LINDEN — North Montgomery came into Tuesday nights Sagamore Conference matchup against Tri-West riding a four-game win streak and seven wins in their last eight games. However the always-tough Bruins put a stop to the streak for the Chargers by coming away with a dominating 66-18 victory.
The full-court trap style defense for Tri-West gave the Chargers problems to begin the game as the Bruins forced 13 North Montgomery turnovers in the opening quarter alone. Those turnovers allowed the Bruins to hold a 24-8 advantage after the opening quarter. The games first few minutes proved promising as the Chargers trailed 11-6 after a pair of Katie Rice free-throws. From then on it was all Bruins outscoring their opponent 55-12 the rest of the way.
“I think at the beginning we did a decent job of handling their press,” North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “They started to knock down some threes after that and it really just got out of hand from there. They’re a very athletic and quick team and we’re the complete opposite and it’s hard to beat a press like that when you’re not doing the fundamental things well.”
Katie Rice did what she could to help in the scoring department for the Chargers who fall to 7-4 (1-1 SAC) on the season. She led the team with six points while Lydia Dugard and Hadley Broadwater each had four. Madi Welch added three and Jadelyn Phillips made one of two free throws for one point.
Tri-West improves to 6-3 (5-0 SAC) and were led in scoring by Isabelle Saylor with 16. Marian University commit Kenna Kirby added 12 and Adrie Thompson had 11. Becca VanSlyke and Izzy Cotteleer recorded eight points while both Ava Sullivan and Lauren Bear each had four. Regan Canada rounded out the scoring for the Bruins with three.
This game will be used a learning experience for North Montgomery as they’ll go back and look at this game to learn how to fix their mistakes moving forward.
“We’re going to take a hard look at this game for sure,” Nuppnau said. “The nice thing is that we have four or five practices before our next game. We’re going to go hard and get after it. The sad thing about tonight was it seemed like we backed down the beginning. We played scared and didn’t live up to our ‘word of the week’ which coming into this game was ‘fierce’. Even when things go bad you still have to keep fighting and not just give up.”
The schedule for the Chargers does them no favors as they will have a week off before a battle with an equally as talented West Lafayette team followed by a county battle with Crawfordsville. The second half features more tough SAC opponents in Lebanon, Danville, and another county battle with Southmont. Add in Seeger and North Putnam and Nuppnau knows his team will be challenged the rest of the way.
“It doesn’t get any easier than this,” he said. “There’s not an easy team on our schedule especially in January and we just have to rise to the occasion. We’ll buckle down from here and not be afraid to be criticized and lift each other up. We’ll keep fighting and keep battling the rest of the way.”
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