GREENTOWN — Eastern’s girls basketball team got off to an ideal start Friday night, getting points from four players in the opening eight minutes and taking a 10-9 lead on cold-shooting Taylor after one quarter.
Taylor made sure the rest of the game belonged to the Titans. Taylor outscored 43-11 the rest of the way and took a 52-21 victory in the Hoosier Heartland Conference opener for both teams.
The Titans led 22-14 by halftime
“I thought we ran the offense a little better for sure,” Taylor coach Tony Oliver said. “In the first period we didn’t run the offense like we were supposed to. We knew [the Comets] would show up to play. They’re coached well and we knew they’d play hard — it’s a conference game.
“I thought second quarter we were a little more under control, got better shots, moved better without the ball and got good minutes from everyone once again. I’m impressed with the team effort.”
Emma Good led a Balanced Taylor squad. She scored 13, Katie Hogan added 12, Jadyn Underwood scored eight, Whitney Chorrushi and Kelsi Langley had seven each and Alex Collins scored five off the bench.
Taylor (2-0) got sharper and more active defensively as well. The Titans held Eastern to four points in the second quarter, four in the third, and three in the fourth. Hogan in particular pushed transition as the Titans forced Eastern into 24 turnovers.
“Sometimes I beat myself up on how we’re playing on defense and I thought we played pretty well early, but I thought we needed to lather it up a little bit. I wasn’t sure if we could press but we did,” Oliver said.
The Titans have just seven players in the program so conserving energy and staying out of foul trouble is important.
“The kids all played hard. When you’ve got five kids on the floor playing hard, you can press anybody I think,” Oliver said.
“[Hogan], she’s fire. That kid goes 100 miles an hour on both ends of the floor.”
Taylor got a measure of control in the second quarter, then tightened its grip in the second half. The Titans led 40-18 after three quarters.
“Taylor’s very athletic, they’re very good team basketball players,” Eastern coach Andy Steele said. “I think they just saw what we were doing, they made an adjustment. When they make an adjustment we try to make an adjustment as we go. Unfortunately I think their adjustments worked a little bit better than ours.”
Both teams have roster challenges. Eastern (0-2) has a full varsity and JV, but on Friday the Comets were without two starters, their sixth man and two JV players.
“With us, we’re really quarantined right now so we’re just trying to weather the storm, we’re trying to put girls in situations that they’re not comfortable in yet,” Steele said. “We don’t have a lot of experience yet but we’re gaining it every day. Taylor, for only having [seven] girls, that’s a solid basketball team. I’m just glad that we played hard.”
Taylor got contributions from all seven players on the roster and Oliver noted important efforts from Underwood, Miranda Saldana and Collins. The Titans spread rebounds around as Langley took a game-high nine, Chorrushi and Good had eight each, and Underwood and Hogan seven each.
Tara Wagoner led Eastern’s scoring with nine points, and Jacey Richmond took seven rebounds.
“We’ll watch the film. I think we’ll see we have to shore up our offensive stuff when we’re running off our screens a little bit, we’ve got to be a little more patient with the ball and this is stuff we’re going to get better at as we go,” Steele said. “Defensively our rotations, I thought we were a step or two too slow.”