|Lady Raiders capture first Tip Off title|
By STEVE MAJOR
ANTWERP – In the season opener, Delphos Jefferson proved too much for the Lady Archers as the Lady Wildcats prevailed 46-35 last Saturday night.
After falling behind early and trailing at half-time 23-11, the Lady Archers twice cut the Lady Wildcat lead to just six points in the fourth quarter. But, it took Antwerp so much energy climbing out of the deep hole it was in that the Lady Archers just ran out of gas in the end.
Also, as has been a problem in the past, the Archers committed too many turnovers.
“The biggest stat was turnovers; we committed 22 of them.” said first-year Antwerp head coach Kevin Taylor. “Delphos Jefferson pressed full-court the whole game and double teamed us every time we turned around, but the worst part was the poor decisions that we made after we beat the press.”
But, Taylor saw positives that the team can build on, as well.
“We never buckled and backed down against their pressure. We made a comeback there in the fourth quarter, but we just ran out of steam. We got good looks at the basket, but the shots just didn’t fall for us, especially early in the game when the girls were a little nervous,” said Taylor. “Overall, I was pretty pleased and we have things we can build on.”
One challenge the Archers will face all year is a low number of players. Taylor had just six players to use in the game. Hopefully, senior Toni Winslow will be back from injury for the next game.
“Without Toni, we just don’t have any depth. She has been practicing at less than 100 percent. But when we get her back we can go with a seven-player rotation,” explained the Antwerp coach.
Playing with a short bench, only three Lady Archers cracked the scoring column. Sophomore Alexis Jones led the way with 14 points, including three three-pointers. Senior Jessie Arnold added 12 points and junior AJ Stuck tossed in nine for Antwerp.
Another positive Taylor saw was the play of junior Tricia Smalley, who was seeing her first playing time as a point guard.
“Tricia did a good job at point for us given that it was her first game,” said Taylor.
Next up for the Lady Archers was a visit from Paulding on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
“I think it is Paulding’s first game so I don’t know much about the team,” said Taylor. “But for us to be successful we have to take care of the ball. Also, I would like to play more man-to-man defense, but it takes a toll on us since we have such low numbers.”
The JV Lady Archers also dropped their opener, going down by a score of 29-11.
The JV squad faces the same dilemma as the varsity – low number of players.
“I thought we did a good job as Delphos Jefferson pressed us the whole time and we handled it well,” said JV coach Joe Smalley.
“But, we are a very inexperienced team. We worked hard, but we got tired with just six players. We did all right for the first game of the season and we will get better. In fact, we have already improved since the start of practice,” added Smalley.
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