VEEDERSBURG — A quick look at the roster helped explain Fountain Central’s 49-31 season-opening loss to Faith Christian.
Five freshmen and six sophomores, picking up their first varsity experience, fell victim to a more veteran Eagles team.
The Mustangs did get a double-double from one senior, but the only other was handcuffed with foul trouble.
“The game is a lot faster than junior high,” Mustangs coach Jason Good said. “One of the big problems in practice is replicating the speed of the game. There are only two girls with varsity experience, and only a limited time to practice. We had some small victories tonight, but it’s a process. We have to put in a lot more time.”
The home team did jump out to an early lead, and were up 13-11 at the end of the first quarter, but found the going a lot tougher from that point on, as the Eagles turned up the defensive pressure and worked their offense down low against a much smaller Fountain Central team.
The Eagles used an 8-0 streak during the second quarter to eventually lead 25-18 at the half, and then stretched the lead out bit by bit in the second half.
“We left some folks unguarded,” Good said, “and being smaller, that usually means you end up fouling more, and we fouled their shooters too much.”
Faith Central used their size and more experience to get to the free throw line regularly, ending the night 10-of-18 from the stripe, while the Mustangs were only 4-of-11.
That size margin also made for a 12-rebound advantage (38-26), which also included a 12-point margin on second-chance points.
The Eagles took advantage of 26 turnovers to score 19 points, and owned a 13-point margin in that category.
The offense worked around center Larissa Bowers, who started off her senior season with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The only other senior, point guard Jerzi Hershberger, spent a lot of time on the bench with foul trouble, which compounded the ball-handling issues and helped lead to more turnovers.
“Our offense did get better as the game went on,” Good noted. “We moved the ball better, and we will learn that if you don’t drive the ball, you won’t score. We are going to have to find a way to be more physical and aggressive, but again, more practice and games will help.”
Hershberger and freshman Brailey Hoagland each had six points, and Hoagland grabbed five boards.
For the game, the Mustangs were 13-of-35 from the field and 1-of-6 from three-point range. The Eagles finished 19-of-46 from the field, hit their only three-pointer attempted and did have 21 turnovers.
They were led in scoring by Senior Sydney Argo with 14. She averaged 11 plus last season. Senior Maddie Schoenradt had a dozen points, and sophomore Ella Bolton added 10. Argo pulled down nine rebounds to lead her squad.
“All seven of the young players did some things I liked,” Good said. “Now we need to work on the things I didn’t like so much. There are lots of things we still haven’t worked on, but we do have to find a way for this smaller team to rebound. The kids are listening, and they are learning. They just need more practice and time.”
Which they won’t have too much of, as they have another tough early-season matchup Thursday against Clinton Prairie, who went 21-3 and deep into the playoffs last season.
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