In the wake of the North Decatur girls basketball team’s 57-49 home-opening loss to Batesville Thursday, head coach Brad Bryant used the game to illustrate areas it needs to strengthen and help it realize its potential.
North had fallen to Batesville by 19 points last year and 20 points the year before, but Bryant did not consider Thursday’s close loss a moral victory.
“This is a game that comes down to finishing – that fourth quarter – believing that you can get over the hump against a good team like Batesville,” he said. “You can’t hope that you’ll get lucky. It was a close, tough game for three quarters. You just can’t hope for dumb luck.”
North held its own against the Class 3A visitors for the majority of the first three quarters. After falling behind 11-4, junior Emma Geis closed the gap with a 3-pointer. The first quarter ended with North trailing just 13-9. The margin fluctuated between two and four points until senior Jenna Meyer tied it at 21-all with a rebound basket. Batesville led 24-23 at halftime.
North (1-1) climbed ahead by one point on two occasions early in the second half. Junior Anna Wallpe’s layup on North’s first possession made it 25-24. The Lady Chargers cut into a Bulldog run with baskets from Wallpe and junior Myra Steele. Meyer then hit a layup to put North back on top 31-30 with 5:03 left in the third quarter. After Batesville answered back, North could only tie the game one more time. Junior Andrea Volk’s steal and score knotted it at 35-all with 2:45 left in the third.
Volk’s triple to begin the fourth-quarter scoring made it 41-39, but not before Batesville went on an 11-2 spurt. Four more points from Meyer and a Geis score off senior Cindy Krieger’s steal was not enough.
According to Bryant, Batesville (1-1) applied its press in the third quarter and went to more of it in the fourth.
“Consistently throughout the game, too many unforced turnovers,” he said. “Not that we couldn’t handle their press, we work on press all the time. No matter what we do, we look as if we’re in slow motion sometimes. We don’t do things with energy sometimes. That’s not just about Batesville. That is this week. There were a lot of minutes this game that we played the way we practiced.”
Meyer scored a game-high 18 points and junior Anna Wallpe added all of her six points in the third quarter. Although they combined for 24 points, Bryant noted the need for them and junior Alison Wallpe to get the ball more.
“I really don’t think we’re getting them enough touches,” he said. “Anna had moments where she played hard and played with energy, and did some good things for us in the third quarter.”
Geis scored seven points, Volk scored six and senior Veronica Yager added five. Steele scored four and junior Abby Lamb chipped in a 3-pointer.
Bryant said a big key to the loss was Batesville’s rebounding advantage, as he lamented Batesville’s second-chance points from its guards.
“All hustle points went Batesville’s way,” he said. “The key was defensive rebounding, that they could get second opportunities. Their guards do a great job of going to the glass. That’s what we scouted. We let their guards go to the basket way too much to get rebounds, second and third opportunities. It’s going to be interesting to see the stats. The key was rebounding.”
North committed 21 fouls compared to Batesville’s 19. North shot 10-for-19 from the foul line, while Batesville shot 17-for-33.
Bryant said he does not want to see his team’s opportunity to grow and improve go to waste.
“One of these days, and I hope it’s this group, they’re going to wake up and realize that we can beat good basketball teams, and compete with any team we face,” he said.
The North junior varsity team fell 36-28 in the first game.
North will travel to South Decatur Saturday night for the right to retain the Civil War trophy.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.