Northmor defense leads them to win
By ROB HAMILTON
After only winning one game the entirety of last year, the Northmor Lady Knights started the 2012–13 season with three straight wins.
On Thursday, Northmor picked up the third of those victories by a 50–18 margin over Mount Gilead. A stingy pressure defense held the Indians to a mere two tallies in the first half, as the Knights opened up a commanding 28–2 lead.
“I can’t allow people to get past half court,” said Knight coach John Smith about his team’s press. “When we let up a bit, they scored. We do know we have 10 sets of legs that can go crazy.”
In each of the first two quarters, the Indians were only able to get one free throw from Jennifer Brey. Compounding their offensive issues, the team only connected on two of 13 attempts from the foul line in that half.
Indian coaches Larry Leach and Lindsey Brokaw are still working to learn their team, due to an unexpected series of events. The team’s original head coach, Robyn Meinking, resigned shortly before the season started and junior varsity coach Gerry Hartman led the team into their first game of the season before the two were hired four days before the contest with the Knights.
“We’ve been getting to know the girls well,” said Leach. “We have to adjust to what they have in place. It’s not fair, what happened to them, so we try to come in and make a difference and try to improve day by day.”
Northmor also struggled for much of the early going, as they only hit one field goal (by Kyndall Williams) and scored three points in the opening seven minutes of the game.
However, in the final minute of the first quarter, Taylor Shirley hit a free throw and both Shelbie Wiseman and Shirley added field goals to give the team a 9–1 lead after eight minutes.
With the score 11–2 roughly four minutes into the second period, Northmor got untracked offensively, finishing the half on a 17–0 run. Lauren Bood sparked the Knights, scoring eight points during that time to lead them to a 28–2 advantage.
Smith noted that with the way he plays 10 girls, there is the opportunity for anyone to step up during any one game.
“The way this group is, success breeds success,” he said. “If someone shoots and makes it, others think they can, too. Lauren only played about four minutes against Buckeye Central (on Tuesday). With 10 kids who can play that way, you have to go with the hot hand sometimes.”
Amanda Bush scored Mount Gilead’s first field goal to open the third quarter, but six points by Williams helped the Knights increase their lead to a 35–4 margin. They would go on to take a 41–8 lead into the fourth quarter. While Mount Gilead got four points from Shelby Rizor in the fourth quarter and outscored the Knights 10–9, they would be unable to overcome their deficit.
Bood led the Knights with 13 points, while both Shirley and Williams finished with nine. Mount Gilead got four points each from Brey and Rizor.
The Indian coaches noted that their team showed a lot of heart in the game, giving them something to build on.
“I thought we played defense really well at times,” said Leach; while Brokaw added, “They kept their ground and worked hard.”
For Smith and the Knights, simply getting out to a 3–0 start after last season is reason to celebrate.
“We were 1–20 last year and honestly, there were lots of times we didn’t get to 20 points,” he said. “We’re still young and some experienced teams will be able to handle what we do, but this is a good start.”