NORTH JACKSON - The combination of inexperience and first game jitters led to a 29-19 season-opening loss by Southern Local at Jackson-Milton on Thursday night.
The Indians committed 35 turnovers and only hit on 17 percent from the field, including 0-for-7 from three-point range as they were not able to get any offensive attack consistency.
"I think our first game jitters kind of got to us a little bit there early," Indians coach Cory Leek admitted. "We started a freshman tonight and a sophomore that hasn't played a lot of varsity. We had another sophomore in there at guard. So I think our youth there at the guard spot hurt us there a little bit."
Southern coach Cory Leek talks with his team during a break in the action Thursday. (Photo by Lowell Spencer)
The Indians grabbed the lead to start the contest as Kati Hipsley hit a jumper, and Rachel Coil added another basket in the first period as the Indians held a 4-3 advantage following one stanza of play. However, in the second period the Jays started pulling away as they went on a 11-5 run to hold 15-9 lead at intermission.
"Only down six at halftime, I'm really pleased we only gave up 29-points," Leek said. "These guys scored 58 points the other night and we only gave up 29 tonight. If we can do that night in and night out, I think we can have a good shot at winning games."
Both teams struggled terribly in the third period to get any thing going. The two squads combined for 19 turnovers and only scored a combined six points. The Jays held a 19-11 lead after three periods.
J-Milton 29, Southern 19
SL (19): Sarah Phillis 1 0-0 2, Kati Hipsley 2 4-8 6, Emily Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Rahcel Coil 2 3-6 7, Lisa Higgins 0 0-0 0, Beckah Phillis 0 0-2 0, Brittany Weber 0 0-0 0, Natalie Utt 0 0-0 0. Totals: 6 7-16 19.
JM (29): Rebecca Jones 2 0-3 4, Zaire Sahli 2 0- 24, Gabrielle Tharp 0 0-0 0, Brittany Schnellbach 0 1-4 1, Paige Kiraly 2 0-0 4, Beth Ritchie 0 0-0 0, Maggie Oblinger 3 2-2 8, Madison Tomaino 4 0-0 8. Totals: 13 3-11 29.
SL 04-05-02-08 - 19
JM 03-12-04-10 - 29
Jackson-Milton would continue to stretch its advantage as it lead by as much as 15 points with only 1:57 remaining in the contest. The Indians would make a last minute 5-0 run as Hipsley would convert on three free throws and add field goal to cut the final margin down to the ten point difference.
"There big inside, and our game plan is to get the ball to Rachel, and that's going to open up the stuff outside so Kati can get going outside," Leek said. "With their size it was difficult for us. Their press really changed the game. When they started pressing we turned the ball over."
Hipsley led the Indians with eight points on the night, while Coil chipped in seven points. Emily Jenkins and Sarah Phillis each added two points respectively.
"We got the win, but it was very sloppy," Blue Jays coach Pat Keney remarked. "We've got a lot of things we need to improve on to have a good season. We got the win, don't get me wrong, I'm happy, but we got a lot of things we need to improve on."
The Indians will be in action again Monday night when they host the American Spirit Academy.