Man's Jenna Baisden dribbles through a Tug Valley doubleteam during the second half of the Lady Hillbillies season opening loss to Tug Valley Monday night (Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
MAN Tug Valley overcame a slow first quarter start to defeat Man 51-22 Monday night at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse.
The Lady Panthers first six points came from the free throw line and their first made basket, a Bailee Hall jumper, with 2:20 to play in the opening quarter.
Man struggled all night shooting from the field, and didn’t hit its first field goal, a Taylor Wheatley 3-pointer, until the 2:20 mark of the opening quarter and trailed 18-4 after one.
The Lady Hillbillies shooting woes continued in the first half as they went 5:36 between made field goals and only had three field goals the entire first half and trailed Tug Valley 36-10 at halftime.
“They said they were mentally prepared, but I don’t know what happened between here and there,” Man interim coach Rebecca Rowley said.
Man made just eight field goals, five of which were 3-pointers, and with a roster of just eight dressed players, had to fight through foul issues all night.
“Those girls were working hard tonight, and some of them just couldn’t hit when they needed to,” Rowley said. “We just had fouls and foul trouble, and we weren’t hitting the ball where we needed to.”
Tug Valley led by as many as 32 points in the second half and had three players in double figures led by Kenzie Browning with 21 points and Hall and Katelynn Richardson with 11 points each.
After a slow first quarter, one field goal in the games first five minutes, Tug Valley got in a rhythm and made 18 field goals and shot 14 of 20 from the free throw line, including going 10 of 12 from the charity stripe in the opening frame.
First year Tug Valley coach Seth Ooten said he knew his team shot well from the free throw line and was pleased with the balance scoring in the victory that improved the Lady Panthers to 2-0 on the season.
“On any given night, we have seven or eight girls that we can put in, and even a couple of other girls there at the end, they all play hard,” Ooten said. “We have Kenzie (Browning), we have Baile (Hall) and Haven Deskins. They’re kind of the leaders, they were starters last year, they come out, they play hard and they give you offense and some defense.”
A majority of the Lady Panthers made field goals came off Lady Hillbillies turnovers leading to easy baskets.
Ooten said his Lady Panther teams settled down and started to rely more on their defense to overcome the slow start.
“I told them going into it, rely on your defense. There’s no guarantee that you’re going to come out and shoot well, but you can come out and play though defense and get after it,” Ooten said. “That’s every night (and that’s) the identity of this team, that’s what we’re trying to do. Then, once they settled down, they started hitting those shots.”
Deskins and Riley Porter each three points and Mindi Dearnell finished with two points for Tug Valley.
Jenna Baisden led Man (0-1) with 10 points. She was the only Lady Hillbilly to reach double figures in Man’s season opening loss.
Megan McCoy finished with four points, Jace Baisden and Alyssa Spaulding each had three points and Braylee Thompson added two points for the Lady Hillbillies.