By Noah Dalton
Mitchell High School opened their season Saturday evening with one of the tougher matchups on their schedule, welcoming Class 1A preseason number one ranked Lanesville to The Hive.
Despite a strong performance from forward Jillian Bond, who is playing her first season with the team after transferring from South Dearborn High School, Mitchell was defeated 64-22.
With one of their top scorers and perimeter shooters from last season, Mylea Slone, out for this game due to an injury, Bluejackets’ head coach Tim Haworth thought the team had an advantage inside and would be able to score by getting the ball to Bond in the paint. In doing so, Mitchell was able to draw plenty of fouls, reaching the line for 22 free throw attempts.
“Well that’s where we thought we had an advantage was inside. I mean, we got our free throw attempts,” Haworth said. “At halftime, we figured if we hit 50%, 60%, it’s only a 10 point game and you never know what happens from there,” he continued.
Unfortunately for the Bluejackets, they were only able to convert on eight of those attempts, shooting just 36% from the stripe on the night.
“Free throw shooting was atrocious. We’ve got to get better at that,” he said.
Bond, who attempted 10 of the team’s free throws while 50% shooting from the line, also cashed five field goals to lead Mitchell in scoring with 15 points.
“I thought she did a great job tonight,” Haworth said of Bond’s performance. “We got the ball in there and she was trying to make things happen. I thought she did a great job,” he added.
Also scoring for the Bluejackets were:
- Taylor Lee – 2 points
- Malaya Tanglao – 2 points
- Brooklyn Peterson – 3 points
Leading the charge for Lanesville was sophomore guard Hayley Crosier, who netted 17 total points, including three made three-pointers.
Not far behind her was Eagles forward Linzie Wernert, who shot a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line and contributed 16 points.
The Bluejackets struggled to hold on to the ball, facing constant pressure from the Lanesville defense who ran a full court press for the majority of the game, forcing numerous turnovers.
”We were turning the ball over at an alarming rate, but we’ll get better at that,” said Haworth.
Turnovers lead to fast breaks, which kept the pace of Saturday’s game moving lightning quick for both sides. Lanesville embraced this, seeming entirely comfortable with the constant trips up and down the floor. Mitchell, who only had around two weeks or so to prepare for this opener due to overlap with the recently concluded volleyball season, according to Haworth, fought hard to keep up but ultimately fell short.
“Most of our kids have only been at this for two-and-a-half weeks and we’ve just got to play our way into shape. Some of the other schools that we play, where volleyball maybe isn’t as big, they’ve been going at this since school started and we’ve just got to play catch-u,” the coach said.
Overall, Haworth said he was proud of the effort displayed by his team, despite the level of competition from the Eagles and the lack of time they had to get ready for the game. He hopes for their continued work, along with the return of Slone, to lead to a different result in the next matchup on Friday against Perry Central, which will tip-off at 7:30 at The Hive.
”These kids play hard. They play with a lot of heart. They’ll bounce back. We’ll bounce back against Perry [Central] on Friday,” he said. “I think our team will rise up to the challenge come next Friday. We’ve got Perry Central here. I think they’ll be ready to go and obviously a little different team and getting Malaya back will be a big help,” he added.