The North Decatur girls basketball team celebrated an individual milestone Saturday in a team win at Switzerland County.
During the first quarter of her team’s 53-39 win over the Pacers, North senior Jenna Meyer reached the 1,000-point benchmark with her seventh point of the night. Meyer had entered the game with 994 points, and currently stands at 1,017 in her fourth year starting on varsity.
She scored 23 points, including 10 in the first quarter. Jill Morton is North’s career scoring leader with 1,656 points, and Rosanne Bohman is second with 1,263.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for Jenna,” said North head coach Brad Bryant. “I am extremely proud of her and what she has accomplished, and the goals she still wants her team to accomplish this season. Since taking over the girls’ program three years ago, I have never been around a kid who loves basketball more than Jenna. She has worked so hard for so many years. It has been an honor to be her coach.”
North took an 18-10 lead before the end of the first quarter Saturday. The Lady Chargers led 21-11 at the half, and 31-23 after three quarters. North then pulled away with a 12-6 run in the last eight minutes.
North is now 6-5 after the first 11 games. The Lady Chargers had entered the week 3-5.
“This has been a great week for us,” said Bryant. “We have been trying to set some short term goals. Like everyone, we talk about long term goals, but if you don’t take care of the here-and-now, you can’t accomplish those long-term goals. A few weeks back, I made the comment that there was no reason to talk about winning a sectional for now. We had to just focus on the next practice and the next game. I think our girls have bought into that. They have worked really hard to get back over .500 and 2-0 in the conference. I am really proud of what all we have done at this point. If you just look at this week. We have been without senior Cindy Krieger for almost three weeks. She is possibly our top defender. Then we lose a second starter for the Waldron and Switzerland County game, who is our second-leading scorer and one of our best defenders, and essentially lose a third due to an injury. The third starter only saw a few minutes in both the Waldron and Switz game.”
Given the absence of players for various reasons, Bryant said junior Myra Steele has given North quality minutes in the past two games.
“Myra Steele gutted it out for 15 minutes at Waldron, and for four minutes against Switz,” he said. “Our bench really stepped up once again. Our bench has definitely been a strength since game one.”
Senior Veronica Yager scored nine points off the bench against Waldron, and junior Abby Lamb hit a pair of 3-pointers and nine points off the bench.
Lamb followed it up with a career-high 13 points against Switz, hitting a trio of three’s.
“She is really starting to gain a lot of confidence,” said Bryant. He added that the inside presence of Meyer and junior Anna Wallpe, the perimeter shooting of Lamb and junior Andrea Volk, along with Yager, and the growth of freshman Mary Hughes, have helped North discover an offensive identity.
“We are becoming a better offensive team every day,” he said. “I hope we keep heading in that direction. The girls just need to realize what has gotten them to this point and keep working at it.”
Bryant credited junior Emma Geis for helping North limit its turnovers to 15. Geis committed only two turnovers in more than 20 minutes of play. She added one point Saturday.
“Emma turned in a solid performance of taking care of the ball and being our floor general,” he said. “She played very well offensively, and especially defensively.”
Freshman Mary Hughes played solid offensively in just her second varsity start. She scored seven points, coming off a career-high 12, and has shot 14-for-18 from the foul line in the past two games.
“Mary gives us that added threat,” said Bryant. “She can hit the three and score off the drive. She is doing a very good job.”
Anna Wallpe, noted Bryant, had another “solid” game with nine points and eight rebounds. She shot 6-for-9 from the foul line.
“This is another thing I like about Anna’s game. She is a very good free throw shooter,” said Bryant.
Meyer finished the game with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
North, according to Bryant, is proving that it is not just a one-trick pony with Meyer.
“Jenna Meyer had another very good game,” he said. “I think as the season continues to progress, teams are going to realize you cannot focus just on Jenna. I know that is what they will do. I know teams will still say, ‘Shut down Meyer and you can beat the Chargers.’ Well, with what we have shown the past week or so, we are becoming a team that has several threats. We just have to maintain that consistency. What I like so much with Jenna is that she knows she is going to get that kind of attention every time we play a game. Her game has developed to the point where she doesn’t just have to stay in the paint where it is easy to double and triple team her. Stepping out on the court has made her harder to defend.”
North has won four of its past five after starting the season at 1-3. The improvement is not lost on Bryant.
“I just really like what our kids are doing right now,” he said. “Early in the season we had a reality check and we have responded. In that game we had something like 35 turnovers. Since that game we have only gone over 20 one time. Another thing our kids realize is important is getting to the free throw line. Against Oldenburg we only shot two free throws and get beat one. In the five games to follow, we have shot 31, 23, 22, 29, and 24. At the same time, we are keeping our opponents off the foul line. Whatever happens the rest of the season, this is what I like the most about these kids. They learn from their mistakes and want to get better.”
North JV girls fall to Pacers
The North junior varsity squad fell to the Pacers 32-23 in the first game.
North trailed 11-8 after the first quarter and 26-11 at the half, but outscored Switz 6-0 in the fourth.
North shot 7-for-8 from the foul line.
Scoring: Alison Wallpe 10, Morgan Nobbe 6, Sam Krieger 4, Megan Hoover 2, Laura Haunert 1.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.