By Steve Page
Doesn’t matter if its offense or defense, it’s all the same to the players on the Decatur Central girls’ basketball team.
On offense, they push hard toward the basket.
At the other end of the court, they apply plenty of pressure with their sagging defense.
That’s the idea, says first-year coach Nic Carothers.
“We try to create space by attacking, make people uncomfortable, make plays they don’t like,” he said following last Thursday’s 54-49 win at Perry Meridian, the first team on the Hawks’ Mid-State Conference schedule. “As long as we can do that without fouling, we’ll be OK.”
Both the Hawks and the Falcons drew plenty of fouls in their MSC opener: 24 fouls by the Hawks, 21 by the Falcons.
DC threatened to make this a blowout a couple of times, but the Falcons kept battling.
The Hawks scored nine of the game’s first 10 points, but the Falcons hung tight, trailing just 27-15 in the second quarter. DC led 35-20 at the half.
The Hawks started the second half strong, pushing the margin to 45-28 after three quarters.
But again, the Falcons rallied.
Freshman point guard Aubrey Hall hit back-to-back 3-pointers and her teammates helped trim the deficit to 50-43 with 4:20 to play. They actually closed the gap to 51-47 when Izzy Egan hit a baseline jumper with 2:15 remaining.
They had a chance to draw to within two, but turned the ball over with 1:51 to go.
Hawk freshman Naja Winston sank a follow shot with 1:22 showing, and despite getting a couple free throws with 62 seconds left, the Falcons could draw no closer.
Kamrah Banks, a 5-8 freshman, led the Hawks by hitting five two-point baskets, three 3-pointers and four free throws for 23 points.
Soriah Gouard, a 5-9 sophomore, scored 15 points, but there was a downside to that. She did not play the second half.
“Soriah Gouard got an elbow to the jaw while rebounding,” Carothers explained. “We pulled her to be safe. She scored 18 and 17 points in our first two games and had 12 rebounds. We don’t play again until Tuesday, so she’ll have some time to heal.”
Also scoring for the Hawks were freshman Naja Winston (6 points), 5-10 senior Kyra Van Scoy (4), senior guard Cadence Thomas (3) and senior guard Marier Fuller (3). Senior guard Maya Mundy led Perry with 20 points.
The win was the Hawks’ fourth in as many games this season.
“That was a good game; a good game,” Carothers said. “They caught some fire when she (Hall) hit those 3’s. “We’ve got to be more disciplined and understand the officiating.”
The seniors also bring size, with 6-0 Aliseonna Garnett and the 5-10 Van Scoy. Garnett has committed to play for Indiana State.
The other seniors are Thomas and Fuller.
“Our seniors are a solid group that calms us down in those moments,” Carothers said, noting the Hawks have just one junior, guard Katie Tran, and no sophomores.
The other freshmen are guard Kenadi Passley-Banks and guard/forward Mia Barnes.
“The freshmen are carrying us with their numbers,” Carothers added.
He was not impressed by their attitude earlier in the week, so sent them home without practicing on Wednesday.
The coach comes to DC from a successful stint at Tindley.
“We won conference two years when we went undefeated,” Carothers said. “Won back to back.”
Then the DC position opened.
“Decatur is a bigger school,” he said. “There are more opportunities here to build a feeder program. That’s what we need.
“They (DC officials) really love their kids. They’re putting money into academics. It’s an underrated school; very underrated.”
Carothers does not want his players to face the same situation.
“They’re coming along,” he said. “They play a lot of AAU basketball, year-around basketball. It’s a work in progress; a work in progress.”
JV also wins
Barnes led the Hawks by scoring 15 points. Freshman guard Aleeyah McElrath scored 11, sophomore Hailey Coffey 9 and sophomore Nevahe Hearn 8.