Warren girls open with a victory, 55-34
VINCENT — The rust was there but so were the results.
That might be the best way to describe the Warren Warriors season-opening 55-34 win over Dover Saturday evening at Warren High School.
Despite committing 17 turnovers and making just three-of-22 attempts from behind the three-point arc, Warren did plenty on the court well enough to secure a 21-point win over a tough opening night opponent.
“I thought we had the first-game jitters and came out a little rusty at the beginning but it’s nice to get a win,” said head coach Amy Way, in her tenth season as head coach of the Warriors. “Our defense in the first half was the difference.”
Warren overcame 13 first half turnovers of their own by forcing Dover into 20 as they pulled out to a 23-13 lead at the break.
The Warriors got plenty of production inside last year from Abbie Smith but some early foul trouble limited the junior’s playing time in the opening half as she scored just two points.
Smith got on track in a hurry to begin the second half as she scored back-to-back inside buckets off of assists from first sophomore Alexis Frazee and then senior Savannah Banks to push the Warrior lead to 14.
A pair of freebies each by seniors Olivia Alloway and Millie Ryan pushed th lead to 18 before a short jumper by Lia Conner gave the Tornadoes their first points of the second half.
Smith scored again on a put-back after one of her game-high 11 rebounds and after a bucket by Dover’s Tori Shankle, Smith delivered again after cleaning up on the glass for her eighth point of the third quarter.
The Warriors out-rebounded Dover by a healthy 31-13 margin with Alloway and Ryan chipping in with nine and eight boards respectively.
“We have got some height and that is one thing we preach is to clean up on the boards,” said Way. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight especially in the first half.”
Dover put together their best run of the game on back-to-back buckets by Tori Jones and Addie Martin to close to within 16 but Warrior senior Leah Way buried back-to-back quarter-ending triples to send the home team out to a game-high 22-point lead.
The Tornadoes managed to get the game back under 20-points a couple of times in the fourth quarter but were not able to seriously challenge a deep and talented Warrior squad.
“We are a very deep team an have the potential to be very good we just have to play like it and act like it,” said Way, whose team like every other was robbed of much of their off season due to Covid. “Sometimes we were a little timid and maybe kind of second guessing ourselves….. With everything that has happened this summer I thought the girls did as well as could be expected.”
Warren was led by Banks with 15 points and six steals and Smith who finished with a double-double with 13 points to go along with her 11 rebounds.
Way added eight, while Alloway, Frazee and Ryan added six points apiece.
Jones led the way for the visitors with 14 points while Martin also reached double-figures with 10.
In another sign of the crazy year that 2020 has been and continues to be the Warriors honored their four seniors (Alloway, Way, Banks and Ryan) in a pre-game ceremony.
“We just don’t know what’s going to happen week-to-week and this is a great senior bunch so we needed to make sure we honored them,” said Way.
The Warriors will look to make it two-in-a-row Wednesday when they host Vinton County.