The North Decatur girls basketball team scored a 61-45 win in its conference opener Tuesday over visiting Eastern Hancock.
In a game of mini-runs, the Lady Chargers led 31-27 at halftime before falling behind in the third quarter.
North began the game on an 8-0 run, fueled by four points from senior Jenna Meyer. She and junior Andrea Volk combined for 45 points on the night. Junior Anna Wallpe scored three points in the first quarter, including a free throw that opened up a 14-2 lead for North.
The Lady Chargers, now 3-4, held the Lady Royals scoreless beyond the first two minutes, but Eastern Hancock rallied with eight straight points to close the first quarter 14-10. North failed to score in the final four minutes of the opening period.
Eastern Hancock maintained the four-point margin into halftime, matching North point-for-point in the second quarter. Meyer led North with 12 first-half points, while Volk’s eight and Wallpe’s seven led the rest of the scorers at the break.
The Royals claimed a short-lived 38-37 lead after three quarters by scoring 11 of the 17 points out of the break. A 3-pointer with less than a minute to go pushed the visitors ahead by one, their first lead of the game.
Meyer ensured her team would not falter. She converted a 3-point play at the 7:05 mark of the final quarter, making it 40-38. Senior Veronica Yager then assisted Meyer 30 seconds later, helping fuel a 24-7 outburst. Volk scored 10 points in the final five minutes, while Meyer scored nine in the fourth period. Freshman Mary Hughes capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with less than two seconds left.
Head coach Brad Bryant recalled making a point before the game that Eastern Hancock is a new Mid-Hoosier Conference opponent.
“That’s one of the things we had to emphasize, how important it was as a conference game,” he said.
Meyer led her team with a season-high 25 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter during a 24-7 run. Volk scored a career-high 20 points, including 10 in the crucial fourth period. The last time two different Lady Chargers each scored 20 points was the fourth game of last season. Meyer and senior Heather Hayden had each scored 20 points.
Junior Anna Wallpe followed with eight points. Bryant credited Wallpe’s season-long consistency.
“Anna’s just been solid, solid, solid from game one,” he said of the reserve center.
Junior Myra Steele and freshman guard Mary Hughes each added three, while junior Abby Lamb chipped in two.
Bryant said Volk and senior point guard Veronica Yager had their best games as a Charger, pointing out Yager’s control of the basketball and command of the offense.
“When our guards early on were struggling out there, Veronica did some good things,” he said. “She was a calming factor for us on the floor. Her hands were active, getting deflections and a couple of steals. It’s definitely the best game she played as a varsity basketball player.”
He commented on what helped Volk break out offensively.
“I’m just really happy with what she’s done in the last few weeks,” said Bryant. “She was looking to shoot the three a lot in the first two weeks. Recently, though, she hasn’t hesitated to score inside. She’s starting to get to the basket under control.”
Bryant credited Yager and Hughes with making adjustments when the Royals elevated their press.
“We got off to a great start tonight,” he said, “but they started coming out with a press and half-court trap.” North was able to break the press with longer sideline and diagonal passes.
“We settled down and we me some good decisions with where we wanted to get the basketball,” said Bryant. “When Eastern Hancock wanted to keep pressing, we did a good job keeping going offensively. All of our guards are getting smarter on how to handle those situations.”
Bryant credited his team for not losing composure after starting 2-4. North’s losses are by a combined 17 points.
“It could have been easy to start getting frustrated,” he said. “We’re hanging right in there every game.”
North has held every opponent but Batesville under 50 points after seven games.
“Defensively, we were pretty solid,” said Bryant, who applauded North’s attitude.
“I though the girls did a really nice job,” he said. “I’m proud of their effort, and their willingness to want to be a good basketball team.”
North JV girls fall to Royals
The North junior varsity team fell to the Royals 27-20 in the first game.
Junior Alison Wallpe led North with 12 points, including six in the fourth quarter. Morgan Nobbe scored four, as well as Sam Krieger. Laura Haunert added two.
The JV Chargers are now 4-2 on the season.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.