Opening Four Rivers Conference girls basketball action, Pacific had a quick start to the game and made it hold in a 72-57 home victory Monday over Union.
The Lady Indians (3-3, 1-0) held the lead for the entire game, jumping to a 12-2 advantage in the first 3 1/2 minutes.
“We got all 11 of our girls in the game and everybody contributed to the win. To score 72 points, that’s always nice,” said Pacific Head Coach Josh Spuhl. “I think we’re getting back on track. We lost our first two games by one point, but I think that motivated the girls to get better.”
Union (1-4, 0-1) trailed by 14 points after three quarters, but pulled to within six points early in the fourth period.
“I was pleased with the way we competed. If we clean up half of our turnovers, which have plagued us this year, we’re going to see better results,” said Union Head Coach Dusty Weiskopf. “Pacific is a talented, well-coached team. It was a close game most of the way. If we continue to compete and build our confidence, we’ll be fine.”
Meagan Wakefield sparked Pacific’s early run with three three-pointers to help give the Lady Indians’ a 10-point lead.
Wakefield, a 5-4 guard, finished the game with 24 points.
“The big thing for us was Megan stepped up and had a good game,” Spuhl said. “She showed that she’s a good shooter. That’s something we see in practice. It’s huge when that carries over into games.”
Kya Hill, Pacific’s 5-10 forward, provided the inside scoring punch, finishing with 22 points.
“Teams we play are going to clog up the middle and really key on Kya,” Spuhl said. “We have to hit shots from the outside to prevent that from happening and that’s what Megan did.”
Keeping Kya Hill out of foul trouble also was crucial for Pacific.
“Kya picked up her first foul on our first trip down the floor. From there, she did a good job keeping her composure, stayed out of foul trouble and did a lot of good things,” Spuhl said. “We need her on the floor to be successful.”
Also for the Lady Indians, Ashley Hill finished the game with 11 points.
Brigid Toney chipped in with six points. Ellen Rogers and Hunter Kelemen both scored three points. Kate Cookson added two points. Amber Zurliene had one point.
Bri Clark, a 5-10 forward, paced the Lady ’Cats with 24 points.
“When we get the ball in her hands, we’re really good. Teams are going to have to adjust to her game,” Weiskopf said of Clark. “A lot of credit goes to our guards for getting her the ball. Our guards are getting better. We’re shooting the ball better.”
Megan Altemueller finished the game with seven points. Erika Jeffries and Cassidy Terrill both scored six points.
Anna Houston and Kayla Kelly both scored four points. Ali Overstreet and Emily Bay both had three points.
“Defensively, we want to make teams shoot over us. They hit some shots,” Weiskopf said. “It was a high-scoring game. We did some good things offensively.”
Leading 18-11 after one quarter, Pacific built its largest advantage of the game, 34-14 midway through the second period.
The Lady ’Cats responded by ending the first half on a 14-5 run to make the score 39-28 at halftime.
Trailing 56-42 after three quarters, Union pulled to within 60-54 with four minutes to play, but got no closer.
“We got some stops. It was 56-49 and we had three possessions where we turned it over. It was 60-54 and we had a turnover,” Weiskopf said. “We did things well. We just have to cut down on the turnovers. We’ll continue to work on that. We’re going to see the same kind of defensive pressure Thursday against St. James.”
Baskets by Kya Hill, Wakefield and Kelemen helped Pacific rebuild a double-digit lead.
“Defensively, there are things we need to work on. We have to work on defending the post,” Spuhl said. “There were times in the game where we got off track a little defensively and were trading buckets with them.”
Both teams have FRC games Thursday with Pacific traveling to New Haven and Union hosting St. James.
“It doesn’t get any easier in our league. I think we’ll compete every night and hopefully start to win some games,” Weiskopf said.
“Union is going through some changes with a new coach and some new varsity players. I think they will surprise some teams this season,” Spuhl said. “Every conference game is going to be tough. We go to New Haven Thursday. That’s a tough place to play.”