Belpre girls drop opener
BELPRE –The 2020-21 girls basketball season is underway, and the Belpre Golden Eagles look to learn as they move along.
A 48-21 defeat at the hands of the Meigs Marauders opened the year up on Monday for Belpre, and it was the full-court press that created separation after a low-scoring first quarter. After Meigs, who was led by Mallory Hawley’s game-high 17 points, jumped out to a 9-6 advantage following the first eight minutes, head coach Heath Hudson decided to create turnovers by employing the press. This tested the young Golden Eagle squad, as they surrendered 33 turnovers on the night. Hudson talked about the strategy and how it worked to stop BHS biggest threats.
“We’ve got some speed again this year, a little better than last year,” he said. “The girls are picking up on offenses. We had a lot of help from our seniors, Hannah Durst as well as Jerrica Smith. We had to separate ourselves from them somehow. With a couple of their older girls in foul trouble, we went with a faster game thinking we could get some turnovers there.
“Anytime you play a Belpre team like this with (Halee Williams and Curstin Giffin), I think you’re going to have to run with them. They’re excellent players.”
The connection between Giffin and Williams was interrupted, as the paint was guarded all night. Both Golden Eagles managed six points, leading the way for the Eagles. That vamped up defense led to a 24-4 Marauder run to make it 33-10 at the break. The bulk of Belpre’s turnovers came in that frame, as Allie Jaracuaro scored off a steal and layup to start the quarter. After that, a drought of 3:32 saw Meigs expand the lead. Then, it was Amber Amick who broke the run with a basket at 4:20 left in the half. Head coach Chris Murray knows his team is going through a learning process, and he said this opening Tri-Valley Conference contest showcased his team’s ability to keep fighting when down big. They travel for an 11 a.m. game on Saturday against Paint Valley.
“It affected us that our bigs (Giffin and Williams) were in foul trouble, so we had some less-than-experienced kids kids playing in certain roles that they weren’t necessarily ready for at the varsity level,” he said. “That’s a credit to Meigs and their coaching staff for recognizing our inexperience on the floor by putting some pressure on us. It’s a good learning moment for us. We know what we need to do to get better. We’ve got some young kids who were asked to play in some really tough spots. I was happy with our efforts, but I just don’t think we did a very good job executing.”
Meigs welcomes defending TVC champs Vinton County on Saturday, and coach Hudson looks forward to the opportunity following this big win.
‘It gives you confidence, especially going into a game against the Tri-Valley Conference champions,” he said. We need as much confidence as we can get going into that game. A win is a win, and it’s definitely a good thing for team morale. It helps a lot with practice, and it makes everything worthwhile.”
Murray’s bunch goes back to the drawing board, and the Saturday tilt at Paint Valley provides another opportunity to grow as a unit.
“I thought we forced some stuff, but when we were able to play to our strengths, we were able to get some looks,” he admitted. “Our guards have to get better at handling the ball, and we have to do a better job of handling a little pressure getting the ball to the rim.”
Contact Josh Hughes at email@example.com