Though they did not trail at any point in Saturday's (Nov. 11) home-opening contest against North Decatur – and thus were never in real jeopardy of losing – the Batesville Lady Bulldogs can safely anticipate smoother overall outings as the winter progresses.
Shooting 34 percent from the field (22 from long-range) and converting just 32 percent of their 28 free throw attempts, the BHS girls and fifth-year head coach Darrick Cox knew they were fortunate to secure a 39-32 win.
"I told the girls I'd take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day, but we definitely have some work to do and things we have to get better at," Cox admitted.
Luckily for Batesville, the Lady Chargers were also far from midseason form; the visitors turned the ball over 19 times while connecting on only 29 percent of their shots (0-of-9 from 3-point land).
N. Decatur managed to hang around in the fourth quarter and trimmed the deficit to five with 1:14 on the clock before Cox called timeout. Audrey Weigel earned a trip to the foul line and hit 1-of-2 to make it 38-32 and Kierstyn House missed two subsequent charities on the other end. Gabi Garcia's free throw under 20 seconds produced the final margin.
"We did what we needed to defensively but (9-of-28 FT shooting) is a critical mistake, especially in crunch time," noted Cox. "That's a goal-killer, whether you're playing the Ripley County tourney or for conference and sectional titles."
The Bulldogs opened scoring with baskets by seniors Baylee Rohlfing and Garcia. A goal by Olivia Bohman was answered by five straight points and ND coach Matt Barker's timeout, his team down 9-4. The stoppage seemed to settle the guests, as the first stanza ended at 9-8.
Batesville got feisty to start the second frame, Carlie Werner's transition bucket followed by a quick steal and hoop by Garcia; the latter scored again the next trip, leading to a Charger timeout. Garcia then increased the lead to 18-8 on a successful 3-pointer.
Following Cox's 30-second breather at 3:06, each side would add a single basket before halftime. Sierra Cornn's follow-up of a Weigel miss made it 20-12 at the break.
Bohman got scoring underway in the third quarter but Ellie Waechter's three and Rohlfing's putback made it 25-14. After a transition lay-in by Garcia, the Chargers strung together six in a row with the help of a key steal; at 27-22, BHS asked for timeout.
"Our goal is less than 12 turnovers a game and we entered halftime having lost sight of that," said Cox. "We have people who can handle the ball but several were silly turnovers and something we'll clean up throughout the course of the season."
The hosts responded by scoring the last five points of the period, all courtesy of Werner. The sophomore cashed in a drive, a rebound basket and a foul shot for a 10-point BHS lead.
Maddy Day hit a long 2-point goal and Sarah Bohman's shot drew ND within 32-26 as the fourth quarter began. Bohman's goal would be the final from the field, as the teams decided the outcome at the stripe. In the double bonus early in the frame, the Bulldogs' 7 made FTs were enough to hold off ND.
Cox is okay with teaching lessons now and not at a later, more critical time of the year.
"If you're playing your best basketball at the beginning of the season, you're probably worried," he said. "I have a huge ceiling for this team, but there's growth yet to come and we'll rise to the occasion."
Garcia led BHS with 13 points, supported by Werner (7), Waechter (6) and Rohlfing (5). Rohlfing totaled 18 rebounds and 3 steals; Waechter and Weigel were also credited with 3 steals.
Batesville (2-1) travels to Seymour Nov. 14 with center Hattie Westerfeld returning from injury.
"She put in a lot of hard work over the summer and it will be nice to have a full squad back again," said Cox.
The junior varsity won 28-20 behind Kendall Dickman's 9 points. Abby Westerfeld and Macy Prickel each added 6. Catherine Raab had 6 rebounds and 7 assists with Prickel blocking 3 shots.
at Union County (Nov. 10)
The Lady 'Dogs broke into the win column Friday night at Union County, defeating the Lady Patriots 42-31.
Rohlfing was monstrous on the offensive glass, hauling in 15 of her game-high 23 rebounds, to go with 10 points, 6 steals and a pair of blocks. Garcia led in scoring with a dozen as Waechter put in 8 (two 3-pointers) and Weigel 7. Cornn had 5 rebounds and Weigel grabbed 4. Garcia added a trio of assists and steals.
Prickel (11 pts.), Ellie Cassidy (8) and Dickman (6) paced the JV in a 31-19 win. Prickel had 7 boards and Raab 4 assists.
Will Fehlinger can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 112.