts, saying that when the team saw they were staying with the Panthers, they began to relax and when they got the lead, they felt they were in control.
“We know they like to win big and that’s impressive,” she said. “We’re different. We don’t care if we win big. We just play to win by going out and doing what the coach wants us to do. That’s what we did tonight.”
With the win, the Falcons will face Southern Wells in the noon (Eastern) game at Tri-Central on Saturday. In the early game that day, Lafayette Central Catholic will face Randolph Southern.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org