After a delayed start, the Prince Avenue Christian Lady Wolverines got a win in their first game of 2021 last Friday over Athens Christian Academy, 69-22.
The team only dressed seven players, but Karlee Armstrong scored 30 points as the only senior available for the Lady Wolverines. Junior Noelle Hynes added 13 points, and freshman Madeline Tebeau had 8 points.
After not playing in weeks, most of the Lady Wolverines struggled early. Armstrong scored the first 8 points for her team, and then Hynes added 3 points with a layup and free throw.
Audrey Vandagriff had an assist to Leila Todd before Armstrong had two back-to-back layups to end the first quarter 17-3.
“I thought we started a little slow,” Lady Wolverine coach Richard Ricketts said. “Our ball movement was good. I thought we did a better job in transition when we had numbers and an extra passes, and they're starting to learn how to play with each other.”
The Lady Wolverines relied on their young players to win. Besides Tebeau who had 8 points, other freshmen like Kennedy Brown and Todd had 4 points, and Vandagriff had one 3-point shot and a handful of assists and rebounds.
“Audrey gets better every time she's on the court,” Ricketts said. “Her length is really good. She's tall, handles the ball decent, and she sees the floor. She helped kind of get the pace of the game going.”
The Lady Wolverines led 37-10 at halftime, but they could have led 40-10. As the final seconds of the half drained away, the Lady Wolverines swung the ball around the arc, but no one took the shot until a forced shot that missed at the buzzer.
“That’s four freshmen on the floor at one time, not paying attention to what you need to pay attention to,” Ricketts said. “I kind of got after him a little bit, because they're used to Karlee telling them what to do and Karlee wasn’t there. You go through that one time and you get chewed out by coach at half and watch it on film. I suspect we’ll do a little better job next time.”
The Lady Wolverines kept pace in the second half and never looked like they would lose their led. They dropped their press defense that had confused the Eagles in the first quarter and played a zone defense. Still, the Wolverines dominated in scoring and rebounding.
“I think rebounding is like one of the most underrated stats there is,” Ricketts said. “It doesn't matter what kind of defensive team you are, if you don't get a rebound, you're still playing defense.”
Where the Lady Wolverines ran into trouble was when they played too fast. Several assists were made from beyond half-court in transition and while some worked, others were avoidable turnovers.
“I think we can be really good, but I think that we need to not go so fast and not make passes when literally a defender right there,” Hynes said. “I feel like we rushed the ball to get the pass, and we don't take our time as much.”
With the win over Athens Christia, the Lady Wolverines improved to 4-5 and 1-0 in region play. On Saturday, they fell to region opponent Tallulah Falls High School 49-39. Armstrong led with 16 points and junior Nealie Cook followed behind with 11 points.
The Lady Wolverines hosted non-region Providence Christian Academy this past Tuesday and will host region rival Athens Academy this Friday.
They will return to the road next Tuesday at George Walton Academy.