The 2016 Merrill varsity Girls Basketball squad’s aim proved true in resounding fashion in their season opener Thursday night, downing the Northland Pines Eagles 64-58 on their home perch.
Despite trailing by two in the first half, the ladies rebounded with 34 points in the second to seal the deal.
“We started very well the first five minutes of the game, hitting some outside shots and created some turnovers early,” comments first-year head coach Joelene Weix. “Pines settled down on the press and Lexi Smith took over for them in the first half. In the second half we were able to contain Smith with some good defense from (Lindsey) Casper, (Brittany) Grosskurth, and Maddix Bonnell switching off on her.
“Offensively we moved the ball well along the perimeter and made some good decisions getting the ball to the open people. Bonnell and Pyan led the way with 39 points. The game was tight throughout and we made some good plays down the stretch to secure the victory.”
As the first-year hardwood guru alluded to, juniors Bonnell (23 pts, 7/16 FG, 1/5 3pt, 8/9 FT, 2a, 1st) and Pyan (16 pts, 5/7 FG, 4/6 3pt, 2/3 FT, 2a, 2 st, 2 rb) spearheaded the ladies scoring effort. Fellow junior Lindsey Casper enjoyed a solid night as well, with 12 pts (5/9 FG, 1/1 3pt, 1/2 FT, a, blk, 2 st).
Overall the Jays posted very impressive shooting numbers in their season debut, hitting 43% from the field, 40% from the 3-point line and 63% from the free throw line.
“We will have to get better defensively and get more aggressive on the boards as we continue,” Weix adds.
The ladies will enjoy a week-long break before making their home court debut next Tuesday vs Great Northern Conference powerhouse Medford at the MHS Field House. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m.
1 2 F
Merrill: 30 34 64
Northland Pines: 32 26 58