By Amy Rutledge
In their opening game of the season, the North Olmsted Eagles put a win on the board in a nonconference match against the North Ridgeville Rangers, 50-46.
“So tough: that’s the only way to describe it,” said Eagles head coach Cheryl Bansek. “Haley Reines, our guard, put so much pressure on them (North Ridgeville) in terms of their weapon, Ashley Montgomery, and shutting her down. She (Montgomery) did have 24 points, she made a lot during the last quarter, but overall we did a fantastic job defensively.
“We knew they had a weapon in Montgomery in terms of her ability to score,” Bansek added. “We actually adjusted up what we normally do to play against them. I thought it was a great game. North Ridgeville is a good team.”
Going into half time the Eagles had a slight lead over North Ridgeville with a score of 20-16.
“What we tell our team at the end of each quarter is that the score is zero to zero, and our goal is to win each quarter,” Bansek said. “It didn’t matter what the lead was, we came out thinking its zero to zero, and the game starts now.
“This was our first game of the season,” she added. “For us, we definitely had a lot of nerves to work out, especially in the first quarter.”
The leading scorers for the Eagles included junior Tara Kelley with 19 points and senior Megan Branchick with 16 points. The Eagles have eight returning players this year, giving them the most experience in the Southwestern Conference.
“We were very young last year,” Bansek said. “We just need to continue to get better. We’re a team that only won four games last year, so we don’t come in expecting to win every game, yet we want to win every game. Our girls want to compete and win. They worked really, really hard in the offseason.
“I’m just really pleased with how aggressive we were, especially coming out of the gate for the season opener,” she added.