Following an abbreviated junior varsity contest that lasted just a half, Western Reserve (14-3) appeared to struggle getting going before eventually running away from the Truckers for the 49-38 non-conference win on Tuesday in Collins.
“I wasn’t impressed with the way we started out tonight, we weren’t making shots or playing very well on offense,” Western coach Brenda Friend said. “This has been a problem that we have had to deal with all season long and we have to get it fixed.
“I am not sure what it is that is causing us to get off to the slow starts,” she added. “We have played a lot of shorter JV games and maybe it is throwing them off a little bit ... but if we want to reach our goals and achieve what we set out to do, we have to get it figured out.”
The ‘Riders defense was the difference in the game. At every turn they contested the Norwalk ball handlers and shooters and did a nice job of getting their hands on the ball to create turnovers and missed scoring opportunities for the Lady Truckers.
Cora Wyers did the heavy lifting on defense as she altered several Norwalk shots and Jenna Skrada led Western Reserve’s offensive attack with 12 points — Wyers added 11 points on the offensive end while grabbing nine rebounds.
It was an all-out Roughriders effort as it put 11 players in the scoring category in the stat book — something Friend sees a positive to only playing two quarter JV games.
“Most of the girls have given everything they have,” she said. “But we are dealing with teenagers and there have been a few of them who at times haven’t competed at their highest level. And with the shortened JV games, it has given us the opportunity to give some of those minutes to the girls who normally would be playing primarily at the JV level.”
Norwalk struggled solving the Western defense for most of the game. They failed to score in double digits in any of the first three quarters before exploding with 18 points in the final quarter.
But, it was too late as the Truckers (4-14) entered the quarter down 13. Tied at 7-7 after one quarter, the ‘Riders took a 21-15 halftime lead, then used a 12-5 scoring margin in the third to go ahead 33-20.
“I thought that we started out a little slow but got good effort tonight” Norwalk coach Brock Manlet said. “I was proud of how they played hard all night long and thought that we played pretty well defensively the whole game.
“Credit them, they were able to get a few big runs tonight and when you have a few 10 point runs like they did, a close game turns into a 20-point game,” he added. “This year isn’t all about the wins, we are very young and inexperienced, so it is about getting better each and every time out and I think they have grown a lot from the start of the season.”
Elena Barber paced Norwalk with 16 points, while Paige Maurer and Skylarr Story each added seven.
Western Reserve returns to Firelands Conference action on Saturday when they play host to South Central with a chance to clinch at least a share of a second straight league championship.
Norwalk will entertain Sandusky on Saturday in an SBC Lake Division game.
Mascie Horner 1-0—3; Elena Barber 6-4—16; Paige Maurer 3-1—7; Alex Nolan 2-1—5; Skylarr Story 2-3—7. TOTALS 14-9—38.
W. RESERVE (14-3)
Katie Hipp 1-0—3; Isabella Zvara 0-4—4; Jenna Skrada 5-2—12; Isabella Burchette 0-2—2; McKenna Woodruff 1-2—4; Emma Blankenship 2-1—5; Ellie Blankenship 1-1—3; Emma Weber 1-0—2; Cora Wyers 4-3—11; Avery Tubbs 1-0—2; Andrea Barnhauer 0-1—1. TOTALS 16-16—49
Norwalk 7 8 5 18 — 38
W. Reserve 7 14 12 12 — 49
3-point FGs: (N) Horner; (WR) Hipp
JV: Western, 26-12