BY GREG FLINT
CAYUGA, Ind. —
Westville traveled to North Vermillion and fell to the Falcons in girls’ basketball by the score of 55-33.
It was the season opener for the Tigers and they showed some early jitters when they tried to mount an attack. The team took a few hurried shots — mostly misses — that allowed the Falcons to get their running game going.
After Ashley Hoffman scored the first basket of the game to put Westville in front 2-0, North Vermillion came back with a 17-2 run before Ji’Cee Lacey hit a lay-up for the Tigers just before the horn sounded to end the first quarter.
In that period, it was often Taylor Turchi hitting Darby Martin for a lay-up or taking the ball to the hole after a steal that allowed the Falcons to open the big lead.
“I thought Turchi really saw the floor well in that first half,” said North Vermillion head coach Terry Naylor. “I think her decision-making was excellent.”
The Tigers seemed to relax a little as the game moved into the second quarter, but North Vermillion continued to increase their lead. This time it was Shawnacee Bowman and Mikayla Kinneer who put many of the points on the board for the Falcons.
At the half, North Vermillion led 37-19, but after the intermission, Westville seemed like almost a new team when they returned to the court.
“We relaxed out there and got mentally tougher,” said Tiger coach Mike Chandler. “We shored up some things defensively and on offense, we made some adjustments to what they were doing.”
The Falcon lead grew to 24 points, but then Westville began to cut into the margin, making small runs that began to eat into the North Vermillion lead.
After a Turchi trey made it 50-24, the Tigers went on an 8-0 run to make the score 50-32 after three quarters. They then came out and scored another point from the free throw line to open the fourth
As Chandler pointed out, the Westville defense had become stronger. Martin finally hit a lay-up almost two minutes into the fourth quarter to end a 5:40 scoring drought.
As the game drew to a close, the two teams traded baskets and began to substitute bench players so the Falcon lead stayed near the 20-point level for the remainder of the game.
Naylor liked much of what he saw from his team.
“This is the best I’ve seen for assists,” he said. “We put in a new offense in the first quarter and got some good high-low out of it.”
One thing that bothered him was his guards all getting into early foul trouble.
“They get a couple of early fouls because they’re too aggressive,” he explained. “They need to play smarter, but, still, I’d rather have them aggressive than not.”
As is always the case after a season opener, there were plenty of things, both good and bad, for Chandler to see.
“I liked how we adjusted and got tougher after that first half,” he said. “Overall, we did some good things, but we’ve also got some things to fix.”
Asked about practice, Chandler said his team gets no practice in the near term, as his squad plays games both Friday and Saturday, meaning it will be next week before they can really practice.
“We’ll do some walk-throughs,” he said, “But we can’t really change much. But after a playing a couple of games, I think we’ll be better than we were tonight, even without the practice time.”