Effingham Daily News
The Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City Hornets had enough obstacles to overcome based solely on last year’s graduation.
CHBC has to replace 79 percent of its scoring coming into this season, and found itself with some new issues heading into Monday’s game.
Coach Carolyn Wendte said the team was hit with a bout of bronchitis, affecting their preseason conditioning, and said starter Summer Riley had to sit out after missing part of a practice.
But the Hornets perservered, leading wire-to-wire in a 39-26 win over the South Central Cougars Monday night.
“It was nice, but anyone’s going to see they have a long way to go,” Wendte said. ““We just started conditioning good, then I had three or four of them get bronchitis and we were right back to square one.”
The Cougars fell behind early and could never dig their way out, as CHBC scored the first 12 points in the first quarter’s opening seven minutes.
From there, things were tighter, with CHBC outscoring South Central 27-26 for the rest of the game.
“We got down early on in the first quarter,” said South Central coach Gary Kapper. “Some of it was just the first varsity game. We made some changes defensively that helped us out. All in all, for the first game ... I thought it looked real good.”
Ashley Miller got out to a hot start for the Hornets, scoring seven in the first quarter and finishing with all nine of her points in the first half.
Coming off a highly successful four year run, Wendte expects consistency out of her players to step up in key moments even with a new roster.
The Hornets didn’t have that player Monday night, instead scoring almost in shifts. After Miller’s nine points, Jensyn Morrison stepped up with eight of her own while Kirby Herrmann got going late and finished with 10 points.
“That’s what we’re going to see from all these girls,” Wendte said. “They’re good for sparks, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But then, we’re just not consistent.”
South Central had one of the roughest seasons possible last year, struggling with a small roster.
Kapper’s Cougars had more depth Monday night, and the young players played well, specifically freshman Alannah Sigrist.
She led the team with nine points and was good in transition for South Central.
“I decided to put her in the starting lineup,” Kapper said. “She can handle the ball well, she likes the physical contact. Some more confidence is going to make her an even better player.”
CHBC would push the lead to 16 points late, as the teams traded momentum back and forth through the middle mintues of the contest.
Abby Hahn had four points, five rebounds and four steals for South Central, while Gwen Lewis had four points.
Chandler Ward led CHBC with nine rebounds and added six points from the point guard position. Morrison had four assists to lead the Hornets.
The Hornets shot 34.7 percent from the field but just 33.3 percent from the line, a point Wendte said they need to improve on and quick.
“I think we’re going to come around,” she said. “By the time we get to regionals, people are going to have watch us a little bit. We’re going to be quiet, a sleeping team.”
South Central (0-1, 0-1 NTC) plays North Clay Thursday at home, while CHBC (1-0, 1-0) heads to Central A&M Thursday.
CHBC 14 8 8 9 39
SC 2 6 9 9 26
CHBC: Ward (6 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assists); Wehrle (1 rebound); J. Morrison (9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists); S. Morrison (4 points); Miller (9 points, 1 assist); Adams (1 rebound); Herrmann (10 points, 7 rebounds); Sloan (2 rebounds, 2 assists); Meek (2 points)
SC: Hahn (4 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals); Rose (2 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals); Lewis (4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal); Wilkins (3 points); Ritter (2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal); McCoy (2 rebounds); Sigrist (9 points, 2 rebounds); King (2 points)