The Pacific Lady Indians had plenty of breathing room in Tuesday’s basketball season-opening victory.
Pacific started out the year 1-0 with a 69-22 victory at home against Washington (0-1).
After leading 14-6 after one quarter, Pacific started the second period on a 17-0 run and led 37-10 at halftime.
The Pacific lead stood at 53-22 after three quarters.
In their first game under veteran Head Coach Bill Thoele, the Lady Indians scored the bulk of their points in transition, getting up and down the floor quickly.
“One of the main things we’re trying to do is get in transition and push the ball,” Thoele said. “I thought we had some great transition baskets tonight. I thought they played together and weren’t selfish. They played as a team tonight and played hard. We’ve got a long way to go yet. One game doesn’t make the season.”
Struggles were to be expected early in the season for Washington as the Lady Jays look to replace nine seniors and return just one player with significant minutes from last season’s varsity squad.
“We have a bunch of freshmen, sophomores and juniors that are going to benefit from this,” Washington Head Coach Doug Light said. “We’re just going to try to get better every day. That’s what you have to do in this case. We just have to look at this as ‘OK, we know where we are,’ and we have to keep getting better.”
Senior guard Grace Burrows did most of the damage for the Lady Indians. She put through 16 points on a 50 percent shooting night and made 3-5 attempts from behind the three-point arc. She added one assist and two steals.
Cori O’Neill finished two rebounds short of starting the season with a double-double. O’Neill scored 13 points with eight rebounds in the contest.
Madison Brocato knocked through nine points and grabbed six rebounds with one assist and two steals.
Delia Toney and Morgann Harrison added eight points each from the post for Pacific. Harrison grabbed eight rebounds and a steal. Toney finished with five rebounds, one steal and a blocked shot.
Maddie King and Annie Mueller each scored six points from the point guard position. King grabbed three steals. Mueller picked up four rebounds with one assist and one steal.
“Delia, one of our post players, and Maddie, our point guard, both got into foul trouble right away,” Thoele said. “Annie Mueller came in and did a great job running the offense and Grace, who is going to be our leading scorer, had a great game. She shot the ball really well.”
Paige Pettus rounded out the scoring for the Lady Indians with three points, adding one rebound and one steal.
Cassidy Murray pulled down three rebounds and made one steal and one blocked shot.
Kiley Stahl and Allyson Brickey each grabbed two rebounds. Stahl also blocked a shot.
For the Lady Jays, Jessie Huxol led the team in scoring with six points.
Halaina O’Bryant was next with four points.
Payton Voss added three points. Ingrid Figas, Nakya Kriebaum, Joie Heien and Grace Landwehr netted two points each. Cierstyn Jacquin notched one point.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities at the free-throw line in the contest. Pacific made good on 17-22 attempts.
“I think we were a little excited and a little hyper and we came out in the first quarter and got into the double bonus with 10 fouls,” Thoele said. “In the second half, one of our goals was to not foul as much and I think they did a great job.”
Washington, conversely, made just one of its free throw attempts on the night.
The Lady Jays scored more in the third quarter than they did in the rest of the game combined.
“Our kids didn’t quit,” Light said. “... It’s one thing getting beat, but you don’t quit. Once you get beat and you quit, it gets really bad. Our kids kept going at it, diving for balls and playing hard. When you get in that position, you’ve just got to lock the scoreboard out and play. We’re going to look for growth on this team all year and you’re going to see some good things. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Pacific will return to action Thursday on the road at Festus at 7 p.m.
The Lady Jays will begin league play in the Gateway Athletic Conference Central at home Monday against Wentzville Liberty at 7 p.m. before traveling to Union Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.