Western Reserve dominated Norwalk on the glass on its way to a season-opening 54-40 win Saturday at Norwalk High School.
The ’Riders collected 46 rebounds to just 18 for the Lady Truckers.
“It’s a good start, a learning tool,” Western coach Brenda Friend said.
“We knew Norwalk was very much improved defensively, but we thought there was a mismatch size-wise. I was very nervous coming into this game. Basically, my four seniors did all the ball-handling last year and we got shellacked this past summer.
“I was concerned about how we would react in game pressure,” she said. “I didn’t feel real comfortable until about 1:20 left in the game.”
The Lady Riders led 12-8 after one quarter and 32-18 at the half.
Norwalk trimmed it to 32-26 in the third. It was 40-28 after three.
“I think we were ready to play,” Norwalk coach Marjoe Cooper said. “The first quarter was back and forth and kind of sloppy. They had a 6-0 run and then we scored six straight in the third, but they answered again.”
Cooper knows his team will have to work hard on the glass.
“We’re not taller than anybody on our schedule,” he said. “Rebounding is an area we will continue to stress.”
The Norwalk girls forced 23 Western turnovers committing just eight themselves.
“We do a pretty good job of taking care of the basketball and we need to start converting those turnovers into points,” Cooper said.
The Lady Riders blocked 12 Norwalk shots.
Western senior Kelsey Wyant, who scored eight points and had eight rebounds, also blocked eight shots.
“I told our kids, if you are going to block the shot, you better get the rebound,” Friend said.
Sophomore Natalie Robson led Western with 14 points, followed by classmates Theresa Jackson with 11 and Carli Patrick with 10.
Junior Hannah Schneider scored 11 to pace Norwalk, while sophomore Oakley Shane netted 10.
Junior Lindsey Ziemke scored eight points for the Truckers while sophomore Sam Obringer scored seven.
Norwalk shot 14 of 60 from the floor.
Each team is in action Tuesday, with Norwalk traveling to Perkins and Western Reserve hosting Brookside.
“We go to Perkins and then have Bellevue on Saturday,” Cooper said. “Four of our first five games are against teams picked to win their league or finish second. But we’ll go in swinging. It will be a baptism by fire.”
WESTERN RESERVE (1-0)
Palmer 0-3-3, Jackson 4-3-11, Wyant 3-2-8, Robson 6-2-14, Patrick 4-2-10, Czompoly 2-0-4, Clouse 2-0-4. Totals 21-12-54.
Schneider 2-6-11, Gross 1-0-2, Ziemke 3-2-8, Shane 4-2-10, Obringer 3-1-7, Thomas 1-0-2. Totals 14-11-40.
Western 12 20 8 14 — 54
Norwalk 8 10 10 12 — 40
JV — Norwalk, 55-28
Willard beats Madison to start 2-0
The Crimson Flashes continued their streak to open the new season with a 54-48 win over Madison Comprehensive Saturday night in Mansfield.
Willard (2-0), which opened its season Friday with a win over Ottawa-Glandorf, cut down Madison (0-1) from long range.
Aly Graham and Elizabeth Fried led the attack for Willard with 17 and 16 points, respectively, including a combined nine 3-pointers (five for Graham, four for Fried).
“It took us awhile to get going against their zone,” Flashes coach Jon Dawson said. “When we did it opened things up. I’m pleased with Aly’s performance tonight. She has worked really hard and she gives us a different presence out there.”
Graham drove the Flashes’ offense on Friday, too, scoring 27 points in Friday’s win over the Titans.
Fried and Brennyn Lillo led Willard against the Rams with seven rebounds apiece as they corralled 28 as a team. Alysun Daniel contributed 14 points to the Flashes’ attack.
Lexus Andolino scored 10 points to lead Madison, followed by Lauren Helbig and Hannah Kochis with eight points apiece.
Willard committed 25 turnovers as a team to 21 for Madison.
The Flashes travel to Lexington on Tuesday.
Aly Graham 6-0—17; Brennyn Lillo 1-0—2; Elizabeth Fried 5-2—16; Alyssa Opatken 1-0—2; Sierra Sallee 1-1—3; Alysun Daniel 5-4—14. TOTALS 19-7—54
MANS. MADISON (0-1)
Willard 10 9 19 16 — 54
Madison 8 7 16 17 — 48