By JASON EPP
• Daily Leader
BEAVER, Okla. — It is not often that a team plays flawless basketball in their first game of the season. But the Beaver Lady Dusters came as close as you can, leading 46-14 at half on their way to a 67-30 romp of the Hooker Lady Bulldogs.
“It's been a long time since I’ve had an opening quarter like that,” said Lady Dusters coach Casey Jones. “When your shots are going in everything else just falls into place. If we miss some of those shots early it's a whole different ball game.”
But they did not.
After Hooker’s Jade Cathcart scored the game’s opening point with 6:50 left in the first, Beaver went on an 18-0 run, and finished out the first quarter with a 26-4 lead. Beaver was 5-of-5 from three-point range in the quarter, and scored easily in transition after steals in their full court press.
“Too many turnovers, and we didn’t break the press,” said a disappointed Lady Bulldogs coach Ray Kennedy. “Beaver also shot it really well, and that allowed them to jump right in their press, and they just got on a roll. Their guards are so big it makes it hard to see over them. They are big and athletic. We see that we're open down the floor, but we can't get it too them. We’ve got to execute our press offense better. We've got to take better care of the ball, and make better decisions.”
Hooker did respond in the second quarter, shooting 6-of-10, and scoring a total 14 points. But Beaver continued to put points on the board from the paint, set up by steals in the press.
“We are going to live and die by pressure,” said Jones. “I’m really fortunate to have some players who really play that style well. They don't care who scores. They like to find the open person. They are just as happy with a good pass to set up a score as they are scoring.”
For Kennedy, it was an early season eye opener to what his team has to get better at if the season is going to be a success.
“Bottom line, if you don't break the press you're not going to win,” said Kennedy. "In our half-court (offense) I though we could do some things to score, but we just could get it there very often. I felt like our girls kept playing hard the entire game; their attitudes were good. I appreciate that, they just kept playing. It's not easy when you are getting beat that bad.”
Four Lady Dusters finished in double figures with Erin Becker leading the way with 15. Freshman Jacinda Balderrama, in her first high school game, scored 14, Anna McDonald 13, and Catie Rife added 12.
Shayla Mathis was the only Lady Bulldog in double figures with 16.
Beaver is 1-0 and will travel to Buffalo Tuesday. Hooker, now 0-1, will host Booker, Texas next Tuesday.
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