A combination of confidence and more aggressive defense in the first quarter would be beneficial for the Hilliard Bradley High School girls basketball team.
Poor starts cost the Jaguars twice over the holiday break.
In the first day of play in the Watterson Christmas Classic on Dec. 27, the Jaguars fell behind Hartley 11-2 after one quarter, pulled within four points in the fourth quarter and lost 48-37. The next day, they trailed Dublin Coffman 18-7 after one quarter and missed a potential tying field goal with 57 seconds left before fouling their way to a 53-45 loss.
"First off, those were good, athletic teams, but we've got to make a quicker adjustment to the speed of the game," said coach Kathy Lindsey, whose team was 5-6 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Dublin Scioto on Jan. 8. "Once we started to play basketball and realized we could play with those teams, we played well. But we've come out tight.
"I think if we saw the ball go through the basket early, it would help. We are still very young. In the meantime, if we played hard, aggressive defense from the tipoff and force our opponents to miss early shots, we could hurt their confidence. Our defensive energy has to be there at the start. We've got to turn the tables and put other teams in that position."
On Jan. 5, the Jaguars fell behind 17-5 in the first quarter and lost to Olentangy 60-44. A night earlier, a 14-4 fourth quarter doomed Bradley in a 50-33 loss to Westerville North.
Junior guard Jenna Fodor said that despite the number of first-year players on the team, the Jaguars have higher expectations.
"We play a tough schedule, and I know we're young, but we expect more out of ourselves than the way we played in those games," said Fodor, who played travel soccer last winter instead of basketball. "We just didn't come out ready and we paid for it."
Fodor scored 12 points against Hartley, as did senior guard Feaira Crews. Fodor had 14 points against Coffman, while sophomore forward Meredith Miller led the team with 15 and sophomore post player Ashley Hummel added 11.
"It took her a few games to gain some confidence and to feel comfortable on the varsity level," Lindsey said of Fodor. "Once she shook some rust off and realized she could play at this level, she's done a good job. She's been consistent and plays an all-around game."
Fodor said the speed of the game has been the toughest adjustment.
"I went to the open gyms and put in all the summer work, but it's different once the games start for real," she said. "I was a little scared because I had played only a few minutes on varsity here and there before. It was a lot quicker than junior varsity and you've have to be quick mentally, too."
Fodor's confidence has grown as she has begun to make perimeter shots on a more regular basis.
"You want hard practices because that's what you see in a game," she said. "We do drills in practice where your shots are contested. It's a lot more difficult than shooting around by yourself, although I have stayed after practices to work on my shooting."
According to Lindsey, that's what will help the Jaguars become more efficient on offense.
"She's knocking down some outside shots now and we definitely need that," Lindsey said of Fodor.
"You've got to have shooting threats out there in order to run a balanced offense and open things up in the lane."
Bates lifts Wildcats past Liberty
Davidson remained unbeaten in the OCC-Central by beating visiting Olentangy Liberty 47-45 on Jan. 4.
The Wildcats improved to 6-0 in the leading entering a game Jan. 8 at Thomas Worthington.
Senior point guard Lauren Bates made two free throws in a 1-and-1 situation to put the Wildcats ahead 46-45 with 17 seconds left.
After the Patriots missed a shot, senior center Bri Ekanem got the rebound, was fouled and made one free throw with 2 seconds left.
Senior guard Ashley Hurt led Davidson with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Bates had 12 points, six rebounds and four steals.
The Wildcats open the second round of league play Friday, Jan. 11, by playing host to Marysville, which was 4-7 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Central before playing Central Crossing on Jan. 8.
Krumpe leading Darby team
Emily Krumpe has led the way for Darby.
The senior post player scored 20 points to lead the Panthers in a 50-42 OCC-Cardinal loss to Dublin Scioto on Jan. 4. Through 11 games, Krumpe was averaging 15.3 points.
Senior guard Katie Esposito had 10 points against Scioto and senior guard Sydney Palsgrove added nine.
Krumpe had 27 points in a 54-46 win over Barberton on Dec. 29. Palsgrove added nine.
Palsgrove was averaging 8.9 points through 11 games. Junior forward Caitlyn Snyder was averaging 5.1 points and Esposito was averaging 4.6.
The Panthers play Bradley on Friday, Jan. 11, in a league rematch.
The Jaguars won 35-22 on Nov. 30 despite 14 points from Krumpe.