The North Decatur varsity basketball team won its season opener Friday, beating host Union County 44-25. The Lady Chargers have beaten the Lady Patriots in each of their past three meetings.
Head coach Brad Bryant applauded his team’s execution afterward.
“Overall, for our first game, it was a nice, solid performance,” he said. “UC has a new coach and is returning four starters from last year’s team, so we knew we had to be ready. Our first quarter of play really established things for the night.”
North led 18-6 after the first quarter, and continued good play throughout the first half to take a 33-10 halftime lead.
Leading North’s early surge was senior Jenna Meyer, who scored 12 points in the first quarter and 18 by the half. She also had 12 rebounds at halftime and ended up with a game-high 22 points, 15 rebounds and eight steals.
“Jenna Meyer did a great job of coming out and making sure the Chargers were settled down and ready to play from the get-go,” said Bryant. “She had a great all-round game!”
Foul trouble prevented junior starters Andrea Volk and Myra Steele from playing at all in the second quarter.
“One area that I hope is a strength all season long is our bench,” said Bryant. “Against UC, we got in a lot of foul trouble in the first quarter.”
Bryant said senior Veronica Yager, as well as juniors Emma Geis and Abby Lamb, came off the bench and did an outstanding job. In 22 minutes of play, Geis made one 3-pointer and unofficially had five steals.
“Emma, especially, we felt did a really nice job,” said Bryant. “After hurting her knee back in January and being out of for almost nine months, I thought she was a real calming factor and made a lot of really good decisions. Veronica Yager also did a nice job of helping take care of the basketball, playing defense, and scored two points.”
Lamb knocked down a triple and a 2-pointer for five points.
“Abby is definitely one we feel that, as she gets more and more comfortable, can be a nice scoring threat off the bench for us,” said Bryant. “She is an excellent shooter.”
Junior Anna Wallpe started her first varsity game, scoring eight points and grabbing seven rebounds.
“Anna Wallpe did an excellent job,” said Bryant. “We really like a lot of things that she does. She has great hands. Like a few others, once she gets comfortable being a varsity player, we expect big things out of her.”
Senior Cindy Krieger, according to Bryant, contributed another very solid performance. Krieger led the team in minutes played with 27, and contributed the most on the defensive end. She tallied five steals and led North with four deflections.
“Cindy is so quick and strong,” said Bryant. “She is also very long on defense. In both our man and zone, Cindy caused a lot of problems. What I look forward to most out of Cindy as the season progresses is her offensive output. We have worked a lot in the off season with getting Cindy to look to score more. Last season when we played really well, was when Cindy was scoring.”
Facing foul trouble, Bryant said North did not press in the second half and relied more on zone defense.
“I felt like we became a little stagnant offensively,” he said. “We didn’t look to push the ball like we want. We just kind of maintained. As a coach you want to see your team continue to play hard. UC could have very easily come out and knocked in a few shots and made it a different game. However, I cannot complain about our defense. We were a little over aggressive in the first half in our man defense. We just have to learn to play hard without fouling. We haven’t been much of a zone team the last few years, but I think our zone definitely gave them some problems."
Scoring: Meyer 22, Anna Wallpe 8, Lamb 5, Volk 4, Geis 3, Yager 2, Krieger 2.
Free throws: Meyer 8-11, Krieger 2-2, Wallpe 2-5.
North next plays Thursday night against visiting Batesville.
“Batesville has a very good team, so we are looking forward to this early season test,” said Bryant.
The Lady Chargers next visit South Decatur Saturday at 6:30 p.m., varsity only.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.